The Parable of the Widow and the Judge
18 1 Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. 2 He said, "There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. 3 A widow in that city kept after him: 'My rights are being violated. Protect me!' 4 "He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, 'I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. 5 But because this widow won't quit badgering me, I'd better do something and see that she gets justice - otherwise I'm going to end up beaten black and blue by her pounding.'" 6 Then the Master said, "Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? 7 So what makes you think God won't step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won't he stick up for them? 8 I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?"
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
9 He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: 10 "Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. 11 The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people - robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. 12 I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.' 13 "Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'" 14 Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
Jesus Blesses Little Children
15 People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. 16 Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. 17 Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."
The Rich Young Ruler
18 One day one of the local officials asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?" 19 Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good - only God. 20 You know the commandments, don't you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother." 21 He said, "I've kept them all for as long as I can remember." 22 When Jesus heard that, he said, "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23 This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.