The Condensed Gospel chapter 3 (part B)

The Beatitudes

Jesus noticed that the crowds were gathering, and lifting up his eyes to his disciples he said:

“Those who are poor in spirit are blessed because they have the kingdom of heaven. Those who are hungry are blessed, because they will be filled. Those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. Those who are humble are blessed because they will inherit the world. Those who desire to be righteous are blessed because they will be satisfied. Those who show mercy are blessed, because mercy will be shown to them. Those whose hearts are pure are blessed because they will see God. Those who work for peace are blessed because they will be called the children of God. Those who are persecuted because of their righteousness are blessed because they already possess the kingdom of heaven.

Take note and be joyful when people persecute, exclude, and lie about you because you follow me, the Son of Man, because your heavenly reward is overflowing. Remember this is how their ancestors treated the prophets of long ago.”

MT 5:1-12, LK 6:20-23

“But it is unfortunate to be rich, because you already have everything you’re going to get. It is unfortunate to be satisfied with everything you have now, because you will soon feel the lack. It is unfortunate for those who think that now is a time to laugh, because you will soon be full of grief. It is unfortunate for you when everyone praises you, because this is the way their ancestors used to treat false prophets.

LK 6:24-26

You are the light of the world

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. A lamp is meant to be used, so don’t hide it under a basket or a bed. Instead, put it on a stand so it can give light to all who are in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before everyone so that they may see all the good that you do and give glory to God because of it. The purpose of hidden things is that they be revealed. Don’t hide your light around others.”

MT 5:14-16, MK 4:21-22, LK 8:16-17, LK 11:33

Christ fulfills the Law

“Don’t think that I came to negate the Law of Moses or the words of the prophets. I did not come to negate them but to fulfill them. Mark my words: not a letter or even part of the letter of the Law will disappear until the reason for the Law is realized. Because of this, anyone who violates even the smallest commandment and teaches other people to do so will be in the lowest position in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever obeys and teaches the commandments will be seen as great in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness is greater than that of the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.”

MT 5:17-20

Murder begins in the heart

“The Law of Moses says ‘Do not murder,’ because if you do you will face judgment. But I tell you something more – even if you are angry with your brother without reason you will be subject to judgment. Even verbally abusing him and calling him names will get you brought into court. Cursing him will put you in danger of the fires of hell.

Therefore, if you are about to give your offering at the altar in the Temple and you recall that someone has something against you, leave your offering before the altar. First you have to go and make things right with him. Then you can come and make your offering. Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way to court, otherwise he might hand you over to the judge and then you’ll get thrown into prison. Trust me; you’ll be stuck in there until you pay every bit of the debt!”

MT 5:21-26, LK 12:57-59

Adultery begins in the heart

“The Law of Moses says ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I’m telling you something even deeper – anyone who even looks at a woman in a lustful way has committed adultery with her in his heart.”

MT 5:27-28

Tell the truth

“The Law of Moses also says that you shall not break your vows – you must honor your vows to God. But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t make any vows! Don’t swear by heaven because it is God’s throne, and don’t swear by the earth because it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem because it is the city of David, our great king. Don’t even swear by your head, because you can’t change even a single one of your hairs white or black. Simply let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’. To say anything more than this is wrong.”

MT 5:33-37

Love your enemies

“You’ve been taught the message ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – love your enemies and pray for people who persecute you. Bless anyone who curses you and ask for God’s blessing for those who mistreat you.

The Law of Moses says ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you something deeper – don’t retaliate against someone who harms you. Instead, if someone slaps you on your cheek, turn and offer him the other one. If someone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your shirt as well. If someone demands that you carry a heavy burden for a mile – carry it two miles instead.

If someone asks you for anything, give them whatever they ask for. If someone wants to borrow something, let them have it. Even if they take your possessions away, don’t ask to get them back.

How does it help you if you are nice only to the people who are nice to you? Even sinful people can do that.

How does it help you if you are welcoming only to people who are nice to you? If you welcome only your friends, how are you doing anything different than everyone else? Even people who don’t believe in God do that.

How are you to be seen as different if you lend only to people who you expect to get something from? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. Instead, love your enemies, do what is right, and lend what you have, expecting nothing in return. Treat others the same way that you like to be treated.

By doing this you will reveal yourself to be children of your Father in heaven. God makes the sun shine on those who are evil as well as those are good, and God makes rain fall on the just and the unjust alike. He is compassionate to those who are ungrateful and evil. Your goal is to be perfect and merciful, just like God is perfect and merciful.”

MT 5:38-48, LK 6:27-36

How to pray

“Be careful not to do good deeds or give charity publicly so you will be noticed. If you do, you will lose your reward from your Father in heaven. Whenever you give anything to a poor person, don’t call attention to the fact like hypocrites do. They announce it in houses of worship and on the streets to call attention to themselves. Truly, that attention is the only reward they will get! Instead, when you help someone out, do it secretly so not even your left hand knows what your right hand is doing. Your Father who sees everything will reward you.

When you pray, don’t act like the hypocrites do, who make sure that they are noticed by standing in houses of worship and on street corners. That attention is all the reward they will get. Instead when you pray, go off by yourself, shut the door and pray to your Father secretly. Your Father who sees everything will reward you.

Don’t repeat the same prayers over and over again, like other people do. They think their prayers will be answered if they repeat them many times. Your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask him.”

MT 6:1-8

The Lord’s prayer

Jesus was praying, and when he was through, one of his disciples said to him “Lord, teach us how to pray, just like John taught his disciples.”

He said “You should pray like this: Heavenly Father, we give honor to your holy name. May your kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth just like it is done in heaven. Give us our bread for tomorrow, and forgive our faults in the same way that we forgive the faults of others. Do not cause us to be tempted, but instead rescue us from evil. The kingdom and power and glory are all yours eternally. Amen.”

MT 6:9-13, LK 11:1-4

“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive everyone who has harmed you or done wrong to you, but if you don’t forgive them, your Father will not forgive you for everything that you’ve done wrong.

MT 6:14-15

How to fast

“When you fast, don’t act like the hypocrites do. They make their faces look ugly and disfigured so that everybody notices that they are fasting. Mark my words: that is the only reward they will get!

When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look good so that no one will know that you are fasting except God, who knows everything. And God, who knows your heart and everything that you do, will reward you.”

MT 6:16-18

Your eyes reveal your true nature

“Your eyes reveal what is inside you. They are the lamps of your body. If they have light within them, then that is a sign that your whole being is filled with light. If your eyes are filled with darkness, then it is proof that your whole being is filled with darkness. Be mindful of the light within you. If your whole being is filled with light, then your spirit will shine forth like a lamp does.”

LK 11:34-36, MT 6:22-23

Do not judge

How you treat others is how you will be treated. If you don’t judge or condemn people, you won’t be judged or condemned. Forgive, and you’ll be forgiven. Give, and you will get back more than you gave.
Why do you point out the speck in your brother’s eye, and miss the log in your own? You are a hypocrite to offer to take out the speck in his eye. How can you even see it, with that log in the way? First, fix yourself. Then you can help him.

LK 6:37-38, MK 4:24-25, MT 7:1-5, LK 6:41-42

Ask, seek, knock

Jesus said “Here’s one way to think about prayer. Suppose you went to your friend’s house at midnight and asked him for three loaves of bread because another friend of yours had come to your house and you didn’t have any food to offer him. This friend might say “Don’t bother me! It’s late, I’ve already locked my door and we’ve all gone to bed. I’m not going to get up and give you anything!” But even if he won’t do this favor for you because he’s your friend, he’ll do it if you keep knocking on the door. Your persistence will win the day, and you’ll get what you asked for.”

LK 11:5-8

“So I say, keep asking and you’ll get what you asked for. Keep looking and you’ll find it. Keep knocking and the way will be opened to you. It is true that everyone who asks receives, everyone who looks finds, and for everyone who knocks the pathway is opened before them.

Who here would give a stone to his child instead of bread when he asks, or a snake instead of a fish? Would you give your child a scorpion instead of an egg? Of course not! If you, who are less than perfect, know enough to give good things to your children, then our perfect Father in heaven will give us even better things when we ask.

This sums up all the Law and the prophets – however you want others to treat you, you should treat them.”

MT 7:7-12, LK 11:9-13

The narrow gate

Jesus taught in every town he went through while on his way to Jerusalem. “Lord,” someone asked him, “will only a few people be saved?”

Jesus said “The only way to get into the kingdom of heaven is to enter through the narrow gate. Many people take the broad road and the wide gate, but those lead to destruction. The road that leads to life is difficult and the gate is narrow. Very few people find it. Many will try to enter heaven and be turned back. The owner of the house will get up and lock the door.

Then they will stand outside knocking, saying ‘Lord, open up! Let us in!’ And he will answer ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from here all you guilty people!’

Then they will say ‘We ate and drank with you and you taught in our towns!’ But he will say again ‘I don’t know you or where you’re from! Get away from me!’

Then there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets of the kingdom of God thrown into the outer darkness, except for the true disciples. Many will come from the east and west to take their places in the kingdom of God. Mark my words: some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.”

MT 8:11-12, MT 7:13-14, LK 13:22-30

A tree and its fruit

“You know trees by their fruit. Healthy trees make good fruit, and sick trees don’t. Likewise, is it possible to get grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Be on the watch for false teachers who pretend they are innocent sheep, when really they are dangerous wolves, eager to tear you apart.

What you have stored up in your heart determines what you say. The good man’s speech proves that he has goodness within him. An evil man is filled with poison and his words reflect that. Evil people are as dangerous as a nest of snakes. It isn’t possible for evil people to speak the truth.

When judgment day comes you will have to give account for every word you have spoken. What you say now affects your fate then. Either you will be justified by your words or you will be condemned, just like how a tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and burned.”

MT 12:33-37, MT 7:15-20, LK 6:43-45

Not all who say they follow me are saved

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and ignore what I say? Calling on my name will not get you into heaven. Only someone who does the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven. On the day of judgment, many will say “Lord, we prophesied, did miracles, and drove out demons in your name.” Yet I will say, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you evildoers!”

Those who hear what I have to say and act upon it are like the man who built his house on a solid foundation of rock. When the storm comes with strong winds and buckets of rain, it crashes against the house, but the house stands firm because it is built on a solid foundation. Those who listen to my message and don’t act upon it are like the man who built his house on top of sand. When the storm came the house was completely destroyed.

Those who were listening to Jesus were completely amazed, because he spoke like a person with authority, not like one of their religious leaders.

MT 7:21-29, LK 6:46-49

The Condensed Gospel Chapter 3 (part A)

A Galilean welcome

Two days later, Jesus left the Samaritan town and headed for Galilee. Jesus has testified that a prophet is not welcomed in his own country. However, the Galileans welcomed him when he and the disciples entered Galilee. They had gone to the same festival in Jerusalem where he was and had seen everything he did.
JN 4:43-45

Ministry in Galilee

After Jesus found out that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea in the area of Zebulon and Naphtali.

This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah who said “Land of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, along the sea road, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles! For everyone who lives in darkness has seen a great light, and for those who live in the shadow of death, a light has dawned.”

News about him spread through the entire area. He was teaching in the synagogues there and was praised by everyone. From that time on he began to preach the good news of God, saying “The time is at hand and the kingdom of God has arrived! Repent and believe in the good news!”

MT 4:12-17, MK 1:14-15, LK 4:14-15

Healing an official’s son

Jesus returned to Cana of Galilee, where he had performed the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding. There was a royal official in Capernaum whose son was very sick. When he learned that Jesus was not far away, he traveled to plead with him to come to Capernaum and heal his dying son.

Jesus said “You people will not believe unless you see signs and wonders.”

The official begged, saying “Sir, please come with me before my son dies!”

Jesus said “Go. Your son will live.” The man believed the message that Jesus had given him and left.

On his way home, the official’s servants met him and told him that his son was alive. He asked them when his son had recovered and they told him “The fever left him at seven yesterday morning.” The boy’s father realized that this was the very time that Jesus had said “Your son will live.” Then he and his whole household believed.
This was the second sign that Jesus performed after he returned from Judea to Galilee (according to John).

JN 4:46-54

Rejected in his hometown

Jesus then went to his hometown of Nazareth, taking his disciples with him. He stood up to teach and to read in the synagogue on the Sabbath as he usually did.

MT 13:54a, MK 6:1-2a, LK 4:16

He was given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll to the place where it was written: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim freedom to those in captivity as well as healing to those who are blind, to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Rolling up the scroll, he gave it back and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue was looking intently at him. He then said “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”

LK 4:17-21

They were amazed and said “How did he get to be so wise, and how is he able to perform miracles? Isn’t this Joseph the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother Mary, and isn’t he the brother of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters sitting here with us? Where does he get these ideas?” They were offended by what he said.

MT 13:54b-57a, MK 6:2b-3, LK 4:22

Then he said “No doubt you will quote the proverb ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ And you will say ‘Do everything here that you did in Capernaum.’”

LK 4:23

“Mark my words: a prophet is accepted and given honor everywhere except his hometown, in his family, and in his home.”

MT 13:57b, MK 6:4, LK 4:24

“But I tell you there were certainly many other widows in Israel in Elijah’s days when there was a drought for three and a half years, and a great famine because of it. Yet Elijah was sent to only one of them, a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And later in Elisha’s time there were many who had leprosy, but he healed only one of them, Naaman from Syria.”

Everyone in the synagogue became very angry when they heard this. They drove him out of town to the edge of a hill, meaning to throw him over the cliff, but he walked through the crowd and left instead.

LK 4:25-30

The only miracles he was able to do there were to heal just a few people who were sick. He was amazed at their unbelief.

MT 13:58, MK 6:5-6

Driving out an unclean spirit

Then they went into Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and Jesus immediately went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and began to teach. The congregation was astonished at what Jesus was teaching them because he was teaching them as an authority, and not merely quoting other people like the scribes did.

There was a man in the synagogue that had an unclean (demonic) spirit. He yelled out “Leave us alone! Why are you bothering us, Jesus the Nazarene? Are you here to destroy us? I know who you are – you are the holy one of God!”

Jesus commanded the demon, saying “Be silent, and leave this man!” Immediately the unclean spirit made the man convulse, then it shouted with a loud voice and left him unharmed.

Everyone there was amazed and they began to wonder among themselves, saying “What is this message? He is able to command unclean spirits with authority and they leave!” News about Jesus then began to spread throughout all of Galilee.

MK 1:21-28, LK 4:31-37

Simon Peter’s mother-in-law is healed

As soon as they left the synagogue at Capernaum, Jesus and the disciples went into Simon Peter’s house. His mother-in-law was in bed with a high fever. They asked Jesus to help her. He went to her, and taking her by the hand, he rebuked the fever. Immediately she was healed and she began to wait on them.

Later that evening, people began bringing those who were sick or possessed to him. He healed them by laying his hands on them and he drove out demons with a word. Those who were possessed had demons who were shouting “You are the Son of God!” But he told them not to speak because it wasn’t time yet for this to be known.
What was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled with his actions. “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Isaiah 53:4)

MT 8:14-17, MK 1:29-34, LK 4:38-41

Preaching in Galilee

Jesus went out by himself to pray in a deserted place. Not long after, the crowds found him and begged him to stay in their town. He told them that he couldn’t stay because he had to preach the good news about the kingdom of God to the other towns. This is the whole reason he was sent.

He then went all over Galilee in the power of the Spirit. Because he was glorified and praised, he was invited to speak in the synagogues there. He spent his time preaching, healing, and casting out demons. His message was “It is now time! The kingdom of God is near! Return to following God and believe in the good news!”

News that he was there spread, and more and more sick people were brought to him. They included those with intense pain, epilepsy, paralysis, or possessed by demons. He healed them all. Large crowds followed him from town to town all over the area.

MK 1:35-39, LK 4:42-44, MT 4:23-25, MK 1:14-15, LK 4:14-15

If you are willing

A man who suffered from leprosy that was all over his body approached Jesus. He got on his knees and begged him, saying “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the leper, saying “I am willing. Be healed.” Immediately the disease left him.
Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone and told him to go to the priest and take the offering required by Moses’ Law as a testimony for his healing. Instead, he told everyone that Jesus healed him. This resulted in large crowds showing up wherever Jesus was. He could no longer publically enter a town. Because of that, he spent a lot of time praying in deserted places.

MT 8:1-4, MK 1:40-45, LK 5:12-16

Healing a paralyzed man

One day, Jesus was teaching people at his family’s home. Four men wanted to get a man who was paralyzed to him for healing. The crowd that was there to listen to Jesus was too large for them to get through. They decided to cut through the roof tiles to get the man in. Then they lowered him down on a stretcher.

Seeing the faith of the four men, Jesus said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

The scribes and the Pharisees thought to themselves “He’s blaspheming! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking. He asked them why they thought this way, saying “Isn’t it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ than to say ‘Get up and walk’? But so you know that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sins, watch this.” He then told the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

Immediately the man did what Jesus said – he was healed! The crowds were amazed and gave glory to God saying “We have never seen anything like this!”

MT 9:1-8, MK 2:1-12, LK 5:17-26

The call of Matthew/Levi

Then Jesus again went out alongside the sea. The whole crowd followed him and he continued to teach them. Moving on from there, he saw a man named Matthew, (also called Levi), the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office. Jesus said to him “Follow me!” He did, leaving everything behind.

MT 9:9, MK 2:13-14, LK 5:27-28

Dining with sinners

Then Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his house for a large feast. A lot of the other people who were there included tax collectors and those who were disreputable, because these kinds of people flocked to Jesus. The Pharisees and their scribes complained about this to the disciples, asking them “Why does your teacher associate with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus overheard their question and replied “Only sick people need a doctor, not the healthy. Go study this teaching from the Scriptures – ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ My whole purpose is to call sinners back to God, not those who think they’re perfect.”

MT 9:10-13, MK 2:15-17, LK 5:29-32

A question about fasting

Some people asked Jesus, “John’s disciples and the Pharisees fast, so why don’t your disciples do the same?”

Jesus answered “Would the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them? They will fast when he is taken away from them.”

To illustrate his point, Jesus said “Nobody uses a piece of un-shrunk cloth to patch an old garment, because the new patch will tear the hole even bigger. And nobody puts new wine into old wineskins, else the old wineskin will burst and spill all of the wine. Instead, they should put new wine into new wineskins. But nobody wants new wine after drinking old wine, because he says ‘The old is better.'”

MT 9:14-17, MK 2:18-22, LK 5:33-39

Pick up your bedroll

Then, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a Jewish festival. A pool named Bethesda is near the entrance called the Sheep Gate. There are five colonnades there that shelter many people who are sick. People who are blind, lame, or paralyzed wait there for the rare times when an angel stirs up the waters. The first person who gets into the water after the angel had stirred it up is healed from whatever sickness he had.

One of the men there had been sick for 38 years. When Jesus saw him he knew that he had been waiting there a long time to be healed. He asked him “Do you want to get well?”

The man replied “Sir, I don’t have anyone to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up. Someone always gets in ahead of me while I am trying to get there.” Jesus told him “Get up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk.”

Since that day was the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders said to the man “It’s illegal for you to carry your mat on the Sabbath!”

He replied, “The man who healed me told me ‘Pick up your sleeping mat and walk.’”

The leaders pressed further, asking “Who is it that told you to pick up your sleeping mat and walk?” The man didn’t know who it was because Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.

Jesus found the man in the Temple complex later and told him “Now that you are well, don’t sin anymore or something worse might happen to you.”

The man then went and reported to the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.

JN 5:1-15

Honoring the Father and the Son

The Jews began persecuting Jesus and trying to find ways to kill him because he was breaking the Sabbath by healing people. Jesus responded to them by saying “My Father is at work, and I am at work as well.” Then they began even more earnestly to want to put him to death. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath by working, but he was saying God was his Father, which made him equal with God.

Jesus replied,1 “The Son is only able to do what he sees the Father doing. He is not able to do anything on his own. Whatever the One does, the Son does also in the same way. The Father loves the Son and reveals everything he is doing and will show him even greater than this, so that you will be astonished. In the same way the Father brings people back to life, so the Son also restores life to anyone he wants. The Father has given the power of judgment to the Son, and judges no one Himself. This is so all people will show honor to the Son in the same way they show honor to the Father. Anyone who does not respect the Son does not respect the One who sent him.”

JN 5:16-23

Life and Judgment

“Truly, anyone who listens to my testimony and believes the One who sent me, that person will have eternal life and will not be judged. Such a person has moved from death into life. Truly, it is now the time when those who are dead will hear the voice of God’s Son, and will live because they hear his voice. The Father has granted the Son to have life in himself, in the same way that the Father has life. The Father has also granted the Son the power to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Don’t let this amaze you, because soon all who are buried will come out of their graves when they hear his voice. Those who have been righteous will arise to the resurrection of life, and those who have been wicked will arise to the resurrection of judgment. I have no power of my own. I can only judge as God tells me, and my judgment is sound because I seek the will of the One who sent me and not my own.”

JN 5:24-30

Witnesses to Jesus

“My testimony is not true if I testify about myself. The One testifies about me, and I know that testimony is true. You sent people to question John the Baptist, and he has testified about the truth. Man’s testimony isn’t important to me, but I’m telling you this so you may be saved. He was a bright and shining light, and for a while you wanted to enjoy that light.

But my testimony outshines John’s because of what the Father has given me to do. Everything I do proves that the Father has sent me. The Father, the One who sent me, testifies about me. You have never heard the Father’s voice, and you’ve never seen the Father. The Father’s word does not live within you because you do not believe the words of the one that he sent. You study the Scriptures, thinking that will grant you eternal life, but those very Scriptures testify about me. You are unwilling to come to me for eternal life.

I do not accept praise from men, but as for you, I know that the love of God is not within you. You don’t accept me even though I have come in my Father’s name. You accept someone if he comes in his own name. What would make you believe? While you accept praise from each other, you don’t seek the praise that comes from the one true God.

Don’t worry that I will testify against you to the Father. Moses is the one who will do that. You have set your hopes on him. If you really believed what Moses wrote, you would believe what I say, because Moses wrote about me. But if you don’t believe in what Moses wrote, then how can you believe in what I say?”

JN 5:31-47

Lord of the Sabbath

Jesus and his disciples were walking through the grain fields one Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began picking the heads off the grain, rubbing them in their hands, and eating. When the Pharisees saw them doing this, they said “Why are you doing what is it illegal on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Didn’t you read what David and his companions did when they were hungry – how he entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and took and ate the sacred bread, which only the priests were allowed to eat, and also gave some to his companions to eat?

Or didn’t you read in the Law that the Temple priests violate the Sabbath and are not guilty of breaking the Law? I tell you that something greater than the Temple is here! If you knew what the phrase ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’ means then you would not have condemned innocent people. The Sabbath was created for man, not the other way around. Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

MT 12:1-8, MK 2:23-28, LK 6:1-5

The man with a paralyzed hand

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. He noticed a man there whose hand was paralyzed. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Jesus closely to see if he violated the Law against working on the Sabbath. Jesus knew what was in their hearts. Speaking to the paralyzed man, he said “Come stand here in the middle” and the man did.

Then, speaking to the scribes and the Pharisees, he said “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or evil, to save life or destroy it? If any of you had a sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you pull it out? A man is certainly worth more than a sheep, so it fulfills the Law to do good on the Sabbath.”

He then looked around at all of them, angry and sad at how hard their hearts were. Then, speaking to the man, he said “Stretch out your hand.” The man did, and his hand was perfectly healed.

The scribes and the Pharisees were filled with rage and they began to plot with the Herodians about how they could destroy Jesus.

MT 12:9-14, MK 3:1-6, LK 6:6-11

The servant of the Lord

Jesus left the area when he became aware that they were plotting against him. He traveled with his disciples to the sea. Immense crowds followed him from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and around Tyre and Sidon. The huge crowds sought him out because they had heard the news about everything he was doing. They came to listen to his teachings and be healed.

Everyone who was afflicted by an unclean spirit was healed. The unclean spirits made the people they had possessed fall down and cry out “You are the Son of God!” when they saw him. He strongly warned them to not reveal who he was.

The crowds were thronging to get near enough to touch him because he had already previously healed many other people, and healing power was coming out of him that day. There were so many people trying to get to him that Jesus told his disciples to prepare a small boat for him so that he would not be crushed by the crowds.

In doing this he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, who said “Behold, this is my chosen servant, the one I love and my soul delights in. I will anoint him with my Spirit, and he will tell the world about justice. He will not fight or yell, and he will not speak in street corners. He will be kind to the weak and give hope to the hopeless, until he has successfully brought justice to the world. His name will bring hope to everyone.”

MT 12:15-21, MK 3:7-12, LK 6:17-19

Workers are few

Jesus was traveling in a circuit among the villages so he could teach in their synagogues, share the good news of the kingdom of heaven, and heal everyone who was sick in any way. He felt compassion when he saw the crowds because they were exhausted and lost, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his closest followers, “The harvest is heavy, but the laborers are light. Therefore, pray to our abundant God to provide more workers.”

MT 9:35-38, LK 10:2

Then Jesus went away by himself to a mountaintop to spend all night in prayer to God. When the first rays of dawn arrived, he called those he had chosen to him and they came. He also appointed 12 apostles. They were to be with him, to go out to preach, and to heal diseases and drive out demons.

Their names were Simon, (who Jesus renamed Peter); his brother Andrew; James and John – the sons of Zebedee; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus; Simon the Cananaean – also known as the Zealot; Thaddeus – also called Jude; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

MT 10:1-4, MK 3:13-19, LK 6:12-16