The Mission of the Seventy
101 Later the Master selected seventy and sent them ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he intended to go. 2 He gave them this charge: "What a huge harvest! And how few the harvest hands. So on your knees; ask the God of the Harvest to send harvest hands. 3 "On your way! But be careful - this is hazardous work. You're like lambs in a wolf pack. 4 "Travel light. Comb and toothbrush and no extra luggage. "Don't loiter and make small talk with everyone you meet along the way. 5 "When you enter a home, greet the family, 'Peace.' 6 If your greeting is received, then it's a good place to stay. But if it's not received, take it back and get out. Don't impose yourself. 7 "Stay at one home, taking your meals there, for a worker deserves three square meals. Don't move from house to house, looking for the best cook in town. 8 "When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you, 9 heal anyone who is sick, and tell them, 'God's kingdom is right on your doorstep!' 10 "When you enter a town and are not received, go out in the street and say, 11 'The only thing we got from you is the dirt on our feet, and we're giving it back. Did you have any idea that God's kingdom was right on your doorstep?' 12 Sodom will have it better on Judgment Day than the town that rejects you.
Woes to Unrepentant Cities
13 "Doom, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had been given half the chances given you, they'd have been on their knees long ago, repenting and crying for mercy. 14 Tyre and Sidon will have it easy on Judgment Day compared to you. 15 "And you, Capernaum! Do you think you're about to be promoted to heaven? Think again. You're on a mud slide to hell. 16 "The one who listens to you, listens to me. The one who rejects you, rejects me. And rejecting me is the same as rejecting God, who sent me."
The Return of the Seventy
17 The seventy came back triumphant. "Master, even the demons danced to your tune!" 18 Jesus said, "I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. 19 See what I've given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. 20 All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you - that's the agenda for rejoicing."
21 At that, Jesus rejoiced, exuberant in the Holy Spirit. "I thank you, Father, Master of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent newcomers. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. 22 "I've been given it all by my Father! Only the Father knows who the Son is and only the Son knows who the Father is. The Son can introduce the Father to anyone he wants to." 23 He then turned in a private aside to his disciples. "Fortunate the eyes that see what you're seeing! 24 There are plenty of prophets and kings who would have given their right arm to see what you are seeing but never got so much as a glimpse, to hear what you are hearing but never got so much as a whisper." Defining "Neighbor"
The Good Samaritan
25 Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?" 26 He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?" 27 He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence - and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." 28 "Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live." 29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbor'?" 30 Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. 32 Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. 33 "A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. 34 He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. 35 In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill - I'll pay you on my way back.' 36 "What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?" 37 "The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, "Go and do the same."
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. 39 She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. 40 But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand." 41 The Master said, "Martha, dear Martha, you're fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. 42 One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it - it's the main course, and won't be taken from her."
Jesus' Teaching on Prayer
111 One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, "Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." 2 So he said, "When you pray, say, Father, Reveal who you are. Set the world right. 3 Keep us alive with three square meals. 4 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil." 5 Then he said, "Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. 6 An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don't have a thing on hand.' 7 "The friend answers from his bed, 'Don't bother me. The door's locked; my children are all down for the night; I can't get up to give you anything.' 8 "But let me tell you, even if he won't get up because he's a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he'll finally get up and get you whatever you need. 9 "Here's what I'm saying: Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open. 10 "Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. 11 If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? 12 If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? 13 As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing - you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?"
A Divided House Cannot Stand
14 Jesus delivered a man from a demon that had kept him speechless. The demon gone, the man started talking a blue streak, taking the crowd by complete surprise. 15 But some from the crowd were cynical. "Black magic," they said. "Some devil trick he's pulled from his sleeve." 16 Others were skeptical, waiting around for him to prove himself with a spectacular miracle. 17 Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, "Any country in civil war for very long is wasted. A constantly squabbling family falls to pieces. 18 If Satan cancels Satan, is there any Satan left? You accuse me of ganging up with the Devil, the prince of demons, to cast out demons, 19 but if you're slinging devil mud at me, calling me a devil who kicks out devils, doesn't the same mud stick to your own exorcists? 20 But if it's God's finger I'm pointing that sends the demons on their way, then God's kingdom is here for sure. 21 "When a strong man, armed to the teeth, stands guard in his front yard, his property is safe and sound. 22 But what if a stronger man comes along with superior weapons? Then he's beaten at his own game, the arsenal that gave him such confidence hauled off, and his precious possessions plundered. 23 "This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you're not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse.
The Return of the Unclean Spirit
24 "When a corrupting spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn't find anyone, it says, 'I'll go back to my old haunt.' 25 On return, it finds the person swept and dusted, but vacant. 26 It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits dirtier than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse than if he'd never gotten cleaned up in the first place."
27 While he was saying these things, some woman lifted her voice above the murmur of the crowd: "Blessed the womb that carried you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" 28 Jesus commented, "Even more blessed are those who hear God's Word and guard it with their lives!"
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.