1 About this time, while a crowd of many thousands had assembled, [so large that] people were trampling on one another, Jesus first began telling His disciples, "Watch out for the leavening [effect] of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 But there is nothing [they do that will remain] covered up; it will [all] be exposed. [And there is] nothing done secretly that will not be made known [openly]. 3 Therefore, whatever you have said in the darkness [i.e., in obscurity] will be heard in the light [i.e., openly]. And what you have whispered in someone's ear in a back room, will be declared from the housetops.
4 And I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who can kill your body and after that can do nothing more. 5 But I am warning you about whom you should fear. Fear the One [i.e., God] who, after He has killed [i.e., the body], has power to throw [you] into hell [See note on Matt. 5:29]. Yes, I tell you, fear Him. 6 Are not five sparrows sold [i.e., in the market as food] for two coins? [Note: The coins here amount to just over one hour's worth of a farm laborer's pay, or about $8 in 1994]. Yet in the presence of God, not a [single] one of them is forgotten. 7 [God even knows] the number of hairs on your head [Note: The average full head of hair has approximately 25,000 hairs]. [So], do not be afraid, for you are [much] more valuable than many sparrows.
8 "And I tell you, every person who acknowledges me in front of people [i.e., to be his Lord and Christ], the Son of man will also acknowledge him in front of God's angels. 9 But that person who disowns me in front of people [i.e., denies that I am the Christ, or that he is a disciple. See John 18:15-17, 25-27], will be disowned in front of God's angels. 10 And every person who speaks an [abusive] word against the Son of man will be forgiven of it, but the person who speaks abusive words against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven of it. 11 And when people bring you in front of synagogue assemblies and rulers and authorities [i.e., for judgment], do not worry about how to speak or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say at that very time."
13 Then someone out of the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the [family] inheritance with me."
14 But He said to him, "Man, who appointed me to judge or [decide on how] to divide [the property] between you two?" 15 And [then] He said to them, "Be careful and guard yourselves against [practicing] all forms of greed, for a person's life does not consist of having a lot of possessions."
16 And He told them a parable [i.e., a brief story to illustrate His teaching], saying, "The land of a certain rich man produced a bumper crop, 17 so he thought to himself, 'What should I do, because I do not have any [more] room to store my crops?' 18 Then he said [to himself], 'This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build larger [ones]; then I will store all my grain and [other] goods there [i.e., farm supplies]. 19 And I will say to myself, 'Soul, you have plenty of goods [i.e., grain and supplies] stored up for many years, [so], take it easy; eat, drink and have fun.'
20 But God said to him, 'You fool! Tonight your life will be taken away from you. And [then] who will get the things you have stored up [for yourself]?'
21 This is [the way it will be with] the person who stores up treasures for himself, and [yet] is not rich toward God [i.e., does place enough importance on spiritual things]."
22 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "So, I tell you, do not worry about [the material things of] your life, [such as] what you will eat or what you will wear on your body. 23 For there are more important things in life than food, and [more important things about] your body than the clothing [you wear]. 24 Look at the ravens; they do not plant seeds or harvest [a crop]; they do not have a storage locker or a barn, and [yet] God feeds them [adequately]. Are you not a lot more valuable than those birds? 25 And which one of you can worry yourself into living a single day longer? 26 So, if you are not able to do even a little thing like that, why are you worrying about the rest?
27 "Consider how [wild] lilies grow; they do not work or weave, yet I tell you, even Solomon, clothed in his very finest royal robes, was never dressed [as luxuriously] as one of these [flowers]. 28 But if God so [beautifully] dresses the grass in a field, which is [green] today, and [then] tomorrow [dries up and] is thrown into the oven [i.e., as fuel], will He not do even more in providing your clothing, you people with such little faith? 29 So, do not look [anxiously] for what you will eat, and what you will drink, and do not be [continually] worried [i.e., about such things]. 30 For all these things are what the [unconverted] nations of the world keep trying to get. But your Father [already] knows you need these things.
31 So, look for God's kingdom and these things [i.e., food, drink and clothing] will be provided for you. 32 " [And], do not be afraid, little flock [Note: Jesus refers to His small band of disciples as sheep following Him as their Shepherd], for your Father was pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give [the money] to poor people; provide yourselves with money belts that do not wear out [i.e., from the constant use of carrying much money all the time, instead of investing it in others' needs]. [Then you will possess] an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief can approach, nor moth destroy. 34 For wherever you store your valuables, that is where your heart [i.e., your real concern] will be also.
35 "Fasten your belts [i.e., get things ready], keep your lamps lit, 36 and be like men expecting their master to return from the wedding reception, so that when he does come and knock [at the groom's house, See note on Matt. 25:1-12], they will immediately open [the door] to him. 37 Those slaves whom their master finds being watchful when he returns are [certainly] blessed. Truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt [i.e., get things ready] and have them recline [at his dinner table] and will come and serve them. 38 And if he comes between nine o'clock and midnight or between midnight and three o'clock in the morning and finds them being watchful, those slaves will be blessed [for doing so]. 39 But you should realize this, if the owner of the house had known exactly when the burglar was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 40 So, you also should be ready, for the Son of man will return at a time when you least expect Him."
41 Then Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for our benefit [only] or for all people?"
42 And the Lord answered, "Who then is the trustworthy and sensible property manager, to whom his master will assign the management of his household, to provide adequate and timely meals for its members? 43 That servant will be happy when his master returns to find him doing [his job] well. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put that slave in charge of his entire estate. 45 But if that slave should think to himself, 'My master will not be back soon,' and then becomes physically abusive to his men and women servants, and eats and drinks and gets drunk, 46 that slave's master will return on a day that he least expects, and at an hour unknown [to him]. And [that master] will whip him to shreds and will turn him over to suffer the same fate as unfaithful servants receive. 47 And that slave who knew what his master wanted, but did not make preparations [i.e., for his master's return], or do what his master wanted, will be whipped with many lashes. 48 But the one who did not know [i.e., what his master wanted], yet did things deserving of punishment, will be whipped with few lashes. And to the person who has been given much [responsibility], there will be much required [of him]. And to whom people entrust much [responsibility], they will ask [much] more from him.
49 "I have come to bring fire to the earth. [Note: This means division within families. See verses 51-53] And how I wish that fire were already started [i.e., so I could complete my mission sooner]! 50 But I have an immersion to experience [i.e., overwhelming suffering to undergo. See Mark 10:38-39], and what stress I am under until it happens! 51 Do you think that I came to bring [only] peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but division instead. 52 For from now on there will be a household of five persons divided [against one another], three against two and two against three.
53 And a father will be divided against his son and the son against his father; a mother [will be divided] against her daughter and the daughter against her mother; a mother-in-law [will be divided] against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
54 And Jesus also said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, 'A rainstorm is coming up,' and sure enough, it does. 55 And when there is a south wind blowing, you say, 'It is going to be a scorching day,' and sure enough, it is. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not know how to interpret [events of] this present time?
57 "And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 And while you are on your way to court with your opponent, make every effort to be reconciled [to him] so that he does not drag you in front of the judge, and then the judge turns you over to the officer, and the officer throws you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not be released from there until you have paid the last coin [Note: This coin amounted to about five minutes of a farm laborer's pay, or about fifty cents in 1994]."