Martha and Mary
While Jesus and his disciples were traveling they arrived at a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening while he taught.
Martha was anxious about everything that she had to do to prepare for these unexpected guests. She said “Lord, do you think that it is fair that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to give me a hand.”
Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing matters. Mary has made the right choice, and I won’t take it away from her.”
The parable of the rich fool
Someone called out from the crowd, saying “Teacher, tell my brother to split the estate with me.” Jesus said, “Man, who appointed me as a judge over you to decide such things like that? Be on guard against greed because real life isn’t about having a lot of things.”
He then told them a parable:
“There was a rich man who had a very productive farm. In fact, it was so productive that he decided that it would be a good idea to tear down his barns and build bigger ones to store everything he had. He said to himself, ‘I have enough stored away for many years. I can take it easy and eat, drink, and be merry!’
But then God said to him ‘Fool! This very night you are going to die. All these things you have saved up – who will get them?’
The very same thing will happen to those people who get rich here on earth but are poor in heaven.”
The cure for anxiety
“Because of this I’m telling you – don’t worry about anything in regards to your life or your body. Don’t worry about what you will have to eat or drink or wear. Life is about much more than food or clothing.
Think about the ravens – they don’t sow or reap or store up their food, and yet God provides for them. Don’t you know you are more valuable than them? Can anyone add even a minute to his life by worrying? If worry can’t change the little things, then why worry about the big things?
Why worry about what you’re going to wear? Think about the wildflowers – they don’t earn money for clothing or make thread, yet they are more beautifully clothed than King Solomon ever was! If that is how God adorns grass, which is temporary and insubstantial, won’t he do much more for you – you who don’t believe?
So don’t be anxious about what you are going to eat or drink or wear – those are the kinds of things that people who don’t believe in God focus on. Your Father in heaven knows of your needs.
Instead of striving for those things, strive for the kingdom of God, and then everything you need will be provided for you. Don’t be anxious, because your heavenly Father gets great pleasure in giving you the kingdom. Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own to deal with.”
MT 6:25-34, LK 12:22-32
Serving two masters
Jesus then told this story to his disciples:
“There was a rich man who heard that his accountant was mishandling the books. He called the accountant in and told him to defend himself against these accusations, because he was about to fire him.
The accountant was really worried about what to do. He knew he wasn’t strong enough to be a laborer and he was too proud to beg. He came up with a plan so that after he got fired people would welcome him into their homes.
He called everyone who owed money to his master, asking them how much they owed. After each told him, he had them mark down the amount they owed dramatically, even cutting some bills in half. The manager praised his dishonest accountant because he had acted shrewdly.
The people who are more worldly are far more shrewd at dealing with their own kind than godly people are. I tell you, use the wealth of this world to get friends, so that when that money is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal homes.”
“If you are honest in handling small matters, you will be honest in handling large ones. If you are dishonest with small matters you will also be dishonest with large ones. If you have not taken care of what little has been given to you, who will give you anything more? If you have not taken care of what was entrusted to you by someone else, who will give you anything of your own to take care of?
You can either serve God or money. You can’t serve both. God is either your master or money is your master. If you try to serve both at the same time, you will end up being devoted to one of them and despising the other.”
MT 6:24, LK 16:10-13
“Don’t store up treasures for yourself here on earth, where they can be destroyed or stolen. Instead, store up treasures in heaven, where they can’t be destroyed or stolen but will last forever. Because where your treasure is, there your heart is as well. Sell what you have and give it to those who don’t have anything. This is the best kind of wealth to have.”
MT 6:19-21, LK 12:33-34
The Gospel causes division
“You assume that I have come to bring peace on earth, and you are mistaken. I have come to set fire to the world, and how I wish it was already burning! I have a mission that I am called to, and it will overwhelm me until I have completed it. I’m not here to join people together but to divide them. Families will turn against each other in their households. I’ve come to bring a sword, cutting old family ties. I’ve come to turn sons against fathers, daughters against mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. Your worst enemies will be members of your household. Anyone who loves their family more than me cannot be my disciple.”
MT 10:34-37, LK 14:25-26, LK 12:49-53
Repent or perish
Around this time some people told him that Pilate had killed some people from Galilee while they were offering their sacrifices at the Temple. Jesus responded to them by saying “Do you think that because of how they died they must be more sinful than other Galileans? They weren’t. But you’ll also perish if you don’t repent! Do you think that the eighteen people who were killed when the tower in Siloam collapsed were more sinful than everyone else in Jerusalem? They weren’t. But you’ll perish too if you don’t repent!”
The parable of the barren fig tree
“There once was a man who had a fig tree in his vineyard. He went to see if there was fruit on it, but there wasn’t any. He told his gardener to cut the tree down, explaining that in three years there hadn’t been any fruit on the tree. It was a waste of dirt. The gardener asked him to give it another year. He promised to dig around it and fertilize it. He said ‘If it doesn’t bear fruit after that then it can be cut down.’”
Healing a daughter of Abraham
Jesus noticed a woman who was disabled by a spirit while he was teaching in the synagogue one Sabbath. She was bent over and could not completely straighten up, and had been this way for eighteen years. Jesus called to her and said “Woman, you are released from your disability!” He laid his hands on her and she was instantly restored to health and began to praise God.
The local synagogue leader was indignant because Jesus had worked on the Sabbath. He said to the crowd “There are six days in which people are allowed to work – therefore come to be healed on one of those days and not on the Sabbath!”
The Lord answered him, saying “Hypocrites! You all work on the Sabbath! Don’t you untie your ox or donkey and lead it to water on the Sabbath? Satan has tied this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for eighteen years. Shouldn’t she too be released on the Sabbath day?”
All of his adversaries were humiliated when he said this, and the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the amazing things he was doing.
Healing a man who was born blind
While he walking by, Jesus saw a man who was born blind. His disciples asked him “Teacher, who is guilty of sin to cause him to be blind – this man, or his parents?”
“Neither he nor his parents are guilty of sin,” Jesus answered. “This happened so that the work of God could be revealed through him. We all must do the work of the One who sent me while it is day. Soon night will be here when no one can work. As long as I am here, I am that light.”
After saying this, he spat upon the ground, made a paste of the mud, and then spread this on the blind man’s eyes. He then said to the man “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” (Siloam means “sent”). The man did as he was instructed and then returned with his sight restored.
His neighbors and those who had seen him beg asked “Is this the same man who begged?” Some said “Yes, that’s him” while others said “No, but he looks just like him.”
The formerly blind beggar said “I’m the guy!”
They asked him “Then tell us how you can see.”
He answered, “A man named Jesus made a paste of mud, put it on my eyes, and said ‘Go wash in the pool of Siloam.’ I went there, washed, and my sight was restored!”
Then they asked “Where is he?”
“I have no idea,” he answered.
The healed man’s testimony
The man whose sight had been restored was brought to the Pharisees because Jesus had made the mud paste and healed him on the Sabbath. The Pharisees asked the man again how his sight had been restored. The man told them that Jesus had put mud on his eyes, he washed, and then he could see.
Some of the Pharisees exclaimed “He can’t be from God! He breaks the Sabbath!” Others said “But how could a sinful man perform such miracles?” They were divided about this. They asked the formerly blind man “What do you think about him, since he healed you of your blindness?”
The man replied “He’s a prophet.”
The Jewish authorities didn’t believe that this man had really been cured of his blindness, so they called for the man’s parents. Then they asked them “Is this your son, the one you claim was blind from birth? How is it that he can see now?”
“We assure you that this is our son, and that he has always been blind,” the man’s parents said, “but we don’t know who restored his sight or how it happened. He’s an adult. Ask him.” They said this because they were afraid of the authorities. The leaders had already proclaimed that anyone who said Jesus was the Messiah wouldn’t be allowed to go to the synagogue.
The leaders summoned the man again and asked him to solemnly swear the truth by saying to him “Give glory to God.” Then they said “We know that Jesus is a sinner!”
The man answered “I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that I was blind but now I can see!”
“Tell us exactly what he did and how he did it” they demanded.
“I’ve already told you and you didn’t believe me. Why should I tell you again?” he replied. “Do you want to become his disciples?”
They started to make fun of him and said “You’re his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. God definitely spoke to Moses, but this man is a mystery to us.”
“Isn’t that interesting?” he retorted. “He healed my blindness, but you aren’t sure about him. God doesn’t act for sinners – only those who fear God and do his will. In the history of the entire world, there has never ever been anyone who could heal the blindness of a person born that way. This man has to be from God, otherwise he couldn’t do this.”
“You were born full of sin, and you’re trying to teach us?” they shouted. Then they threw him out.
The sight of the blind man and the blindness of the Pharisees
Jesus went and found the man after they had thrown him out. He said “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
The man asked “Who is that, Sir, so I can believe in him?”
Jesus answered, “You have seen him. Actually, he’s talking to you right now.”
“Lord, I believe!” he said, and he began to worship Jesus.
Jesus said “I have been sent as a sign of God’s judgment, so that those who are blind will see and that those who are sure of their sight will become blind.”
Some Pharisees who were standing nearby overheard this and asked “Are you saying that we are blind?”
“If you were blind,” Jesus replied, “you would be free of any guilt that would cause your sin. But because you say that you can see, you are fully accountable for your sins.”