The Disciples Pluck Grain on the Sabbath
6 1 On a certain Sabbath Jesus was walking through a field of ripe grain. His disciples were pulling off heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands to get rid of the chaff, and eating them. 2 Some Pharisees said, "Why are you doing that, breaking a Sabbath rule?" 3 But Jesus stood up for them. "Have you never read what David and those with him did when they were hungry? 4 How he entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat? He also handed it out to his companions." 5 Then he said, "The Son of Man is no slave to the Sabbath; he's in charge."
The Man with a Withered Hand
6 On another Sabbath he went to the meeting place and taught. There was a man there with a crippled right hand. 7 The religion scholars and Pharisees had their eye on Jesus to see if he would heal the man, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. 8 He knew what they were up to and spoke to the man with the crippled hand: "Get up and stand here before us." He did. 9 Then Jesus addressed them, "Let me ask you something: What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?" 10 He looked around, looked each one in the eye. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out - it was as good as new! 11 They were beside themselves with anger, and started plotting how they might get even with him.
Jesus Chooses the Twelve
12 At about that same time he climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God. 13 The next day he summoned his disciples; from them he selected twelve he designated as apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, Andrew, his brother, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the Zealot, 16 Judas, son of James, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude
17 Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. 19 Everyone was trying to touch him - so much energy surging from him, so many people healed!
Blessings and Woes
20 Then he spoke: You're blessed when you've lost it all. God's kingdom is there for the finding. 21 You're blessed when you're ravenously hungry. Then you're ready for the Messianic meal. You're blessed when the tears flow freely. Joy comes with the morning. 22 "Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. 23 You can be glad when that happens - skip like a lamb, if you like! - for even though they don't like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this. Give Away Your Life 24 But it's trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you'll ever get. 25 And it's trouble ahead if you're satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it's trouble ahead if you think life's all fun and games. There's suffering to be met, and you're going to meet it. 26 "There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests - look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.