Who is the most important?

The disciples came up to Jesus and asked him “Who is the most important in the kingdom of heaven?” They had been arguing about it.

To answer them he called a child to him and had him stand in the middle of them. Jesus said “If anyone wants to be the most important, he has to be the least important, even like a servant to everyone.

“Mark my words, unless you change your ways and become innocent like children you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever is able to humble himself in the same way that this child is, that person is the most important in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives an innocent child like this in my name is also welcoming me. And whoever welcomes me also welcomes The One who sent me.”

Mt 18:1-5, MK 9:33-37, LK 9:46-48

“It is impossible to avoid the causes of sin, but it is a terrible thing to be someone who is responsible for those stumbling blocks! He would be better off if a huge rock were to be tied around his neck and he was thrown into the sea than for him to cause the downfall of an innocent person who believes in me!”

MT 18:6-7, LK 17:1-2, MK 9:42

“If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Likewise, if your eye leads you into temptation, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one of the parts of your body than for all of your body to go to hell, where the prophet Isaiah tells us that ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire never goes out.'”

MT 18:8-9, MT 5:29-30, MK 9:43-48

“Everyone will be salted with fire in the same way that every sacrifice made at the Temple is salted. You are the salt of the earth. Salt is good, but if it loses its flavor how can you make it salty again? Then it is no longer good for anything, even the compost pile. The only thing you can do is throw it out for people to walk on. If you have salt among yourselves you will be at peace with one another.

MK 9:49-50, MT 5:13, LK 14:34-35

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Paying the Temple tax

They came to Capernaum, and the people who collected the double drachma tax for Temple maintenance approached Peter and said “Doesn’t your teacher pay the double drachma tax?”

Peter answered “Yes.”

When he went to the house, Jesus started talking about what had just happened before Peter had a chance to. “What do you think Simon Peter? Do earthly kings collect taxes from their sons or from strangers?”

“From strangers” he answered.

“Then the sons owe nothing. But so we won’t annoy them, do this. Go cast your fishing line into the sea and catch the first fish that comes up. You’ll find a coin in its mouth. Give it to them to pay the tax for me and you.”

MT 17:24-27

The second prediction of his death.

The crowds were amazed at everything he was doing. Then Jesus started traveling through Galilee away from the crowds. Jesus was teaching his disciples while they were there.

“Mark my words, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to men. They will kill him and he will be raised up three days later.”

They were deeply distressed and did not understand this statement because the meaning was concealed from them. They were afraid to ask him what he meant.

MT 17:22-23, MK 9:30-32, LK 9:43b-45