NINE Getting in a boat, he came across again into his own town, and they brought him a paralytic on a pallet lying down, and Jesus saw their faith and said, "Take courage now, my son, for thy sins are forgiven thee," and he was barely done when behold, some of the Scribes said within themselves, "This man blasphemes," and Jesus knew their thoughts and said, "Why harbor evil thoughts, for it seems not much easier to say 'Thy sins are forgiven thee' than to say 'Arise and walk,' but so that you might see that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins," he said to the paralytic lying there, "Arise up from thy bed." And he rose and went away, and when the crowd had seen, they were seized with fear and gloried God who had given such power to men. THE CALL OF MATTHEW And passing a tax collector, Jesus said, "Come, follow me," and Matthew arose and followed him. And it came to pass as he was sitting at the table in a house, many sinners and publicans came and sat with the disciples and Jesus, but the Pharisees were quick with disdain, and said, "Why does your master eat with such men?" to the disciples, but Jesus heard and answered, "The healthy don't need a physician, but the sick do; if the words of the scripture which say, 'I want mercy and not sacrifice,' you understood, you'd know I come to call sinners, and not merely the just and the good." THE QUESTION OF FASTING The disciples of John came saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, while your disciples do not?," and he told them, "How long do you think this will last? Can the wedding quests mourn while the bridegroom is with them? But I tell you the day will come when he's taken from them. They will fast when he's taken away. No one would put a raw patch on a garment, for it, too, would tear away from the cloth you were patching, and a worse rent would be left there. Nor do people pour new wine in old wine-skins for fear that the skins would burst, and the wines spill and be ruined - - - they use fresh skins, and are saved from the worst." JESUS WORKS MORE CURES And as he was saying this to them, a ruler came worshipping and said, "My daughter just died; she'll return to life if you just lay your hand on her head." And as Jesus followed after him, from behind a woman touched his cloak, thinking, "If I touch it I'll be cured of this hemorrhage which has plagued me for so long," but the stroke of his robe turned him to her, "Thy faith is of such great wealth, it has saved thee. Take courage, my daughter." And from that time, she was restored to health. And when Jesus got to the ruler's house and saw a crowd playing flutes and horns, he said, "Begone, she's not dead, but sleeping," and they laughed at him in scorn. But when the din had been stilled, he went and took her by the hand, and she rose, and the report of what happened spread rapidly throughout the land. Leaving there, two blind men followed Jesus crying, "Have pity on us, O David's son." Jesus asked, "You believe I can do this?" "Yes, Lord, thy will shall be done," they said, and he touched their eyes saying, "By your faith, let it be so." And at that, their eyes were opened, but he charged them strictly that no one should be told what happened, but they went out and spread his fame abroad throughout all that district so that all men knew his name. Then they brought a dumb man who had been by a devil possessed, and when the devil was cast out, the man spoke, and the crowd was impressed, and said, "Never in Israel has there been seen the likes of this man." But the Pharisees, jealous, were saying, "By the prince of devils he casts out the devils of this land." And Jesus went village to village, an in each town the crowds came to see him preach his gospel and teach in the temple and cure diseases and infirmities. But seeing the crowds bewildered, like dejected, shepherd-less sheep, he was moved with compassion for them that would have made a lesser man weep. Then he said to his disciples, "For so few laborers, the harvest, indeed, is a great one; pray that the Lord our God sends forth the laborers we need." TEN THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE Having summoned his twelve disciples, he gave them power to set free those possessed by unclean spirits, and cure all disease and infirmity. Now these are the twelve apostles, Simon Peter and brother Andrew, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and Phillip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, and James, son of Alpheus, Simon who was the Cananean, Judas Iscariot and Thaddeus. And Jesus sent them out and instructed them not to tell the towns of the Gentiles and Samaritans, but the lost sheep of Israel, "The kingdom of heaven is near at hand. Cure the sick and raise the dead; cleanse the lepers; cast out devils; freely give as you've been fed freely, and don't keep money or gold or silver in your purse, nor two tunics or sandals or a staff, the worker deserves his living first. In whatever town you enter, seek the worthy, and stay there until you leave, and salute the house you enter, and your peace it shall receive; but if they won't receive you or listen and thus prove unworthy, go forth and shake your feet clean of the dust of that city. Amen, amen, I say to you, there will be more tolerance found for Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day than for that town. Behold, I am sending you forth like sheep in the midst of wolves. Be, therefore, wise as serpents and guileless as doves. Beware of men for to their councils they will seek to deliver you, and scourge you in their synagogues, and before their governors bring you, too. Do not be anxious as to how or what you are to speak, for what you are to say to them shall be given you, you shan't be weak in that hour, for the Spirit of the Father will speak through your tongue; and brother will hand up brother to death, and the father hand up his young. Children will rise up against their parents and be putting them to death. And you will be hated for my name's sake by all, but who has the breath to persevere until the end, you shall be saved by me. When they persecute you in one town, to another you shall flee. For, amen I say to you, you shall not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes for you. No disciple is above his teacher, nor is servant, his master above. It is enough to be like your teacher, and the servant, his master to love. How much more will the disciples and servants of the house be snubbed, if they have called even the master of the house Beelzebub! Therefore, do not fear them, for there is nothing that is concealed, nothing hidden that will not be known, or shall not be revealed. What I tell you in the darkness, you shall speak it in the light, and what you have heard whispered, preach on rooftops, full in sight. And do not be afraid of those who would kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. But rather be afraid of him whose power it is still to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows for a farthing sold? And yet, not one of them will fall lest your Father's leave is told. But as for you, the very hairs on your head are numbered, know, and do not fear, for you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore, know that everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But whosoever disowns me before men, I shall disown him, in turn, before my Father in Heaven. Better by men to be spurned! Do not think I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace. For I was given birth to set a man against his father, a daughter with her mother in variance; a man's enemies will be those who are of his own household, hence. He who loves his mother and father more than me is not worthy; and he who loves son or daughter more is neither worthy of me. Nor is he worthy who does not follow me and take up his cross. To such a man who finds his life, his life shall thus be lost; and he who loses his life for my sake, shall find it; it shall be that he receives who receives you and thus Him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he's a prophet, receives the reward of a prophet; who greets the just as the just shall receive the just man's board in Heaven; and he who gives these little ones a cup of cold water for thirst because he is a disciple, shall not lose his reward or be cursed. ELEVEN WITNESS CONCERNING JOHN When he had finished his instruction to his disciples, he went down into this people to preach and teach there in their towns. But when John had heard in prison of the works that Christ had done, sending through his disciples, he asked, "Art thou you who is to come, or shall we look for another?," and Jesus to them assured, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard; the deaf hear and the dead rise, the possessed no longer are mean, and the blind see and the lame walk, the lepers are made clean, and the poor have the gospel preached so that they may see. Blessed is he who is not scandalized in me." Then, as they went away, Jesus said to the crowds concerning him, "But what did you go to the desert to see? A reed shaken in the wind? Behold, who wears soft garments in the houses of kings is loathed. But what did you go out to see? A man in soft garments clothed? But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, and more. This is he of whom is written, 'Behold, I send before thy face, my messenger, who shall make ready thy path before thee!' So it was written by the prophet, and so it was bound to be. Amen, I say, among those born of woman, not greater there be; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater still than he. But from the days of the Baptist John, the violent have set course to assault the kingdom of heaven, and have been seizing it by force. For all the prophets and the Law have prophesied till John, and if you will receive it, he is Elias who was to come. He who has the eyes to see, let him look and see it clear. And he who has the ears to hear, let him be wise and hear. To what is it I shall liken the generation of this day? It is like children in the market who call to their friends and say, 'We have played for you, you have danced, and we have dirges sung, and yet you have not mourned.' For did this Prophet John come not eating and not drinking, and yet did not they say, 'He has a devil,' yet the Son of Man came in a different way, doing both, but they called him 'Glutton,' and to sinners he was friend. Wisdom is known by her works and is justified by her children." Then he began to reproach the towns where his miracles had been spent, because they had not repented - - - they were all impenitent. "Corozain and Bethsaida, I say woe onto thee, for if Tyre and Sidon had been given them to see such miracles as have been worked by God within your towns, they would have repented long ago, and in sackcloth and ashes knelt down. But I tell you, on the judgment, Tyre and Sidon, too, will find more tolerance from God than shall either of you. Capharnum, shall heaven exult you? Thou shalt be thrust down to Hell! For if the miracles had been worked in Sodom's evil town that have been worked in thee, it would have remained to this day. It will be more tolerable for Sodom than for thee come Judgment Day." At that time, Jesus spoke and said, "I praise thee, Father, for none of this was shown to the wise, but rather to the little ones. Yes, Father, such is Thy pleasure. All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one except the Father, the Son sees; and from all except the Son is the Father kept concealed, and to him to whom the Son chooses to reveal. Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened; I'll give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me to meet the test, for I am meek and humble of heart; The Lord will take your fight, and you will find rest for your souls - - - for my yoke is easy, my burden is light." TWELVE OBSERVATION OF THE SABBATH THE SIGN OF JONAS At that time on the Sabbath, Jesus went through fields of standing wheat and grain; and the disciples, being hungry, began to pluck it to eat. But the Pharisees on seeing this, said, "What your disciples are doing here is not lawful for them on the Sabbath." But Jesus asked, "Did you not hear what David did when he and those with him were hungry, and how he entered the house of God and ate loaves the Law did not allow to be eaten except by priests? Or have you not read in the Law that priests in the Temple break Sabbath and are guiltless and beyond any flaw? But I tell you that one greater than even the Temple is here. And if you understood 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' it would be clear, and your wouldn't condemn the innocent for this grain that they have stored, for even on the Sabbath, the Son of Man is Lord." When he passed on from that place, he entered their house of prayer and he found a man who was cursed with withered hand praying there. And they asked him saying, "Is it lawful for you to cure even on the Sabbath" so that they might accuse him sure. But he asked, "What man among you who if his sheep falls in a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold and lift him out of it? How much better is a man than a mere sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath even more." And he said to the man, "Stretch forth thy hand," and it was made sound. But the Pharisees withdrew to counsel how a way to do away with him be found. Then Jesus withdrew from that place knowing what they sought, and many followed after them and he cured them but warned them not to make him known, that what was spoken through Isaiah be fulfilled, "Behold, this is my servant, whom I have chosen as my will, my beloved, in whom my soul is pleased: I will put my Spirit on him; he will declare judgment to the Gentiles. He will not cry aloud, nor will there be anyone who hears his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed, nor will he quench a smoking wick, until he makes and sends forth judgment onto victory; then they shall know his fame, for the hope that the Gentiles have will be found in his name." Then they brought to him a man possessed, who was both blind and dumb, and he cured him so he saw and spoke. And the crowds were amazed and hummed, "Can this be the Son of David?," but the Pharisees heard and said, "He does not cast out devils by the Lord, but by Beelzebub, instead." And knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Every kingdom that is set divided against itself is brought to desolation, and yet every city or house divided against itself will not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is set against his own hand. And if I cast out by Beelzebub, by whom do your children exocise? Therefore, they shall be your judges. Through them, you shall be wise. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, it must be true that I am in His Spirit and His Kingdom has come to you. Or, how can anyone enter the strongman's house to plunder his goods, unless he first binds him, then he can plunder as he would. He who is not with me, is set against me in his sin, and he who does not gather with me is scattered with the wind. Therefore, I say that every blasphemy and sin by men shall be forgiven; but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be fixed, but against the Holy Spirit, shall not be forgiven in this world or the next. Either make the tree and its fruit both good - - - for that is why it's grown - - - or make the tree and the fruit both bad, for by its fruit, the tree is known. You brood of vipers, how can you say good, when with evil you are weak? For it is of the abundance of the heart the mouth must speak. The good man from his good treasure brings forth his good things, and from his evil treasures, the evil man evil things will bring. But I tell you every idle word that every man does say shall be held for full accounting when it comes to Judgment Day. For it is that by thy own words thou must be justified, and by thy words as well thou wilt be condemned and tried." Then certain of the Scribes and Pharisees answered him saying, "Master, we would see a sign from thee," but he said onto them, "An evil and adulterous generation is it that demands a sign; but except for that of Jonas, there is no sign you'll find. For even as Jonas was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights, so will the Son of Man be in the earth just that way. The men of Nineveh will rise up in judgment and condemn this generation which heard Jonas preach and repented for him, then, and, behold, a greater one than Jonas is among you now even here, who worked the greatest wonders, but you did not repent or give him ear. The queen of the south who came to hear of the wisdom of Solomon will rise up over this generation in judgment to condemn, for she came forth from the ends of the earth just to hear, and behold, that among you, a greater than Solomon is here. But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry places searching for rest and finds none in the land. Then it says, 'I will return to my home which I left,' and comes to it and finds the place unoccupied, decorated, and swept. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits bold, more evil than himself, and they enter in and hold and dwell there and the last state becomes worse for that man than the first. So shall it be with the evil generation of this land." And while he was speaking to the crowds, his mother sought, with his brethren, to speak to him, and some of the crowd so brought them to his attention, but in response he answered them, "Who is it that is my mother, and who are my brethren?" And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples for all to see, he said, "These are, for who does my Father's will is my family." THIRTEEN JESUS SPEAKS IN PARABLES On that day Jesus left the house and went down to the sea to sit, and crowds gathered, so he got in a boat and they stood on the shore around it. And he spoke to them many parables so that only the wise would know, and he said, "Behold, there was a sower, and the sower went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the way and the birds ate each seed, and others fell on rocky ground where there wasn't the earth they'd need; and they sprang up at once, but when the sun rose with the day, they had no root and so they were scorched, and they withered away. And other seeds fell among thorns that grew, and choked them, but behold, those that fell upon good ground yielded fruit a hundred fold. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!," but the disciples came up and said, "Why do you speak in parables to them? It is far above their heads." But he answered, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not. For to him who has, indeed, more shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him who does not possess much, even that which he has shall be got. This is why I speak in parables, because seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear, nor understand; the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled in them, who says, 'Hearing, you will hear, but not understand: and you will see, but will not perceive though it is clear. For the heart of this people is hardened, and with their ears they have gone deaf and been hard of hearing and their eyes have closed to shut out the light; lest at any time they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their mind, and be thus converted, that I might heal them with my hand.' But blessed are your eyes for they can see, and your ears for they can hear. For, amen, I say to you, many prophets and just men through many years have longed to see what you see, and to be where you have been, and to hear the things that you hear, but they have not heard or seen. Hear, therefore, the parable of the sower, when anyone hears the word of the kingdom of God, but does not understand it sincere, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is he sown by the wayside. And the one with the rocky start is he who hears the word with joy yet has no roots in himself assured, but continues for a time until trouble comes, and persecution for the word; then at once falls away. And the other one among the thorns is sown, he is who listens, but care of this world and the deceit of its riches chokes what's grown, and it is made fruitless. And the one sown upon the good ground, is he who hears and understands, and the yield of its fruit abounds." Another parable he set before them, saying, "The kingdom is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while he lay sleeping, the land was sown by his enemy with weeds among the wheat. And when the blades sprang up and brought forth fruit to eat, the weeds sown there appeared as well. And the servants came and said, 'Sir, didst thou not sown good seed in thy field? Then, instead, how does it happen that it has weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this evil to us.' And the servants asked, 'Shall we go and gather up the weeds?' And he said, 'No,lest you root the wheat as well along with them. Let both grow to harvest fruit and then I will tell the reapers, 'Gather up the weeds to burn in bundles, but gather up the wheat into my barn, in turn." Then he spoke, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man has sown in his fielf. It is the smallest seed, indeed; but when it grows up full grown, it becomes large as a tree, so that even the birds of the air dwell in its branches easily." He told them, "Like leaven that a woman takes, is the kingdom of heaven; and she buries it in three measures of flour until all of it is leavened." And all these things did Jesus speak in parables to the crowds. And without parables, he did not speak to them, as the prophet had vowed, 'I will open my mouth in parables and things shall be revealed that ever since the foundation of the world have been concealed.'' Then he left the crowds out there, and went into the house to rest, and his disciples came in to him saying, "Explain to us what you profess in the parable of the weeds in the field." So anwerering them, he said, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. To shed light on you, know the field is the world and the kingdom's sons are the good seed, while the enemy is the devil, and the wicked one's sons, the weeds. But the reapers are the angels, and the harvest, the end of the world. Therefore, as the weeds are gathered and burnt, so shall the evil be hurled into the fires on that day. The Son of Man will send forth his angels to gather out and cast into the furnaces at the end, all those who work inequity and all scandals - - - he'll bequeath this to them, and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the just will shine forth and like the sun, they will appear in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. The kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field but found by a man who hides it and in his joy sells all he has and buys the land. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls; and finding one of great price, he buys it by selling all he has in the world. And the kingdom of heaven is like a net which is cast out into the sea and gathers every kind of fish, and then is pulled in to be spread out full across the beach to gather each fish that is fine and throw away the bad fish back into the salty brime. So I tell you it will also be at the end of the world. Each from out among the just, the evil ones shall be hurled by the angels who will cast them down into the furnaces of fire beneath where there will be the weeping and there will be the gnashing of teeth. Have you understood these things?," and they answered him, "Yes, we do." And he said, "So then, every Scribe brings forth things old and new from his storehouse like a householder if he is instructed in the way of the kingdom of heaven." And he set forth on that day from out of that place to leave it, and when he again had reached his own country, in the temple, he once more began to teach so that they were all astonished and said, "How did this one come by all this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren Jospeh and James and Simon and Jude, and his sisters among us? Where got he his fame?" And they took offense at him, but Jesus said to them, "See, a prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and in his own house," and none of them could bear the Truth, and so he did not work any of his miralces there. Continue Return to beginning of POeTRY