An Evil Generation Seeks a Sign
29 As the crowd swelled, he took a fresh tack: "The mood of this age is all wrong. Everybody's looking for proof, but you're looking for the wrong kind. All you're looking for is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. But the only proof you're going to get is the Jonah-proof given to the Ninevites, which looks like no proof at all. 30 What Jonah was to Nineveh, the Son of Man is to this age. 31 "On Judgment Day the Ninevites will stand up and give evidence that will condemn this generation, because when Jonah preached to them they changed their lives. A far greater preacher than Jonah is here, and you squabble about 'proofs.' 32 On Judgment Day the Queen of Sheba will come forward and bring evidence that condemns this generation, because she traveled from a far corner of the earth to listen to wise Solomon. Wisdom far greater than Solomon's is right in front of you, and you quibble over 'evidence.'
The Light of the Body
33 "No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It's put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they're going. 34 Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. 35 Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don't get musty and murky. 36 Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room." Frauds!
Jesus Denounces the Pharisees and Lawyers
37 When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. 38 The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn't wash up before the meal. 39 But the Master said to him, "I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. 40 Stupid Pharisees! Didn't the One who made the outside also make the inside? 41 Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands. 42 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. 43 "You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. 44 Frauds! You're just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under." 45 One of the religion scholars spoke up: "Teacher, do you realize that in saying these things you're insulting us?" 46 He said, "Yes, and I can be even more explicit. You're hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help. 47 "You're hopeless! You build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed. 48 The tombs you build are monuments to your murdering ancestors more than to the murdered prophets. 49 That accounts for God's Wisdom saying, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, but they'll kill them and run them off.' 50 What it means is that every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now,. 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it's on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay. 52 "You're hopeless, you religion scholars! You took the key of knowledge, but instead of unlocking doors, you locked them. You won't go in yourself, and won't let anyone else in either." 53 As soon as Jesus left the table, the religion scholars and Pharisees went into a rage. They went over and over everything he said, 54 plotting how they could trap him in something from his own mouth.