Matthew tells us the Good News about Jesus

This is about the book that Matthew wrote

A man called Matthew wrote this book at some time between the years AD 59 and AD 70. Matthew was a Jew and he was sometimes called Levi. He received taxes for the government before he became a disciple of Jesus. He may have written his book when he was living in Israel. But he may have written it when he was living in Antioch. Antioch is a city in the country called Syria. Matthew wrote the book in the Greek language. He wrote it for Jews who understood Greek. In his book, Matthew wrote many things about the messages that God’s prophets had written a long time ago. The Jews who read Matthew’s book would know all about these things.

Matthew tells us the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He tells us about the birth of Jesus and how he lived. He tells us how Jesus died. He tells us how he went to live with God again. He also tells us who Jesus is. And he tells us why he came to live in the world. Matthew explained the things that Jesus taught the people. And he tells us about many things that Jesus did.

The Jews were waiting for God to send a special person to them. They called this person the Messiah. God had promised to send him. It means the person whom God sent to save people from punishment. He would also be the king of the Jews. He is the only person who can put us right with God. In the Greek language, the special person was called Christ. Matthew knew that Jesus was that special person. He wanted other people also to know this.

Matthew wrote his book in 8 parts:

1:1 – 2:23 ~ what happened when Jesus was born.

3:1 – 4:11 ~ what happened when Jesus began his work.

4:12 – 14:12 ~ what happened when Jesus was working in Galilee.

14:13 – 17:21 ~ what happened when Jesus went to other places in the north of Israel.

17:22 – 18:35 ~ what happened when Jesus returned to Galilee.

19:1 - 20:34 ~ what happened when Jesus taught the people in Judea and Perea.

21:1 – 27:66 ~ what happened in the city called Jerusalem in the last week of Jesus’ life.

28:1 – 28:20 ~ people see Jesus alive again after he died.

(Galilee, Judea and Perea were all different parts of the country called Israel.)


Chapter 1

The ancestors of Jesus

1 These are the names of people in the family of Jesus Christ. Jesus was in the family of King David. David was in the family of Abraham.

Jesus was a Jew. Abraham was the ancestor of all the Jews. The Jews are also called Israel, and they called their country Israel. We can read about Abraham in the book called Genesis 12-25. We can read about King David in the books called 1 Samuel (chapters 16-31) and 2 Samuel.

2        Abraham was the father of Isaac.

            Isaac was the father of Jacob.

            Jacob was the father of Judah and his brothers.

3        Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah. Their mother was called Tamar.

            Perez was the father of Hezron.

            Hezron was the father of Ram.

4        Ram was the father of Amminadab.

            Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.

            Nahshon was the father of Salmon.

5        Salmon was the father of Boaz (his mother was called Rahab).

            Boaz was the father of Obed (his mother was called Ruth).

            Obed was the father of Jesse.

6        Jesse was the father of King David.

            David was Solomon’s father. Solomon’s mother was the wife of Uriah.

7        Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.

            Rehoboam was the father of Abijah.

            Abijah was the father of Asa.

8        Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat.

            Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.

            Jehoram was the father of Uzziah.

9        Uzziah was the father of Jotham.

            Jotham was the father of Ahaz.

            Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.

10      Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.

            Manasseh was the father of Amon.

            Amon was the father of Josiah.

            Josiah was the father of Jeconiah and his brothers.

11 This was when soldiers from Babylon took the Jews away to Babylon.

12 Here is a list of the people who lived after that time:

            Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel.

            Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel.

13      Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.

            Abiud was the father of Eliakim.

            Eliakim was the father of Azor.

14      Azor was the father of Zadok.

            Zadok was the father of Akim.

            Akim was the father of Eliud.

15      Eliud was the father of Eleazar.

            Eleazar was the father of Matthan.

            Matthan was the father of Jacob.

16      Jacob was the father of Joseph.

Joseph married Mary. Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the special person that God sent to save his people.

17 So then, there were 14 generations from Abraham to David. There were 14 generations from David to the time the Jews went to Babylon. There were 14 generations from then until Jesus was born.

A generation was a single step down from one ancestor to the next. They usually counted from a father to his oldest son. The names of all their ancestors were very important to the Jews. Everybody knew the names of the people in their family. Then they knew that they were Jews. The list shows that Jesus was in the same family as Abraham, Judah, Joshua and David. They were his ancestors. Matthew records Jesus’ ancestors until Joseph. Jesus was Mary’s son, but he was not Joseph’s son. Matthew explains this in the next few verses. But, when Joseph married Mary, he became the father of Jesus by the law.

Jesus is born

18 Now this is how Jesus Christ was born. His mother’s name was Mary. She had promised to marry a man called Joseph. Then she discovered that a baby was growing inside her. This happened before she married Joseph. The powerful Holy Spirit had caused this to happen to her. 19 Joseph always wanted to do what was right. He did not want everyone to know about Mary’s baby. He did not want her to be ashamed. So he had a plan to stop the marriage secretly.

Joseph thought that Mary had had sex with another man. When two Jewish people promised to marry, it was not easy to stop the marriage. Joseph could have told people in a public place that Mary had done something wrong. This would stop the marriage. The law said that they should then kill Mary. Another way was to tell only two people. Joseph wanted to choose the second way.

20 Joseph thought about what to do. Then an angel came from God to see him. While he was dreaming, the angel said, ‘Joseph, you who are from the family of King David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The baby that is growing inside her is from God’s Holy Spirit. 21 Mary’s baby will be a boy. He will save his people from the wrong things that they have done. Because of this, you must name him Jesus.’

Jesus saves people from God’s punishment for the wrong things that they have done. He also helps people to be better people.

22 Many years before, God had spoken to one of his prophets about this. Now God’s words would soon become true. The prophet called Isaiah had said, 23 ‘There will be a young woman who has never had sex. A baby boy will grow inside her. People will call him Immanuel [Isaiah 7:4] . This name means “God is with us”.’

24 Then Joseph woke up from his sleep. He did what God’s angel had asked him to do. He married Mary. 25 Joseph did not have sex with Mary before the baby boy was born. Joseph said that the baby should be called Jesus.

Chapter 2

Some men come to visit Jesus

1 Jesus was born in the town called Bethlehem in Judea. At that time, King Herod ruled Judea. Soon after Jesus was born, some clever men came from the east to Jerusalem.

This Herod was called Herod the Great. He was king in Judea during the years from 37 BC to 4 BC. (BC means Before Christ.) Judea was a part of the country called Israel.

2 The men arrived in Jerusalem and they asked people, ‘Where is the baby who was born a short time ago as the King of the Jews? We ask because we saw a special star. This star rose in the east. We knew about the baby king when we saw this star. We want to bend our knees in front of him. We want to tell him how great and important he is.’

3 Herod heard what the men were saying. And he became anxious. Many people in Jerusalem were also anxious. 4 Then Herod asked all the leaders of the priests and the teachers of the Law to meet with him. He asked them, ‘God promised to send a special person. Where will that special person be born?’ 5 Then the leaders of the priests and the teachers of the Law replied, ‘The special person will be born in Bethlehem in Judea. This is what the prophet wrote about Bethlehem.

6 “God said:

            People in Bethlehem,

            your town is one of the most important towns in Judea.

            A person born in your town will rule my people Israel. He will guide my people.” ’ [Micah 5:2]

7 Herod listened to all these things. So he asked the visitors to meet with him by himself. Herod asked them some questions. And he discovered the time that the star had appeared. 8 Then Herod sent the men to Bethlehem. ‘Go and look everywhere for this child’, he said. ‘And when you find him, come back here. Then you can tell me where he is. After that, I can also bend my knees in front of him. I can tell him how great and important he is.’

9 After the men had heard the king, they continued their journey. While they were travelling, the same star appeared again. 10 The star moved along in front of them. Then it stopped above the place where the child was staying. The men were very happy when they saw the star. 11 They went into the house and they saw the child. He was with Mary, his mother. They went down on their knees in front of the child. They said to him, ‘You are very great and important.’ Then they opened their bags. They took out valuable gifts and they gave them to the child. The gifts were gold, incense called frankincense and myrrh. 12 God said to them in a dream, ‘Do not go back to see Herod.’ So the men returned to their own country by a different road.

Gold is a very valuable metal. People would give gold to a king. Incense makes a sweet smell when it burns. Myrrh was an expensive medicine.

Mary, Joseph and Jesus go to Egypt

13 That night, after the men had gone away, Joseph had a dream. He saw one of God’s angels who said to him, ‘Herod will be looking for the child, so that his soldiers can kill him. You must get up and take the child and his mother with you. Go immediately to the country called Egypt. You will all be safe there. I will tell you when you can leave. You must remain there until then.’

14 So Joseph got up and he took the child and the child’s mother with him. They started on the journey to Egypt that same night. 15 They all remained in Egypt until Herod died. This happened to cause the words of the prophet to become true. God had said by the prophet, ‘I have brought my son out of Egypt.’ [Hosea 11:1]

Herod’s soldiers kill the baby boys in Bethlehem

16 Then Herod understood that his visitors from the east would not return to him. He was very angry. He sent his soldiers to Bethlehem. He said to them, ‘Kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem. Kill those boys also who live near there. Kill all those who are not more than 2 years old.’ The visitors had told Herod that they had first seen the star 2 years ago. So he chose to kill the baby boys of that age. 17 In this way, the words that Jeremiah the prophet spoke became true.

18 He had said,

            ‘People heard a noise in the town called Ramah.

            They heard someone weeping with a loud voice.

            It is Rachel and she is crying for her children.

            Her children are dead,

            So nobody can help her to feel better.’ [Jeremiah 31:15]

Joseph, Mary and Jesus return to Israel from Egypt

19 After Herod died, Joseph saw one of God’s angels in a dream. 20 ‘Get up’, said the angel. ‘The people who wanted to kill the child are dead. Take the child and his mother. You can return with them to Israel.’

21 So Joseph got up. He took the child and the child’s mother and they travelled to Israel. 22 But then, Joseph heard that Archelaus, Herod’s son, was now king of Judea. So Joseph was afraid to go to Judea. Joseph had another dream. An angel explained to him what to do. ‘Go to Galilee instead’, he said. 23 Joseph made his home in a town called Nazareth. So what the prophets had said became true. ‘He will be called a person from Nazareth.’

Chapter 3

John the Baptist prepares a way for Jesus

1 Some years later, a man called John the Baptist went to the desert in Judea. He began to tell people a message from God.

2 John said, ‘Stop doing wrong things. Say sorry to God and obey him. You must do this because the Kingdom of heaven is coming soon.’

A kingdom is the place where a king rules. The Kingdom of God is where God rules. Matthew used Kingdom of heaven in his book. Heaven is God’s home. The Jews did not speak God’s name because he is so much greater than everyone else.

3 John the Baptist is the man that the prophet Isaiah spoke about. Isaiah said,

            ‘You will hear someone shouting in the desert these words:

            “The Lord is coming, so prepare a road for him to travel on.

            Make the path straight.” ’ [Isaiah 40:3]

Isaiah was telling people about a man called John. John told the people to get ready for King Jesus to come. People mend roads before a king travels along them. Isaiah is using this as a picture. It helped the people to understand how to prepare themselves for Jesus.

4 Now John always wore a coat that he had made out of hair from a camel. He also wore a leather belt. His usual food was large insects and honey from the desert.

Judea was part of Israel. A camel is a large animal that lives in the desert. It can carry heavy things on its back like a horse. The insects that John ate were called locusts. An insect called a bee makes honey. It is sweet like sugar.

5 Many of the people went to listen to John. They lived in Jerusalem and Judea and all the other places near the river Jordan. 6 The people told God about all the wrong things that they had done. Then John baptised the people in the river Jordan.

John baptised people who wanted to stop doing wrong things. These people told God that they were sorry. They were sorry about the wrong things that they had done. God then forgave them.

7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to John. They wanted John to baptise them. He said to them, ‘You are like dangerous snakes. You are trying to run away from God because he is angry with you. He will soon punish people who do wrong things. 8 Stop doing the things that God does not like. Do things to show God that you are sorry. 9 Do not say to yourselves, “We are in the family of Abraham. So God will not punish us.” Listen! God can make children for Abraham out of these stones! 10 You are like trees. God has an axe ready at the lowest part of the trees. He will cut down every tree that does not make good fruit. He will throw these trees into the fire.’

The Pharisees were a group of Jews. They thought that they obeyed all God’s rules. They thought that they did not do any wrong things. Sadducees were an important group of Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus.

11 ‘I baptise you with water. This shows God that you are sorry. You are sorry about the wrong things that you have done. It shows him that you now want to obey his rules. But a person is coming soon. He is more important than I am. I am not at all good like he is. I am no good even to carry his shoes for him. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and he will baptise you with fire. 12 He is like a farmer with a special tool in his hand. A farmer throws the wheat up in the air with this tool. He does this to remove the dry hard part that is outside of the seed. He cannot use this hard part for anything, so he burns it in a fire. Nobody can put out this fire. But he will put the seeds in a building to keep them safe.’

Jesus is the important person who is coming. John is using a story to teach the people about the work that Jesus will do.

John baptises Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the river Jordan. He wanted John to baptise him. 14 But John did not want to baptise Jesus. He said to Jesus, ‘I should come to you instead, and then you can baptise me. But you are asking me to baptise you.’

15 Jesus replied, ‘This time, do what I ask you. God wants you to baptise me. And we must do everything that is proper.’ So John did what Jesus asked him to do.

16 When John baptised him, Jesus came up out of the water. Then God opened the sky and Jesus saw God’s Spirit coming down. He came down like a bird, which sat on Jesus. 17 Then Jesus heard a voice in the sky. ‘This man is my Son. I love him and he makes me very happy.’

Chapter 4

The devil tries to cause Jesus to do wrong things

1 God’s Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Here the devil tried to cause Jesus to do wrong things.

The devil is a bad angel. He was once a good angel but he refused to obey God. Now he is the leader of all the bad spirits. He is also called Satan. He tries to cause people to do wrong things. Jesus was alone when the devil came to him. He told his friends about it later.

2 Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. He was very hungry at the end of this time. 3 Then the devil came to Jesus and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, you can talk to these stones. Tell the stones that they must become bread.’

4 But Jesus answered the devil, ‘Moses wrote this in God’s book. “People need more than bread to really live. They need to hear every word that God speaks. Then they can really live.” ’ [Deuteronomy 8:3]

Jesus was very hungry. The devil knew that Jesus could make stones become bread. He also knew that Jesus was God’s Son. God had not told Jesus to make bread, so he did not obey the devil. Jesus used God’s word from Deuteronomy 8:3 to answer the devil.

5 Then the devil led Jesus to Jerusalem. He took Jesus to stand on the highest point of God’s Great House. 6 He said to Jesus, ‘If you are God’s Son, jump down from here to the ground. Someone wrote in God’s book,

            “God will ask his angels to take care of you.

            They will hold you in their hands while you fall. And so you will be safe.

            They will not even let you hurt your feet on a stone”.’ [Psalm 91:11-12]

The devil was using the words from God’s book. But the devil was using the words in the wrong way.

7 Jesus answered the devil, ‘Moses also wrote in God’s book. “You must not do something dangerous to see if God will save you”.’ [Deuteronomy 6:16]

Jesus was remembering God’s words in Deuteronomy. Jesus was standing on the highest part of God’s Great House. This place was 600 metres above the ground. God had not told Jesus to jump down. We must not do dangerous things if we do not need to. We must obey God. Then he will take care of us.

8 Then the devil led Jesus up a very high mountain. He showed Jesus all the countries in the whole world. They were all very great and beautiful. 9 ‘I will give you everything that you can see’, said the devil. ‘Go down on your knees in front of me. Say that I am great and important and beautiful. And I will give it all to you.’

10 Jesus then said to him, ‘Go away. Moses also wrote this in God’s book. “We must only go down on our knees in front of God. We must only tell him, ‘You are great and important’. We must obey him first”.’ [Deuteronomy 6:13]

11 Then the devil left Jesus alone. After that, angels came to Jesus and they took care of him.

Jesus starts his work in Galilee

12 Now Jesus heard that Herod’s soldiers had put John the Baptist in prison. So Jesus returned to Galilee.

13 He did not stay in Nazareth. He went to live in a town called Capernaum. Capernaum is on the shore of Lake Galilee. It was in the part of Israel called Zebulun and Naphtali.

Zebulun and Naphtali were the names of parts of Galilee. They were also the names of two of Jacob’s sons. They lived in this land many years before.

14 Jesus went to live in Capernaum. And this caused the words of God to become true. God had said this to his prophet who was called Isaiah.

15      ‘I am speaking to you people who live in Zebulun and Naphtali.

            Your part of this country is on the way to Lake Galilee.

            It is across the River Jordan in the part of the country called Galilee.

            Some people who are not Jews live there.

16      They are like people who are living in the dark.

            They live in the shadow which death brings.

            God will send a light to shine on them.’ [Isaiah 9:1-2]

These people did not know God or his book very well. Isaiah said that they were like people who are walking in the dark. God promised to send his Son Jesus to them. He would be like a light to show them what God was like.

17 Then Jesus began to teach the people. ‘Stop doing wrong things. Say to God that you are sorry’, Jesus said. ‘Begin to obey God. You must do all this because the Kingdom of Heaven is coming soon.’

Jesus asks some men to be his disciples

18 One day, Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee. He saw two men. One man was called Simon, and he was also called Peter. The other man’s name was Andrew, and he was Simon’s brother. Their job was to catch fish. They were throwing their nets into the lake to catch some fish. 19 ‘Come with me and be my disciples’, Jesus said to them. ‘And I will teach you how to catch people.’

Jesus did not mean that Simon and Andrew would really catch people. He would teach Simon and Andrew how to tell other people the good news about himself. They had brought fish out of the water. But now they would bring people to Jesus, so that they could believe in him. These people would then be his disciples.

Simon and his brother lived in a town called Capernaum. This town is on the shore of Lake Galilee. Jesus had taught there. He had caused many people to become well again from their illnesses. So they knew that Jesus was a very powerful person.

20 Peter and Andrew immediately stopped working with their nets. They went with Jesus and they became his disciples.

21 Then Jesus continued to walk along the shore of Lake Galilee. Soon he saw two more men. Their job also was to catch fish. They were called James and John. They were brothers and their father was called Zebedee. John, James and Zebedee were in their boat and they were mending their nets. Jesus said to James and John, ‘Come with me and be my disciples.’ 22 Then the brothers immediately left the boat and their father behind. They went with Jesus and they became his disciples.

Jesus teaches the people about God and he makes sick people well again

23 Jesus went everywhere in Galilee. He went into the building where the Jews met to pray. Then he taught the people the good news about the Kingdom. People who had many different illnesses and problems came to Jesus. He caused all these people to become well again. 24 So people began to hear about Jesus more and more. People in Syria also heard about Jesus, so they brought all the sick people to see him. They wanted Jesus to cause them to become well again. They had many different illnesses and some had pains. Bad spirits were living inside some of them. Some people had sick minds, and some people could not move. Jesus caused all these people to become well again. 25 Because of this, large crowds followed him. These people came from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem. They also came from the part of Judea that is on the other side of the River Jordan.

Syria was a part of Israel that was on the east side of Galilee. The Decapolis was another part of Israel.

Chapter 5

Jesus teaches those who followed him

1 Jesus saw all the crowds following him. So he went up a hill and he sat down there to teach. Jesus’ disciples went close to listen to him. 2 And he began to teach them.

3        ‘Some people’, he said, ‘know that they need God very much. God will cause those people to be happy because they will be part of the Kingdom of Heaven.

4        Some people are sad now. God will help them to feel better. They will be happy.’

Jesus was not only speaking about people who are sad. Some people are sorry about all the bad things that they have done. Jesus was speaking about those people.

5        ‘Some people know that they are not powerful. They will be happy. God will give them what he has promised them.

6        Some people want to obey God more than they want to do anything else. God will give to them all that they need.

7        Some people are kind and they forgive other people. They will be happy. God will be kind to them and he will forgive them.

8        Some people do not want to do wrong things. They will be happy because they will see God.

9        Some people help other people to be friends and to agree together. They will be happy because God will call them his children.

10      Some people will have pain because they obey God. They will be happy because they are part of the Kingdom of Heaven.

11 You will be happy when people say bad things about you. Sometimes people will hurt you. Sometimes people will say things about you that are not true. People will do these things to you because you are my disciples. 12 You should be very happy when people do these things to any of you. You should shout because you are so happy. God has kept many good things for you. He will give you these things when you go to heaven. People did all these same things to the prophets who lived a long time ago.’

Jesus’ disciples are like salt and light

13 ‘You are like salt’, Jesus said, ‘for all people to taste and use. Salt is good. But sometimes it does not taste like salt any longer. That salt cannot become good again. It is not good for people to use for anything. They throw it outside and they walk on it.

14 You are like the light that everybody needs in this world. If people build a city on a hill, then other people can see it easily. 15 Nobody lights a lamp and then puts it under a can. He will put the lamp in a high place. Everybody who is in the house can then see the light from the lamp. 16 You must be sure that you shine like that light. Then everybody will be able to see. People will see all the lovely things that you do. Then they will say good things about God. He is your Father in heaven.’

Jesus is teaching his disciples about how they must live for God. Light shows people the way. In the same way, they must show people the way to God.

At this time, people burned oil in a dish to make a light. They called this a lamp. When the lamp was burning, they sometimes put it on a place high on a wall.

Jesus talks about the Laws that Moses gave to the Jews

17 Jesus said, ‘You should not think that I have come to destroy the Law. Also, I have not come to destroy the messages that the prophets wrote down. No, I have not come to destroy their words. I have come to cause what they taught to become true. 18 Remember my words. The sky and the earth will remain for a long time. While they remain, the Law will also remain. Not even a small change in the Law will happen. When everything in it has happened, then the Law will finish. 19 So then a person may think to himself, “This rule is not very important. I will not obey it.” He may also teach other people to think like that. But this teacher will be the least important person in the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, a person who obeys all God’s rules will be important. He teaches other people also to obey, so he will be great in God’s Kingdom. 20 I am telling you this. You will be able to come into the Kingdom of Heaven if you obey him. But you must obey him better than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees do.’

The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees thought that they obeyed every rule in the Law. But they did not do it because they loved God. They wanted other people to think well of them.

Jesus teaches about angry people

21 ‘You have heard the words to your people long ago. “You must not kill another person. And any person who does kill will stand in front of a judge. This judge will say that he has done something wrong. And he will punish him.” 22 But now, I say this to you about it. Anybody who is angry with his brother without a good reason will stand in front of a judge. The judge may say that this angry person has done a wrong thing. Someone might call his brother by a bad name. Then, the most important rulers will judge him. They may say that he must be punished. But whoever says, “You are a fool”, to their brother, God will judge him. He may say to him, “You should go into the fire in hell.” ’

At the time when Jesus said this, there were 71 important rulers in Jerusalem. And they met together to judge a bad person. The most important priest was their leader. These men had great power. God is the most powerful judge. Only he can send a person to hell.

When Jesus used the word brother, he was also talking about any close friend.

23 ‘Maybe you go to give your gift to God’, said Jesus to them. ‘You take it to the special table in God’s Great House. But then you remember that your brother is angry with you. 24 You must leave your gift there in front of God’s special table. And you must first go and find your brother. Say to him that you are sorry. Then you can both become friends with each other again. After that, you can go back and give your gift to God.

25 A person may say that you have done something wrong. So he will take you to stand in front of the judge. You should try to agree with this person. You should decide with him what is right. Do this even while you are going with him to the judge. Do it so that he will not speak against you to the judge. The judge may agree with him that you have done a wrong thing. Then he will give you to his officer who will put you in prison. 26 What I say is true. You will remain in prison until you have paid all the money.’

A judge listens to what people say against each other. He then decides who is right or wrong. Jesus is telling the people that everyone has done wrong things to God. They do not obey him in the way that they should. Jesus says that we should believe in him now. If we do not, then God will judge us. And he will punish us when we stand in front of him.

Jesus teaches people about not doing wrong things

27 ‘You know what God said to your people long ago. “You must not have sex with a person who is not your husband or wife. If you do, then you have done a wrong thing.” 28 But I tell you this. A man looks at a woman who is not his wife. And he wants to have sex with her. Now this man has also done a wrong thing. 29 If your right eye makes you do wrong things, then you should take it out. You should throw it away. You will lose one eye. But it will be much worse if God throws you with your two eyes into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you do wrong things, then you should cut it off. You should throw it away. You will lose one hand. But it is much worse if God sends you with your two hands into hell.’

Jesus does not want his disciples to cut their bodies. It is very important for them not to do wrong things. And Jesus is telling them this.

Jesus talks about when a man sends his wife away

31 ‘These words are also in God’s Law. “Any man who wants to stop being married to his wife must give her a paper. This paper shows that they are now separate.” [Deuteronomy 24:1-4] 32 But now, I tell you this. A man must only become separate from his wife because of one reason. This reason is that his wife has had sex with another man. If his wife has not done this, then she is still his wife. The paper does not cause the man and his wife to be separate. Now, if his wife marries another man she is doing a wrong thing. And the other man who marries her is also doing a wrong thing.’

Jesus teaches people about promises to God

33 ‘You know what God also said to your people long ago. “If you make a promise to God and use his name, do what you have said.” [Numbers 30:2] 34 But I tell you this. Do not use God’s name to make a promise. Do not use the words “by heaven” to make a promise. Heaven is the place where God rules. Do not use the words “by the earth” to make a promise. The earth is the place where God rests his feet. 35 Do not use the words “by Jerusalem” to make a promise. Jerusalem is God’s city. He is the great King there. 36 Do not use the words “my head” to make a promise. You cannot make the colour of your hair black or white. 37 You should say only “Yes” if you mean, “Yes, I will do it.” And you should say only “No” if you mean, “No, I will not do it.” If you say more than this, what you say comes from the Devil.’

People used to say these extra words when they made a promise. They wanted other people to know that they would keep their promise. Jesus taught that we should always keep our promises (do what we promised to do).

Jesus teaches them about how to love people

38 ‘So, this is also in God’s Law. “If a man destroys somebody’s eye, then somebody should destroy that man’s eye. If a man destroys a man’s tooth, then somebody should destroy that man’s tooth.” [Exodus 21:24] 39 But I tell you this. If somebody does something bad to you, do not try to do something bad back to him. Somebody may slap you on one side of your face. Then you should let him slap you on the other side of your face also.’

We should not do bad things to other people who have done bad things to us.

40 ‘Maybe somebody wants to take you to the judge. He says to the judge, “This man has done a wrong thing against me. So I want him to give me his shirt.” Give the man your shirt. Give him also your coat. 41 A soldier may say to you, “Carry my luggage for one mile (1500 metres).” Help him. Carry it for two miles (3000 metres). 42 When somebody asks you for something, you should give it to him. If somebody asks you to lend him something, then you should not refuse.

43 You hear people say, “Love the people who are your friends. Do not love those who want to hurt you.” 44 But I tell you this. You should love the people who want to hurt you. Some people hurt you because you obey God. You should pray to God that he would help them. 45 If you do this, you will be sons and daughters of your Father above. He causes the sun to shine on people who obey him. He also causes the sun to shine on people who do not obey him. God causes the rain to fall on people who obey him. He also causes the rain to fall on people who do not obey him. 46 You might only love people who love you. But then, God will not pay you for doing that. Even men who take the taxes do it!’

The men who received tax for the government took the money from their own people. They gave it to the Roman ruler. They often took more money than they should have taken. So the people did not like the men who took the tax.

47 ‘When you only speak to your friends’, said Jesus, ‘then you are not doing anything extra. Even people who do not believe in God do that. 48 So you must be good in every way, as your Father above is good in every way.’ [Leviticus 19:2]

Chapter 6

Jesus teaches people how to help poor people

1 Jesus still spoke to them. ‘You may do good things and help somebody. But be careful that you do not want other people to see you. Let it be a secret. If you do these things to show people, God, your Father in heaven will not pay you back.

2 When you give something to a poor person, do not tell anyone about it. The hypocrites do this in the buildings where people meet to pray. They also do it outside in the busy streets of the town. They do this so that other people will say, “These men are good.” What I say is true. They have already received good words from other people. So, God will not give them anything more.’

Hypocrites want people to think that they are good. But they are not really good people.

3 ‘When you give something to a poor person, keep it a secret. Do not tell even your best friend. Let it be as if your left hand did not know about your right hand’s actions. 4 Nobody else will know about what you gave to the person. It will be a secret. God sees things that are secret. And he will give you good things.’

Jesus teaches people how to pray

5 ‘So, you must not pray like the hypocrites pray. They like to stand and pray in the Jewish meeting places and on the busy corners of the streets. Then many people can see them praying. What I say is true. They have already received good words from people and they will not get anything more.’

The corners of the streets were places where Jews met to pray. They also prayed in the special buildings. In those places there were a lot of people who could see them praying.

6 ‘I will tell you how to pray. Go to a place in your house where you can be alone. There you can pray to God your Father. He is in that secret place. And he sees what you do. He will give you good things. 7 When you pray, do not say the same words many times. And do not use many words that mean nothing. People who do not believe in God do that. And they think that God will hear them. 8 Do not be like them. God your Father already knows what you need. He knows this even before you ask him.

9 This then is how you should pray,

            “God our Father, you live in heaven.

            You are powerful and important.

            We want more and more people to know that your name has great authority.

10      We want you to rule everyone.

            We want everyone to obey you on earth, like everyone in heaven obeys you.

11      Please give us the food that we need each day.

12      Please forgive us for all the wrong things that we have done.

            We have forgiven everyone who has done wrong things to us.

            Forgive us in the same way.

13      Do not let anything cause us to do wrong things.

            Keep us safe from the Devil.” ’

14 Then Jesus said, ‘You must forgive other people for the wrong things that they have done to you. Then God, your Father in heaven will also forgive you for the wrong things that you have done to him. 15 But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive you.’

Jesus teaches the people about how to stop eating for some time

16 ‘Be careful when you stop eating for some time. Do not look sad. Then people will not know what you are doing. That is what the hypocrites do. A hypocrite wants people to think about how good he is. He will let his face become dirty. Then other people can see that he has stopped eating. You should remember that God will not give the hypocrites anything else. Other people think that they are good. And that is all that they will get. 17 But when you stop eating for some time, you should wash your face. You should cause your hair to look nice. 18 Then other people will not know that you have stopped eating for some time. But God your Father knows. He sees what you do in that secret place. So he will give you good things.’

Some people stop eating for hours or days so that they can have more time with God. This causes them to feel closer to God when they pray. But the hypocrites did it for the wrong reason.

Jesus teaches the people about the valuable things that they have in God’s place above

19 ‘Do not have many valuable things here in the world. Here there are insects and water that can destroy them. There are also men who can come into your house. They can rob you of all your valuable things. 20 Instead, you should put all your valuable things in God’s place above. The insects and water cannot destroy your valuable things there. Men cannot rob you of all your things. 21 You will always think about the place where you keep your valuable things. You will want to be there in heaven.’

People think about their valuable things, so it is better to have them stored with God in heaven above. They will be safe there. We will also think about going to be with God.

22 ‘Eyes are like lamps and your body is like a room. If your eyes are like a clean lamp, then your whole body will have light. 23 If your eyes are not good, then your whole body will be in the dark. If the light in your body has become dark, you will live in a very dark place.’

Jesus himself is the light that he is talking about. If a person lets Jesus rule his life, there will be nothing dark or hidden. But some people do not believe Jesus’ words. They are like a person who is living in the dark.

Jesus teaches the people about God and the things that we have

24 ‘A slave cannot work for two masters at the same time. He will not like one of the masters, but he will love the other master. He will always say good things about one of the masters and say bad things about the other master. You cannot have God as a master and have money also as your master.’

25 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘What I say is true. Do not be anxious about food and drink to stay alive. Do not be anxious about clothes to wear either. Your life is more important than your food, and your body is more important than your clothes. 26 Think about the wild birds. They do not plant seeds in the ground. They do not cut down plants to eat. And they have no buildings to store food. God gives them food. And you are much more valuable than the birds. 27 Perhaps you are anxious about how long you will live. But you cannot live one hour longer, even if you are always thinking about it. No, you cannot do even a small thing like that. So do not be anxious about all these other things.

28 You should not be anxious about your clothes. Think about how the wild flowers grow. They do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But this is true. King Solomon wore very beautiful clothes. But even one wild flower is more beautiful than he was. 30 God gives beautiful clothes to the grass and to the wild flowers. They are alive in the field today, but tomorrow people will burn them. God will certainly give you clothes to wear. You should know that God will take care of you.’

People burned dry grass and wild flowers on fires to cook their food.

31 Then Jesus said, ‘Do not always be thinking about where you will find your food and drink and clothes. Do not be anxious. 32 People who do not know about God are always thinking about these things. God, your Father in heaven, knows that you need them. 33 Instead, think about the things that are important in the Kingdom of God. You should do everything that you can to obey God. Then God will also give you the other things that you need. 34 So do not be anxious about what might happen tomorrow. Tomorrow there will be enough problems for you to be anxious about. It is enough for you to be anxious each day about the problems of that day.’

Chapter 7

We should not judge other people

1 Jesus was still speaking to the people. ‘Do not say to anybody, “You are a bad person.” Then God will not say to you, “You are a bad person.” 2 God will speak to you in the same way that you speak to other people. He will use the same rules for you as you use for other people.

3 Do not look at the small piece of wood dirt that is in your brother’s eye. You should first see the big piece of wood that is in your own eye. 4 You should not say to your brother, “Please let me take the small piece of wood dirt out of your eye.” But you yourself have not seen the big piece of wood that is in your own eye. 5 You think that you are better than your brother. But you are not. First, you must take the big piece of wood out of your own eye. Then your eyes will be clear and you will see well. After that, you can take the small piece of wood dirt out of your brother’s eye.’

Jesus tells us to make our own mistakes right. After that, we can tell our friends about their mistakes. Jesus uses the word brother. This includes our friends.

6 ‘Do not give really good things that are for God to dogs. The dogs will turn round and attack you. Do not throw valuable things to pigs. The pigs will only stand on them and bury them in the dirt.’

We do not give valuable things to pigs and dogs. They would not take care of them. People who do not want God are like that. The things that God gives are not valuable to them.

Jesus teaches his disciples more about God

7 ‘Go on asking God for what you need. And then you will receive. Go on looking for what you need. And then you will find it. Go on knocking at the door. And then God will open it for you. 8 Everyone who asks for something will receive it. Everyone who looks for something will find it. God will open the door for everyone who knocks on it.

9 Some of you are fathers. You would not give your son a stone when he asks you for some bread. 10 You would not give your son a snake if he asks you for a fish. 11 Even if you are bad, you know how to give good things to your children. Your Father above knows much better than you do how to give good things. So he will give good things to those people who ask him.’

Jesus is teaching his disciples that they must pray. And they must continue to pray. God will hear them. He will give them the good things that they ask for. The most important things to pray for are the special gifts from God.

12 ‘In the same way that you want other people to do things to you, do things to other people. This is what the Law of Moses teaches us. It is also what the prophets wrote in their books.’

Jesus teaches people how to get true life

13 ‘You should go in through the narrow gate to get true life. The wide gate is easy to go through. The wide path is easy to travel on. Many people find that wide gate, but it is the way to hell. 14 It is difficult to go through the small gate. It is difficult to walk on the narrow road. But when you do go that way, you will get true life. Not many people find that narrow gate.’

Jesus teaches the story about a tree and its fruit

15 ‘Watch out for prophets who tell you wrong things about God. These people seem to be like sheep that are not dangerous. But they are really like hungry wild dogs. What they teach will hurt you.

16 You will know these people by what they do. People do not pick good fruit from weeds. And they do not pick fruit to eat from wild plants.’

The prophets are like fruit trees. The things that they do are like the fruit on the trees. If they do good things, then the fruit is good. And the people will know that they are real prophets. If they do wrong things, then that is like bad fruit. And the people will know that they are not real prophets.

17 ‘Good fruit grows on a tree that is good. Bad fruit grows on a tree that is not good. 18 A good tree cannot make bad fruit. A bad tree cannot make good fruit. 19 The farmer will cut down any tree that does not make good fruit. He will burn that tree on a fire. 20 So you will know if a person is good or bad. Look at what they do. And look at what they say. A good person does good things. And a bad person does bad things.

21 Some people say to me, “Master, Master!” But not all of them will come into the Kingdom of Heaven. Only the people who obey God, my Father in heaven, will come in. They do what he wants them to do. 22 On the day when God judges, people will say, “Master, Master! We used your authority and we told people a message from you. We used your authority and we caused bad spirits to come out of people. We used your authority to do many powerful things.” 23 Then I will say to these people, “I never knew you. You do not obey God; you are bad. So go away from me.” ’

Jesus tells a story about two men who each built a house

24 ‘I will tell you about a man. He hears my message and he obeys it. Now, this person understands my words. He is like a man who built his house on rock. 25 Then a storm came and brought a lot of water. The water hit the house and strong winds blew hard against that house. But the house did not fall down because the man had built it on rock. 26 Another man hears my message and he does not obey it. He is like a man who built his house on sand. 27 Then a storm came and brought a lot of water. The water hit the house and strong winds blew hard against it. The house fell down. The storm destroyed it completely.’

Jesus tells us that our life is like a house. We should obey God. Then our life will be like the first house. It continued to stand when troubles came. If we do not obey God, our life will be like the second house. That house fell down. So our life will have a sad end.

28 Jesus finished speaking. All the people were very surprised about the things that he taught them. 29 Jesus did not teach them in the same way as the teachers of the Law. Jesus had his own authority when he taught them.

Chapter 8

A man who had an illness of the skin comes to meet Jesus

1 A large crowd followed Jesus when he came down from the hill. 2 Then a man with an illness of the skin came to meet Jesus. The illness was called leprosy. The man went down on his knees in front of him. ‘Sir, if you want’, he said, ‘you can make me well. Please do it.’

3 Jesus put out his hand towards him and touched him. ‘I do want to help you. Be well’, he said. Immediately, the illness left the man. 4 ‘You must not tell anyone about this’, Jesus said to him. ‘Instead, go and show yourself to the priest. Take him a gift for God, as Moses said. “Do this to thank God for what has happened. And this will also show everyone that you are now well.” ’ [Leviticus 14:1-32]

An officer in the army believes that Jesus can help him

5 When Jesus went into Capernaum, an officer in the army came to meet him. He asked Jesus to help him.

The officer was a soldier in the army of King Herod Antipas. He had authority over 100 men. The officer was a good man and he took care of his men. The officer was not a Jew, but the Jews said good things about him. The Jews did not usually say good things about those who were not Jews.

6 ‘Sir, my servant is lying in bed at home. He cannot move and he has a lot of pain.’

7 Jesus said to the officer, ‘I will go with you to your house and I will make your servant well again.’

8 But the officer said to Jesus, ‘Sir, you are too important to come into my house. You have authority. Instead, you can say that he will be well. And I know that my servant will be well again. 9 Someone has authority over me. I also have authority over other soldiers. I say to this soldier, “Go!” and he goes. I say to that soldier, “Come!” so, he comes. I say to one of my servants, “Do this!” so, he does it.’

10 Jesus heard what the officer said. And Jesus was very surprised. He spoke to the crowd that was following him. ‘What I say is true. I have not found anybody like this man in Israel. Nobody else believes so well in me.’

The officer was not a Jew. Jesus would have thought that the Jews should have believed in him. They should have believed in him more than other people did.

11 ‘What I say is true. Many people will come from all over the world. They will take their place in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will sit down to eat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 12 Some people were born to belong to the Kingdom. But God’s angels will throw them into the dark places outside his kingdom. There the people will cry. And they will bite their teeth together because they are angry.’

Jesus was talking about many of the Jews. God chose the Jews to be his own people. But many of them did not obey God, so they could not be part of his kingdom.

13 Then Jesus said to the officer, ‘Go home. You believed that I would make your servant well again. So I will do it for you.’ And at that moment, Jesus made the servant well again.

Jesus makes many people well again

14 Jesus went into Peter’s house. There, he saw the mother of Peter’s wife. She was ill in bed and she felt very hot. 15 Jesus touched her hand and immediately she did not feel hot any longer. She got up and she prepared food and drink for Jesus.

16 That evening, some people brought other people to see Jesus. Bad spirits lived in many of these people. Jesus spoke a word and he caused the bad spirits to leave them. He made everybody who was ill well again. 17 Jesus did all this to cause the prophet Isaiah’s words to become true:

            ‘He took away all our weaknesses.

            He took away everything that makes us sick.’ [Isaiah 53:4]

18 One day, Jesus saw a large crowd round him. So he said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.’ 19 A teacher of the Law came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Teacher, I want to become one of your disciples. I will go with you everywhere that you go.’

20 Jesus said to him, ‘Wild dogs have a place to live. Wild birds also have their own places to live. But the Son of Man has no regular place to lie down and sleep.’

21 Another man who was already a disciple of Jesus spoke to him. ‘Sir, I will come with you. But first, let me go home to bury my father. After that, I will come with you.’

22 Jesus said to him, ‘Let those people who are dead bury their own dead people.’

The man wanted to wait until his father had died. Then he would go with Jesus and be his disciple. People who did not believe in Jesus could bury the dead people. Jesus needed people now to tell the good news about the Kingdom of God.

Jesus stops a storm

23 Then Jesus climbed into a boat and his disciples followed him. 24 A great storm soon started on the lake. Water began to fill the boat, so that soon the boat was almost under the water. Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went to him and they woke him. ‘Save us, Master’, they said. ‘We will soon die in the water.’

26 ‘You should not be so frightened. You do not believe in me very much!’ Jesus said. Then he stood up and he spoke to the wind and the water. ‘Be quiet!’ he said. ‘Stop moving!’ Then the wind stopped and the water became flat again.

27 The disciples were very surprised. ‘What kind of man is this?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and the water obey him!’

Jesus makes two men well again

28 Jesus arrived at the other side of Lake Galilee. He was in the part of the country called Gadara. The people who lived there were called Gadarenes. Jesus arrived near the place where they buried dead people. Two men came to meet Jesus. Bad spirits lived in these two men. The men were very dangerous. Everyone was too afraid to walk near this place because of them. 29 When the two men saw Jesus, they immediately shouted to him, ‘What are you going to do with us? You are the Son of God. Have you come to punish us before the right time?’

This place is across the lake from Galilee on the east side of the lake. About 2 kilometres (one mile) from the shore there is a small village called Khersa. There were some big holes in the rocks there. The people from the village buried dead people in the holes. Some people also lived in the big holes as houses. They were not Jews.

The bad spirits were speaking to Jesus. They knew who Jesus was. They knew that one day God would judge them.

30 A large group of pigs was feeding near to this place. 31 The bad spirits asked Jesus, ‘If you cause us to leave these men, please send us to those pigs. Let us go into them.’

32 ‘Go!’ said Jesus to the bad spirits. So the bad spirits came out of the men and went into the pigs. All the pigs rushed down the hill. They ran into the lake and they all died in the water. 33 There were some men there, who took care of the pigs. Those men ran away into the town, when this happened. They told people there everything that had happened to the men with bad spirits. 34 So everybody came out of the town to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they said, ‘Please leave our part of the country.’

Chapter 9

Jesus helps a man who cannot walk

1 Jesus then climbed back into the boat and he sailed across to the other side of the lake again. He returned to Capernaum, the town where he was living.

2 Some men from the town came to see Jesus. They brought another man with them who could not move his legs. He was lying on a flat piece of wood. Jesus saw the men. And he knew what they were thinking. They believed that Jesus could cause the man on the bed to be well again. Jesus said to the man who could not move, ‘Do not be afraid, my friend. I forgive you for all the wrong things that you have done.’

3 Then some teachers of the Law began to speak to each other. ‘This man should not have said this’, they said to themselves. ‘He is speaking as if he is God.’

4 Jesus knew what the teachers were thinking. So he said to them, ‘You should not think these bad things. 5 I said to this man, “I forgive you for all the wrong things that you have done.” I could have said to him, “Stand up and walk.” 6 But I want you to know this. The Son of Man has authority on earth. He can forgive people for all the wrong things that they have done.’ Then he said to the man who could not move his legs, ‘Stand up. Pick up the bed where you are lying. And go home.’ 7 So then the man stood up and he went home. 8 The people saw what had happened. They were very surprised and afraid. They saw that God had given much authority to men. So they said, ‘God, how great and powerful you are.’

Jesus often called himself the Son of Man. He did this so that people would remember about some messages in the Bible. We can read about the Son of Man in the book called Daniel. (See Daniel 7:13-14.)

Jesus asks Matthew to come with him

9 Jesus walked away from that place. While he walked, he saw a man called Matthew. He was one of the men who received taxes for the government. He was sitting in his office. ‘Come with me and be my disciple’, Jesus said. So Matthew stood up and he went with Jesus.

10 Later, Jesus went into the house. Many other men who received money for the government came to the house. Jesus was eating a meal there. Many people who had done bad things also came. All these people came to eat a meal with Jesus and his disciples.

These people were Jews who did not obey everything in God’s Law. The Pharisees did not like them. They thought that they were bad people. The Pharisees thought that they themselves obeyed everything in God’s Laws. They thought that they themselves were better than other people.

11 Some Pharisees saw all these people eating a meal with Jesus. They asked Jesus’ disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat a meal with these people? They are people who have done bad things. And some of them take tax money.’

12 Jesus heard what the Pharisees were saying. ‘People who are well do not need a doctor’, he said to them. ‘People who are ill need a doctor. 13 Go. And learn what the prophets wrote down in God’s book. God says, “I want people to be kind to each other. I do not only want them to give me gifts in my house.” Some people think that they have not done anything wrong. I do not ask such people to be my disciples. Many people know that they have done wrong things. It is these people that I am asking be my disciples.’

14 Then some of the disciples of John the Baptist came to meet Jesus. They asked him, ‘We, and the disciples of the Pharisees, often stop eating so that we can pray. Why do your disciples never do that?’

Some people stop eating for hours or days so that they can have more time with God. This causes them to feel closer to God when they pray.

15 Jesus answered them with a picture story. ‘When the friends of a bridegroom are with him at his marriage, they do not stop eating. The time will come when people will take the bridegroom away from his friends. Then his friends will stop eating.’

This kind of a picture story shows how two things are almost the same or not almost the same. In this story, Jesus is like the bridegroom. Those who follow him are like his friends at the marriage. Jesus will not always be with them. That will be the time when they will stop eating for some time to pray.

16 Then Jesus said, ‘Nobody uses a piece of new cloth to repair an old coat. If he did, the hole would grow bigger. When someone washed the coat, the new piece of cloth would become smaller. The new cloth would tear the old cloth again and it would make a bigger hole than before.

17 Nobody pours new wine into an old wineskin. If he does, then the new wine will tear the old wineskin. The wine will run out and he will lose it. And he will destroy the wineskin. Instead of this, you must put new wine into a new wineskin. Then there will be nothing to destroy the wine or the wineskin.’

Wine is a strong drink made from fruit. Some people kept wine in bottles made from an animal skin. Wine grows as it gets older, but old bottles become hard. New wine would cause them to break.

Jesus is teaching the people that the old bottles are like the old Law. The new wine and the new cloth are like the new things that Jesus was teaching them. They could not mix the old things and the new things.

Jesus causes a dead girl to become alive again

18 While Jesus was saying these things to the people, an important Jew came to him. The man went down on his knees in front of Jesus and said to him, ‘My daughter has just died. Come to my house. Touch her with your hand and then she will be well again.’ 19 So Jesus started to go along with the man. And his disciples also went along with them.

20 A woman was in the crowd near to Jesus. She had lost blood every day for 12 years. She came close behind Jesus and she touched the edge of his coat. 21 The woman thought, ‘If I only touch his coat, Jesus will cause me to become well again.’

22 Jesus turned round and he saw the woman. ‘Young woman, do not be afraid’, he said. ‘You are well again because you believed in me.’ And immediately the woman became well again.

23 Then Jesus walked on until he arrived at the house of the important Jew. He went into the man’s house. People there were making music with pipes made out of wood. The crowd in the house was also making a loud noise.

Jewish people made music in the house after somebody had died. They also made music while people buried that person.

24 Jesus spoke to everybody in the house. ‘Get out of here’, he said. ‘This girl is not dead. She is only sleeping.’ The people laughed at Jesus. 25 But the family sent the crowd out of the house. Then Jesus went into the room where the girl was lying. He held her hand, and she stood up. 26 After that, people began to tell about what had happened. They told other people in all that part of the country.

Jesus causes two men to see again

27 Jesus left the house. While he walked along, two men began to follow him. They could not see. They were shouting out to him, ‘Son of David, be kind to us and help us.’

King David was an ancestor of Jesus.

28 Jesus went into a house. And the men who could not see came to him. Jesus asked them, ‘Do you believe that I can cause your eyes to become well?’

The men replied, ‘Yes, Master, we believe that you can do this.’

29 So Jesus touched the men’s eyes and he said, ‘Because you believed in me, your eyes will become well again.’ 30 Then immediately the men could see again. Jesus said to them, ‘You must not tell anybody about this.’ 31 So the men went away. But then they told everybody in that part of the country all about what Jesus had done for them.

Jesus causes a man to speak again

32 While those two men were leaving Jesus, some people brought another man to him. This man could not talk because a bad spirit was living inside him. 33 Jesus said to the bad spirit, ‘Leave this man.’ The spirit left him, and the man began to speak. Everybody there was very surprised. They said, ‘Nobody has seen anything like this happen in Israel before.’

34 The Pharisees said, ‘Because Satan makes him powerful, this man can send bad spirits out of people.’ 35 Jesus went to visit many towns and villages in that part of the country. He taught the people in the places where they met to talk to God. He taught the good news about the Kingdom. He also caused sick people to become well again from all their illnesses.

Jesus wants God to send out more disciples

36 When Jesus saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. The people were anxious. They had nobody to help them. Jesus thought, “These people are like sheep with nobody to take care of them.” 37 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘These people are like many good plants in the fields. The plants are ready for the workers to cut down. But there are not many workers. 38 You should ask the master of these fields to send out more workers. Then they can bring in all the plants.’

In this story, the master of the fields is like God. The fields are like the world. The plants that are growing in the fields are like the people in the world. The workers are like the people who know the Good News about the Kingdom of God. They must tell other people about how God rules. Then all these other people can also ask God to rule them.

Chapter 10

Jesus chooses 12 men to be his apostles

1 One day, Jesus asked 12 of his disciples to come to him. He gave them authority over bad spirits that were living in people. These disciples could then cause the spirits to leave people. Jesus also gave them authority to cause sick people to become well again. They could remove all their illnesses.

2 These are the names of the 12 apostles:

            The first apostle is Simon, who is also called Peter.

            Then next is Simon’s brother called Andrew.

            There were James and his brother John, who were Zebedee’s sons.

3        There were Philip and Bartholomew.

            There were Thomas and Matthew. (Matthew received tax money before he became a disciple.)

            And there was James who was the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus.

4        Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot.

            Judas Iscariot helped the leaders of the Jews to take hold of Jesus.

Jesus had many disciples. He chose 12 of them to be with him so that he could teach them. He also called these 12 men apostles. The word apostle means ‘someone whom his master sends out to do a job’. Their job was to tell other people about Jesus. In his book, John calls Bartholomew, Nathanael (John 1:45). Matthew is another name for Levi. In Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18, Judas, son of James is called Thaddaeus.

A Zealot was a man who wanted to fight against the Roman ruler. The Zealots wanted the Jews to rule Israel again.

Jesus sends out his 12 apostles

5 Jesus sent out these 12 men. Before they left, he said to them, ‘Go only to places where Jews live. Do not go to any place where the people are not Jews. And you must not go to any towns where only Samaritans live.’

The Samaritan people and the Jews did not like each other. Some of the Samaritansancestors were Jewish and some of them were not.

6 ‘Instead, you must go to the people of Israel’, he said. ‘They are like lost sheep with nobody to take care of them. 7 While you travel, you must tell people about the Kingdom of Heaven. You must tell them that it has become near. 8 Make sick people well again. Cause dead people to become alive again. And cause people with an illness of the skin to become well again. Say to bad spirits that are living in a person, “Come out of him.” Then they will leave the person. I gave you the authority to do all these things. Now, go and do all these things for other people. This authority did not cost you anything. So do not ask them to pay you any money for what you do. 9 Do not take any money of any kind in your purse. 10 Do not take a bag with you, or an extra set of clothes. Do not take shoes or a stick. People should give a worker everything that he needs.’

Jesus would give his apostles what they needed. He wanted them to believe that.

11 ‘When you are travelling, go into towns and villages. Look for a good person who will take care of you. You should live in his house until you leave that town. 12 When you go into that man’s house, say to the people inside, “I pray that you will be well.” 13 If the master of the house accepts you, then everyone in the house will be well. But there may not be anybody in the house that accepts you. Then ask God not to cause them to be well. 14 Sometimes you will go into a home or a town and the people will not accept you. And they will not listen to your message. Then you should leave that home or that town. And say to the people, “There is dirt from your town on our feet. We will clean it off before we leave.” 15 I am speaking what is true’, Jesus said to his disciples. ‘One day God will punish the people who refuse me. God will punish them more than he will punish the people from Sodom and Gomorrah.’

We can read about the cities called Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, chapters 18 and 19. The people who lived in those towns were very bad. And they did not obey God.

16 ‘Listen well. I am sending you to people who will want to kill you. Your journey will be dangerous. You will be like sheep among wild dogs. You must watch carefully, like a snake watches. But you must also be good and kind like a quiet bird.

17 Watch carefully! People will take hold of you and they will cause you to stand in front of the important Jews. They will take you into the places where they meet to talk to God. Then they will hit you with a whip. 18 People will cause you to stand in front of kings and rulers. This will happen because of me. This is the moment to tell them and those who are not Jews about me. Tell them the Good News about me. 19 When the people cause you stand in front of kings and rulers, do not be afraid. Do not think about what you should say. Do not be afraid about how you will say things. At that moment, God will tell you the right words to speak. 20 You will say words that do not come from you. God the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.

21 Men will cause their own brothers to stand in front of kings and rulers. And these men will say, “Kill him because he believes in Jesus.” Fathers will do the same to their own children. Some children will be against their parents. The children will cause their parents to stand in front of kings and rulers and they will say, “Kill my parents because they believe in Jesus.” 22 Many people will not like you because you believe in me. But you should never stop believing in me. Then God will save you. 23 If people in one town hurt you because of me, you should leave that town immediately. You should go to another town. What I say is true. You will not have enough time to speak your message in all the towns of Israel. No, not before the Son of Man comes again.

24 A disciple is not more important than his teacher is. A servant is not more important than his master is. 25 A disciple should be happy if he knows as much as his teacher. A servant should be happy if he is as important as me, his master. Some people call the master of the house Beelzebub (that is “Satan”). These people will call the people in his house even worse names.

26 Do not be afraid of these people. God will remove the cover from everything that people have covered. He will tell everybody all the secrets. 27 I tell you secret things. But you must tell these things to the whole world. They must not be secret any longer. I have said things to you that other people did not hear. But now you must shout all these things from the tops of the houses.’

At that time, the top of a house was flat. Sometimes people wanted everyone to hear what they said. So they shouted from the top of their house.

28 ‘Do not be afraid of those people who can only kill your body. These people cannot kill your soul. I say to you that you should be afraid of God. He can kill your body, and then he can also kill your soul in hell. 29 Think about this. People sell two small birds for a small coin of little value. One small bird may fall to the ground. But this can only happen if God lets it happen. 30 God even knows how many hairs there are on your head. 31 So do not be afraid of people. God thinks that you are more valuable than many small birds.

32 If a person says to everybody, “I believe in Jesus”, then I will speak to God, my Father in heaven. I will say, “I know that person; he is one of my disciples.” 33 If someone else says to everybody, “I do not believe in Jesus”, I will then speak to God, my Father in heaven. I will say, “I do not know that person; he is not one of my disciples.”

34 I will tell you why I have come into the world. I did not come so that everyone would agree with each other. I came to cause people to be in separate groups that fight against each other.

35      A man will fight against his father.

            A daughter will fight against her mother.

            A woman will fight against her husband’s mother.

36      A man’s family will fight against him.’

Jesus came to the world to bring men and God close together. He wanted people to believe in God and to obey him. But to do this he had to fight against bad things and against Satan. People who obey Satan will fight people who obey God.

37 ‘A man must love his own father and mother less than he loves me’, said Jesus. ‘Then he can be my disciple. He must also love his own son or daughter less than he loves me. If he does not do this, then he cannot be my disciple.’ 38 Jesus then spoke to the crowd and to his disciples. ‘Perhaps some of you want to be my disciples’, he said. ‘If you do, then you cannot think first about yourself. And you cannot think about what you want to do. You must only do what God wants you to do. You must do this every day. You might even have to die. Then you can be one of my disciples. 39 If a person wants to keep himself safe, then he will never have true life. But instead, he may die because he believes in me. And then he will have true life for always.’

Jesus teaches the people about God’s gifts

40 ‘If anyone accepts you in his home, then he also accepts me. Anyone who accepts me in his home also accepts God. 41 A person accepts a prophet into his home because the visitor is a prophet of God. God will give him the same gift that he gives to a prophet. A person accepts into his home a good man who obeys God. He only does this because the good man obeys God. God will give that person the same gift that he gives to the good man. 42 A person gives a drink of cold water to one of my least important disciples. He only does this because that person is one of my disciples. But it is also true that God will give that man good gifts.’

Chapter 11

Jesus talks about John the Baptist

1 When Jesus had finished telling all these things to his disciples, he went away from that place. And he went to teach people in their towns.

2 At that time, John the Baptist was in prison. But people told him about all the things that Jesus Christ was doing. So John sent some of his own disciples to ask Jesus some questions.

3 Then some of the disciples of John came to Jesus. They said to him, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you. He wants us to ask you a question. Are you the special person that God has sent to us? If you are not that person, should we wait for someone else?’

4 Jesus replied, ‘Go back to John. Tell him what you have seen. Also, tell him what you have heard. 5 People who could not see can see again. People who could not walk can now walk again. Some people who were ill with an illness of the skin are now well again. Some people who could not hear can now hear again. Some people who were dead now live again. Poor people are hearing the good news. 6 If people are sure about me, they will be happy.’

John was alone in prison. He was afraid and anxious. He was thinking about Jesus. Everyone was waiting for God to send a special person. John had told everyone about that person. He thought that Jesus was that person. But now he was not sure. So he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus about himself.

7 John’s disciples went away again. Then Jesus spoke to the crowd about John. ‘You went out to the desert. You certainly did not go to see the wind blowing against a tall piece of grass. No, you did not go to see that. 8 You certainly did not go to see a man who was wearing expensive soft clothes. No, people like that have many beautiful things and they live in the houses of kings. 9 You went to see a man who receives messages from God’s Holy Spirit. And John was even more important than that. 10 A long time ago, God said this about him:

            “I will send someone before you.

            He will tell you my message.

            He will prepare the road in front of you.” ’ [Malachi 3:1]

We can read about this in the Bible in the book called Malachi. John the Baptist was a very important man. He brought a message from God. He told all the people that Jesus was coming soon. God had promised that he would send a special person to save them.

John was not a weak man, like a piece of grass. He did the job that God had given him. He told everyone that Jesus was coming. He told them how to get ready. But he told King Herod that Herod had done wrong things. So King Herod had put John in prison.

11 Jesus said, ‘John is a very important man. He is greater than any man who has ever lived. But a person who is not great in the Kingdom of Heaven, is more important than John.’

The people who believed John’s message about Jesus now knew God as their king. They are in the Kingdom of God. This means that they are very important to God. They are all even more important than John was.

12 ‘From the time that John the Baptist began to teach until now’, Jesus said, ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is becoming very strong. Strong people who really believe God are taking hold of it. 13 All the prophets and the books of the Law spoke God’s word. They spoke until the time that John the Baptist came. 14 The prophets wrote that Elijah would come back again. They were writing about John, if you can believe it. 15 Everyone who can hear must listen. They must listen to what I say.’

16 Jesus said, ‘I will talk to you about the people who are alive today. They are like children who are sitting in the market place. They shout to each other,

17      “We played happy music on a pipe for you, but you did not dance.

            We sang a sad song but you did not cry.” ’

People often play happy music with a pipe.

18 ‘John the Baptist often stopped eating for some time. He never drank wine. So you said that a bad spirit was living inside him. 19 And I, the Son of Man, both eat and drink. So you say about me, “He eats too much and he drinks too much. He is a friend of men who receive taxes and other bad people.” God is good and he understands everything. People who understand my words know this. And they agree with God.’

John and Jesus were very different. But they both lived as God wanted them to live. The Pharisees thought about themselves as men who understood God’s word. But they would not agree with either John or Jesus.

20 Jesus had done many powerful things for the people to see. But some people in the cities did not believe in him. These people did not want to stop doing wrong things. And they did not want to start obeying God. 21 So Jesus said to them, ‘Things will be bad for you, people in Chorazin. And things will be bad for you, people in Bethsaida. I have done great and powerful things in your cities. I did not do them a long time ago in the towns called Tyre and Sidon. If I had done them, the people there would have listened to me. They would then have put on clothes made out of goat’s hair. They would also have put ash on their heads. This would have shown God that they were sorry. They would have stopped doing wrong things. And they would have started to obey God. 22 Yes, when God judges everyone, he will punish the people from Tyre and Sidon. But he will punish much more the people from Chorazin and Bethsaida. 23 I will tell you what will happen to the people in Capernaum. They try to lift themselves up to heaven. He will throw them down to hell. If I had done these powerful things in Sodom, Sodom would still be standing today. 24 What I say is true. God will punish the people from Sodom. But he will not punish them as much as he will punish the people from Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum.’

One day, God will punish those people who do wrong things. God will punish some people more than he will punish other people. Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum were towns and cities in Israel. God will punish the people from these towns more than he will punish the people from Sodom. The people in Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had heard Jesus speak. But they did not believe him. The people in Sodom had never seen Jesus or heard his message. So God will punish the people who refuse his message more than them.

25 At this moment, Jesus said, ‘Father, you rule over everything in the sky and on the earth! You have taught people who do not know many things. And so I thank you. But you have kept these things a secret from some other people. These people think that they know a lot. And they think that they understand everything. 26 Yes, Father, you chose everything to happen in this way.’

27 ‘My Father has given me all things. And only he knows who I am. Nobody else really knows that I am the Son. Only I know who my Father is. Nobody else knows him. But I choose to tell some people about him.

28 Come to me all of you who are tired. You are like people who have worked for a long time. You are like people who have carried heavy things. Come to me and you will find a place to rest.

29 Do what I teach you to do. Learn from me everything that is true. I am very kind and I obey God. Then you will have true life and you will not be anxious. 30 I will only ask you to do good things. I will not ask you to carry anything that is too heavy for you. And I will not ask you to do things that are too difficult.’

Chapter 12

The Pharisees watch what Jesus does on the Sabbath day

1 On one Sabbath day, Jesus was walking through some fields where wheat was growing. His disciples were hungry. So they began to pick some of the seeds of wheat and to eat them. 2 Some Pharisees were with them. And they saw Jesus’ disciples eating the wheat seeds. ‘Look at what your disciples are doing’, they said to Jesus. ‘It is against God’s Law to do this on the day that we rest.’

3 Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘King David and his friends were hungry once. Remember what they did then. You have read about this. 4 David went into God’s Great House. And he ate the special bread that was there. He also gave some of it to his friends. But it is against the Law for anyone except the priests to eat this bread.’

We can read about this in the book called 1 Samuel, chapter 21.

5 ‘Also, you should know what God’s Law says. The priests are not obeying this Law when they work in God’s Great House on the Sabbath day. But God’s Law does not tell them that they are doing something wrong. 6 What I say is true. There is someone here more important than God’s Great House. 7 A long time ago, a prophet wrote, “God wants people to be kind to each other. He does not only want you to give him gifts” [Hosea 6:6] . You do not understand what this really means. If you had understood this, then you would not have said to me, “Your disciples are doing something wrong.” 8 The Son of Man has authority over the laws about the Sabbath day.’

9 Jesus left that place in the fields. He went into the place where the Jews met to pray. 10 A man was in there who had a small hand. It was very weak, so he could not use it. The Pharisees wanted to say to Jesus that he was doing wrong things. So they asked him, ‘Is it right to make someone well again on the Sabbath?’

11 Jesus replied to them, ‘One of you may have a sheep that falls into a deep hole on the Sabbath day. You will take hold of it and you will lift it out of the deep hole. 12 Now, a man is much more valuable than a sheep. So our Law says that we can do good things on the Sabbath day.’

13 Then Jesus said to the man with the weak hand, ‘Hold out your hand.’ So the man held out his hand. It was now the right size and it was strong. It was the same as his other hand. 14 Then the Pharisees went away from that building where they met. They began to talk to each other about how to kill Jesus.

God chose Jesus to do an important job

15 Jesus knew that the Pharisees wanted to kill him. So he went away from that place. Many people followed him and he caused all the sick people to become well again. 16 He said to all these people, ‘You must not tell anyone about me.’ 17 So what the prophet Isaiah said became true.

18      ‘Here is my servant.

            I have chosen him to work for me.

            I love him and he makes me very happy.

            I will give him my Spirit so that he will be powerful.

            He will tell people everywhere that I will judge them.

19      He will not argue or shout at people.

            People will not hear him shouting in the streets.

20      He will not hurt weak people.

            He will be kind to people who are not strong.

            He will do this until there is justice everywhere.

21      And all people, everywhere, will believe that he can save them.’ [Isaiah 42:1-4]

Jesus talks about Satan

22 After that, some people brought a man to Jesus. The man could not see and he could not speak because of a bad spirit in him. Jesus caused the man to become well again. So then the man could see and speak again. 23 All the people were very surprised about what Jesus did. They asked each other, ‘Can Jesus really be the person that God sent to save us?’

24 The Pharisees also heard about what had happened. ‘This man can cause bad spirits to come out of people’, they said. ‘Beelzebub is the ruler of all the bad spirits. So he is helping Jesus to do this.’

Beelzebub is another name for Satan

25 Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking. So he said to them, ‘Maybe groups of people start fighting other groups of people in the same country. If they do this, then they will destroy their own country. Or perhaps the people in one city or one family start fighting each other. Then they will destroy their own city or family. 26 So, Satan would not fight against himself. If Satan fights against himself, he will soon destroy his own kingdom. 27 Some of you Jews can also send bad spirits out of people. Certainly you do not say that Beelzebub (Satan) helps them. So your own people show you that you are wrong about this. 28 I do send bad spirits out of people. I use the authority of the Spirit of God to do this. If I do this, then God is ruling among you. And certainly you must know that he is.

29 Nobody can go into the house of a strong man easily to rob him. To do this, he must first tie up the strong man. Then he can take away all that man’s valuable things.’

Beelzebub is another name for Satan or the Devil. Satan is like a strong person. But Jesus is like a stronger person. He fights Satan and beats him. Jesus sends bad spirits out of people. And they go away. This shows that he is stronger than Satan. So it was not possible that Satan was working with Jesus.

30 Jesus then said, ‘If someone is not working with me, then he is really working against me. If he is not helping me to bring the sheep together, he is against me. He is causing the sheep to run away in different directions. 31 God will forgive all the wrong things that people do against other people. Some people even say bad things against God. And he will forgive them. Some people say bad things against the Holy Spirit. But God will never forgive them for that. 32 God will forgive people who say bad things about me, the Son of Man. But God will not forgive, now or ever, people who say bad things against the Holy Spirit.’

The Pharisees had said that Satan worked with Jesus. It was dangerous to say that. The Holy Spirit gave his authority and power to Jesus. It was wrong to think that Satan was helping Jesus.

Jesus talks about a tree and its fruit

33 Then Jesus said, ‘To have good fruit you must have a good tree. If you have a bad tree, then you will get bad fruit from it. You can know all about every tree by the fruit that it makes. 34 You are like the children of dangerous snakes. You cannot say good things when your thoughts are bad. When you speak, your words show what is in your mind. 35 The good man says good things because he keeps good thoughts in his mind. The bad man says bad things because he keeps bad thoughts in his mind. 36 What I say is true. One day, God will judge everybody. On that day, you must tell God why you spoke each careless word.

37 God will then say to you, “The words that you spoke are good. I will not punish you.” Or God may say to you, “The words that you spoke are bad. So I must punish you.” ’

The Pharisees want to see Jesus do something powerful

38 Then some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees spoke to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we want to see you do something powerful. This will show us that God sent you.’

39 Jesus replied, ‘The people who are alive today are very bad. They do not obey God, but they want him to show them something powerful. But he will not do this. They will see only the same powerful thing that God did to Jonah. 40 Jonah stayed inside a big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will remain in the ground for three days and three nights. 41 On the day that God judges everyone, the people who lived in Nineveh will be there. They also will speak against you who are alive today. They will say that you are bad people. They stopped doing bad things when Jonah spoke to them. And then they obeyed God. Listen! Now there is someone here who is more important than Jonah.’

We can read about Jonah in the book called ‘Jonah’. God sent Jonah to a city called Nineveh. Jonah said to the people in that city, ‘You must stop doing bad things. You must show God that you are sorry. And you must start to obey him.’

42 Jesus then said, ‘Many years ago, the queen of a country in the south travelled a long way to see King Solomon. She wanted to hear about everything that Solomon knew. So, when God judges all people, that queen will stand in front of him. And she will speak against you who are alive today. She will say that you are bad people. She listened to Solomon. But there is someone here today. And that person understands things much better than Solomon did. And you are not listening to that person.’

We can read this story in the book called 1 Kings 10:1-10. The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon.

43 And Jesus said, ‘When a bad spirit leaves a person, it travels through dry places. It is looking for somewhere new to live. But it does not find anywhere. So, it says to itself, “I will return to the person, to the place where I lived before.” 44 Then it goes back to that person. It finds that the place is clean. Everything inside the place is good, but the place is empty. 45 So the bad spirit goes out and it brings back 7 worse spirits. They all go into the person and they live there. Now the person has more bad spirits than he had before. The same thing will happen to the bad people who are alive today.’

A bad spirit can live in a person. Sometimes the Jewish leaders told a bad spirit to leave a person. It often came out, but later it went back to live inside the person again. Because he did not have the Holy Spirit inside him, there was a place for bad spirits to live.

Jesus’ mother and brothers come to see him

46 While he was still speaking to the crowds, Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. And they stood outside the house. They sent someone inside with a message. ‘Tell Jesus that we want to speak to him’, they said. 47 A crowd was sitting there with Jesus. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are outside the house. They want to speak to you.’

48 Jesus replied, ‘I will tell you who my mother and brothers are.’ 49 Then Jesus pointed to his disciples. ‘Look! Here are my mother and my brothers’, he said. 50 ‘My brothers and sisters and mother are those people who obey God, my Father in heaven’, said Jesus.

People who believe in Jesus become part of the family of God.

Chapter 13

Jesus tells a story about a farmer who planted seeds

1 Again Jesus left the house and he went down to the Lake Galilee. He sat down to teach. The crowd that came together was very large. So, he climbed into a boat and he sat down. The boat was in the water, and the people stood on the shore. 2 Jesus used stories to teach them many things. 3 ‘Listen to me’, said Jesus. ‘A farmer went out to plant seed in his field. 4 While he was throwing the seeds, some fell on the path. The wild birds came and they ate those seeds. 5 Some seeds fell on ground with rocks in it. There was not much soil. The seeds quickly began to grow, because the soil was not deep. 6 But when the sun rose, it burned the young plants. They soon dried up because the soil was not deep enough for them. 7 Some seeds fell among bushes with sharp branches. These weeds grew up with the young plants. The bushes stopped the seeds from growing into strong plants, so the plants did not make any new seeds. 8 Some seeds fell on good soil and good strong plants grew from those seeds. Some plants made 100 new seeds. Some plants made 60 new seeds and some plants made 30 new seeds.’ 9 After Jesus had finished the story, he told the crowd, ‘You have ears. So listen well to what I say!’

Jesus explains to his disciples why he teaches with stories

10 Then Jesus’ disciples came to him. ‘Why do you speak to the crowd with stories?’ they asked.

11 ‘God has helped you to understand what the stories about the Kingdom of Heaven mean. But God has not helped these people to understand about these things. 12 Listen well. God will help the person who wants to understand my words. He will then really understand a lot more. Another person understands very little. God will take away the little that he has. So then he will understand nothing at all. 13 The reason I use stories to talk to other people is this:

            “So these people look. But they do not see.

            So they listen. But they do not hear or understand.” ’ [Isaiah 6:9-10]

Jesus is telling his disciples about how to listen to him. They must listen well to what he says. Then they will understand him. They must believe in the message from God. Then they will understand more and more. Some people think that they know all about God. These people do not listen well to him. So they do not understand what he says. God will take away from them the things that they think that they already know.

14 ‘Isaiah, the prophet, wrote a message from God about this. And now that message has become true.

            “This people will listen and listen. But they will not understand.

            They will look and look. But they will not see anything.

15      The people do not really want to understand.

            They are like people who have shut their ears.

            They are like people who have shut their eyes.

            If they did want to look, then they would see.

            If they did want to listen, then they would hear.

            And then they would understand everything and they would turn back.

            And if they did turn back, then I would make them well.” [Isaiah 6:9-10]

16 You should be happy because God has helped you to see. And he has helped you to hear. 17 What I say is true. Many prophets and good people from a long time ago wanted to see these things. But they did not see the things that you can see. They wanted to hear the things that you are hearing. But they did not hear them.’

Jesus explains the story about the farmer who planted his seeds

18 ‘Listen to me now. I will explain to you what this story about the farmer means. 19 Some seeds fell on the path. The path is like people who do not understand the message. They hear it but they do not understand it. Then the devil comes quickly to them. And he takes away what they have heard. 20 Some of the seeds fell on soil with rocks in it. This soil is like some people who hear the message from God. They are happy to believe it for a while. But it does not go into their lives and thoughts. 21 They believe in God for a while. But they are like plants that do not grow down in the soil. Because they obey God’s words, other people give them problems. So when they meet trouble or difficulty, they stop believing. 22 Some seeds fell among weeds. This soil is like other people who hear the message from God. But they have many anxieties. They think that more money and other valuable things will cause them to be happy. These thoughts stop them obeying God. They are like plants that do not grow new seeds. 23 But some seeds fell on good soil. This soil is like other people who hear the message from God. They understand it and they obey God. These people are like good plants. From one seed, the good plants make 30 seeds. Other good plants make 60 new seeds, and some good plants make 100 new seeds.’

In this story, the seed that falls in different kinds of soil is the message of good news from God. The farmer is like a person who teaches people about that message.

Jesus tells a story about some weeds

24 Then Jesus told the people another story. ‘This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, he said. ‘A farmer planted some good wheat seeds into his field. 25 But one night, when everyone was sleeping, a bad person came to the farmer’s field. He did not like the farmer. This bad person planted seeds from weeds among the good seeds. Then the bad person went away again. 26 The good seeds grew and the plants began to make seeds. But when this happened, the weeds also grew.

27 So the farmer’s servants came to speak to him. “Master, many weeds are now growing in the ground where you planted the wheat seeds. How did this happen?” they asked him.

28 The farmer said to his servants, “A bad person who does not like me has done this.”

“Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?” the servants then asked the farmer.

29 “No”, replied the farmer. “I do not want you to do that. If you pull up the weeds, you will also pull up some of the wheat plants. 30 Let the good plants and the weeds grow up together. After that, it will be time for the workers to cut the plants that have large seeds. They will bring them inside from the fields. I will ask the workers to cut the weeds down first. They can tie them together and burn them. Then they can cut the wheat and bring it into my building. I can store it there.” ’

Jesus tells a story about a small seed

31 Jesus told the people another story. ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, he said. ‘It is like a very small seed. A man took this seed and he planted it in his field. 32 It is the smallest seed in the world. But when it starts to grow, it becomes bigger than the largest bush. It will become a tree. The wild birds will come and they will make places to live among the branches of that tree.’

Jesus tells a story about yeast

33 Jesus told the people another story. ‘I will tell you another story about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, he said. ‘It is like some yeast and flour. A woman took the yeast and she mixed it in three large bowls of flour. The yeast grew and it caused all the bread to rise.’

We put yeast into flour and water to make bread. The yeast grows in the flour and it causes the bread to rise.

34 Jesus told the crowd all these things. But he only used stories to teach them. 35 So what the prophet had said became true:

            ‘I will use stories when I speak to them.

            And I will teach them secret things.

            People have never learned these things before.’ [Psalm 78:2]

36 Then Jesus went away from the place where the crowd was. He went into the house where he was staying. And his disciples also came into the house with him. ‘Explain to us the story about the weeds in the soil’, they said to Jesus.

Jesus explains the story about the weeds

37 Jesus replied to his disciples, ‘The Son of Man is like the farmer who planted the wheat seed in the field. 38 The field is like the world. The good wheat seeds are like the people who belong to the Kingdom. The weeds are like the people who belong to Satan. 39 Satan is the bad person who planted the weed seeds in the field. The moment when the workers cut down all the plants is like the end of time. God’s angels are the workers who cut the plants down.

40 The workers cut the weeds and they burn them in the fire. In the same way, the angels will do this at the end of time. They will do it to the people who belong to Satan. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels. They will take away all the people who are not really part of his Kingdom. They have caused other people not to obey God. And the angels will take away all the people who have not obeyed God. 42 The angels will throw the bad people into the great fire. There the people will cry. And they will bite their teeth together because they are angry. 43 The people who obeyed God will shine like the sun. They will be in the Kingdom of their Father. You have ears, so listen well to what I say.’

Jesus tells a story about a man who found valuable things in the ground

44 ‘I can tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, Jesus said. ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like something valuable that a man buried in a field. Another man found it, but then he covered it over again with dirt. Then that second man was very happy and he went away. He sold everything that he had. Then he went and bought the field with the valuable things in it.’

At that time, people usually hid their valuable things in the ground. The Kingdom of God is very valuable. A person should give everything to have God rule in his life.

Jesus tells a story about some valuable stones

45 ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, Jesus said. ‘A man has a business. He looks for beautiful valuable stones that he can buy. 46 One day he found a very beautiful and very valuable stone that someone wanted to sell. So he went away. And he sold everything that he had. Then he went and he bought that very beautiful and very valuable stone.

47 I can tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, Jesus said. ‘Some men had nets to catch fish in. They threw their nets into the lake and they caught many different kinds of fish. 48 When the net was full of fish, the men pulled it up on to the shore. Then they sat down. Some of the fish were good to eat, and they put these fish into baskets. Some of the fish were not good to eat, and they threw these fish away. 49 This is what will happen at the end of time. God will send his angels. They will put the people who did not obey God in one place. And they will put the people who obey God in another place. 50 The angels will throw the people who did not obey God into the great fire. There the people will cry. They will also bite their teeth together because they are angry.’

This story means the same as the story about the weeds in Matthew 13:37-43.

51 Then Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Have you understood all these things?’

‘Yes, we have’, they replied.

52 ‘Some teachers of the Law have learned about the Kingdom of Heaven’, Jesus said. ‘These men are like the master of a house. The master takes out some old things and also some new things from the place where he stores them.’

53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories, he went away from that place.

Jesus goes to Nazareth

54 Jesus went to the town called Nazareth. He had lived in Nazareth when he was a boy. He taught the people in the building where they met to pray. The people were very surprised about the things that he was teaching them. ‘Where did this man learn all these things?’ they asked each other. ‘How does he know so much? How does he do all these powerful things?’ they said. 55 ‘We know who this man is. He is the son of a man who makes things out of wood. And Mary is his mother. We also know his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. 56 All his sisters also live here in this town among us. So then, where did he learn to do all these things? Who caused him to be so powerful?’ So the people were not happy with Jesus.

57 ‘People do not believe a prophet who comes from their own town’, Jesus said to them. ‘His own people and his own family do not believe that he receives messages from God. Only people in other places believe him.’

58 Jesus did not do many powerful things in Nazareth because the people did not believe in him.

Mary’s husband Joseph was a man who worked with wood or stone to make things. The people knew Jesus and his family. They thought that they knew everything about Jesus. But they did not believe that he was the Messiah. The Messiah is the man whom God sent to save people.

Chapter 14

Herod’s soldiers kill John the Baptist

1 At that time, Herod the ruler heard reports about the things that Jesus was doing.

Herod was the ruler in one of the four parts of Israel at that time.

2 ‘That man Jesus is really John the Baptist’, said Herod to his men. ‘John was dead but he has become alive again. That is the reason that Jesus can do all these powerful things.’

3 Herod himself had said to his soldiers, ‘Take hold of John. Tie his hands and feet and put him in prison.’ Herod had done this because of his wife Herodias. Before Herod married her, she was the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. 4 Because Herod had married her, John had said to him, ‘Herodias was your brother’s wife. So you did not do the right thing when you married her.’

Herodias had left Philip, her husband. Herod married her. So John told him what Moses had written in the Law. The Law said, ‘A man must not marry his brother’s wife while his brother is still alive.’ Herod was not happy with John when he told him that. So, Herod sent his men to put John in prison.

5 Herod wanted to tell his soldiers that they must kill John. But the people thought that John was a prophet. So Herod was afraid to kill him.

6 But when it was Herod’s birthday, he had a special meal. The daughter of Herodias danced in front of him and his visitors. Her dance caused Herod to become very happy. 7 ‘Ask me for anything that you want’, Herod said. ‘And I will give it to you. God is listening to me say this.’ 8 Herodias suggested to her daughter, ‘Ask Herod to give you John’s head.’ So her daughter asked Herod to give her the head of John the Baptist on a plate. 9 Then Herod was sad, but he had spoken a special promise in front of God. So he could not refuse her. And his visitors had heard him. So he sent his men to give Herodias’s daughter what she had asked for. 10 He immediately said to a soldier, ‘Cut off John’s head and bring it here.’ So, the soldier went to the prison and he cut off John’s head. 11 Then he brought it back on a plate and he gave it to the girl. She then gave it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples heard the news that John was dead. So, they went to the prison and they took away his body. And then they buried it. After that, they went to see Jesus. And they told him what had happened.

Jesus gives food to 5000 men and their families

13 Jesus heard about what had happened to John. After that, he went away from that place. He sailed in a boat to a quiet place where he could be alone. But the crowd heard where Jesus had gone. So they left their towns and they followed Jesus. They walked to the place where he was. 14 Jesus climbed out of the boat to the shore. He saw a large crowd there. He loved them and he felt sorry for them. He saw that there were sick people in the crowd. So he made them well again.

15 When it was almost evening, Jesus’ disciples came to speak to him. They said to him, ‘We are in a place where there are no houses. And it will soon be dark. So send the crowd away now, so that they can go to the villages near here. There they can buy some food for themselves to eat.’

16 ‘The people do not need to go away. You give them some food to eat’, Jesus replied.

17 ‘But we only have 5 small loaves of bread and two fish’, they said.

18 ‘Bring the bread and fish here to me’, Jesus said. 19 Then Jesus said to the large crowd, ‘Sit down on the grass.’ Jesus received the 5 loaves of bread and two fish from his disciples. He looked up to the sky and he thanked God for the bread and the fish. Then he broke the bread into pieces. And he gave it to his disciples to give to the crowd. 20 Then everybody ate, and they all had enough. Then the disciples picked up all the food that the people had not eaten. And they filled 12 baskets with broken pieces of bread and fish. 21 About 5000 men ate the bread and fish. The women and children also ate it with them.

This event is very important. Only God could make 5 loaves of bread and two fish become enough to feed 5000 men and their families. This showed them that God had caused Jesus to be very powerful.

Jesus walks on the water

22 Immediately after this, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Get in the boat and sail across the lake. Go on in front of me while I send the crowd away.’ 23 Then he sent the crowd away. After they had gone, he went up on a mountain alone to pray. And he was still there alone when it became dark. 24 Now, the boat was in the middle of the lake. The wind was blowing against the boat and the water was hitting it.

25 Then, when it was very early in the morning, Jesus walked across the water towards his disciples. 26 And the disciples saw him walking on top of the water. They were very frightened. ‘It is a spirit’, they said. And they shouted with loud voices because they were afraid.

27 But immediately, Jesus spoke to them. ‘Be brave! Do not be afraid! It is I, Jesus’, he said to them.

28 Peter replied, ‘Sir’, he said, ‘are you really Jesus? Then say to me, “Come here! Walk on top of the water.” ’

29 ‘Come to me’, said Jesus.

So Peter climbed out of the boat. He walked on top of the water and he came towards Jesus. 30 But then Peter saw that the wind was still blowing against him. He became afraid and he began to go down into the water. He shouted to Jesus, ‘Master, save me!’

31 Immediately, Jesus put out his hand and he took hold of Peter. ‘Why do you not really believe in me to help you?’ he said to Peter. ‘Why did you not believe that I could cause you to walk on the water?’

32 When Jesus and Peter climbed into the boat, the strong wind stopped blowing. 33 The disciples who were in the boat went down on their knees in front of Jesus. ‘It is true. You are the person that God calls his son’, they said.

34 When they had sailed across the lake to the shore, they climbed out of the boat. They were in the part of the country called Gennesaret.

Gennesaret was a part of the country on the west side of Lake Galilee.

35 The people who lived in that part of the country recognised Jesus. So they sent people to tell everyone in that part of the country that Jesus was there. They brought all their sick people to see him. 36 They asked Jesus to let them touch the edge of his clothes. And Jesus caused every sick person who touched his clothes to become well again.

Chapter 15

Jesus tells the Pharisees and teachers of the Law to obey God

1 After that, a group of Pharisees and teachers of the Law came from Jerusalem to talk to Jesus. 2 These men spoke to Jesus. ‘Our ancestors taught us the right way to do everything. Why do your disciples not obey the things that our ancestors taught us? They do not wash their hands in the right way before they eat a meal.’

3 ‘Yes, God tells us the right way to obey him’, Jesus replied. ‘But you do not obey God. Instead, you do the things that you have taught the people to do. 4 Moses wrote in his law, “God says that you must love your father and mother. Do good things for them and only say good things about them.” [Exodus 20:12] God also said, “Someone should kill a person who says bad things about his own father or mother.” [Exodus 21:17] 5 But instead of obeying this, you teach people something different. You let a person say to his father or mother, “I would have given these good gifts to you, but I cannot. Instead, I have given them to God.” Then, you let him give nothing to his mother and father. 6 When you let a person do this, you have not obeyed God’s Law. You have obeyed the laws of your ancestors instead. You do many other things like this. 7 You are hypocrites! What Isaiah said about you is true. He wrote down these words from God:

8        “These people say good things about me,

            but they do not really want to obey me.

9        They say that I am powerful and important.

            But what they say has no purpose.

            They teach their own rules, which I did not give to them.” [Isaiah 29:13]

Jesus talks about the wrong things that people do

10 Jesus asked all the people to come together near him. ‘Listen to me’, he said, ‘so that you can understand my words. 11 God will not say to a person, “I will not accept you because you ate a certain food.” It is not the food that a person eats. Food does not cause God to say, “I cannot accept you.” Instead, what comes out of his mouth is important. This can cause God to say, “I will not accept you.” ’

12 Jesus’ disciples went near to him and they said, ‘The Pharisees heard what you said to them. They are not happy with what you said. Do you know that?’

13 Jesus replied to his disciples, ‘Those Pharisees are like plants that God, my Father in heaven, did not put in the soil. He will pull all these plants out of the soil. 14 Do not be anxious about them. They cannot see, but they are telling people which way to go. A man who cannot see does not show another man like himself where to go. If he does this, then both men will fall into a deep hole in the road.’

15 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Explain to us what you just said.’

16 ‘You still cannot understand what I am saying. You are like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law’, replied Jesus. 17 ‘The food that a person eats first goes into his mouth. Then it goes into his stomach, and then it goes out of his body. 18 The words that a person speaks come from their thoughts. So what a person says can cause God to say to him, “I will not accept you.” 19 A person can think bad thoughts. These thoughts may cause him to kill somebody. Or they may cause him to have sex with another man’s wife. He might rob somebody. He might say things that are not true about someone. Or he might say bad things about somebody.’

God says that these things are wrong. If a person does them, then God cannot accept him. When he asks God to make his thoughts and life clean, then, because of Jesus, God will accept him.

20 ‘All these bad things cause God to say to a person, “I cannot accept you.” But perhaps a man does not wash his hands before he eats. This does not cause God to say, “I will not accept you.” ’

Jesus makes a girl well again

21 After that, Jesus left Gennesaret and he went to some places near to the cities called Tyre and Sidon.

22 A woman was living in this part of the country. She was one of the people from the group called the Canaanites. She went to see Jesus and she continued to shout with a loud voice to him. ‘Son of David, help me, sir. A bad spirit is living inside my daughter. It is making her very ill.’

23 Jesus did not reply to the woman. So his disciples came to him. ‘Please, please send this woman away’, they said. ‘She is following us and she is making a lot of noise.’

24 Jesus replied to his disciples, ‘God sent me only to the people of Israel, because they are like lost sheep.’

The people of Israel were like lost sheep because they no longer obeyed God. God had sent Jesus to tell them the good news about him ruling his people.

25 The woman came to Jesus and she went down on her knees in front of him. ‘Sir, please help me’, she said.

26 Jesus did answer the woman this time. ‘It is not right to take bread from the children and then to throw it to the dogs.’

27 The woman replied to Jesus. ‘Yes sir, that is true. But even the dogs eat the small pieces of bread that fall from their master’s table.’

28 ‘You are a woman who believes very well in me’, said Jesus. ‘So God will do what you asked.’ And immediately, the woman’s daughter became well again.

29 Jesus travelled on from that place and he walked along the shore of Lake Galilee. He climbed up a hill and he sat down there. 30 A large crowd came to him and they brought sick people with them. Some of these sick people could not walk very well, and some of them could not see. Some of the sick people had arms or legs that hurt. And some of them could not speak. There were also many other sick people who had different illnesses. Their friends put the sick people in front of Jesus. And Jesus caused them all to become well again. 31 The large crowd were very surprised about what they saw. People who could not speak could now speak again. Those people who could not walk very well could now walk well. The people who could not see could now see. They were all saying to God, ‘God of Israel, you are powerful. You are great. You are very important. We thank you because you are so kind.’

Jesus feeds 4000 men and their families

32 Then Jesus spoke to his disciples, ‘Come near to me. I feel sorry for this crowd’, he said. ‘They have stayed with me now for three days and they have no more food. I do not want to send them away while they are hungry. They may fall down on the way because they are weak and hungry.’

33 The disciples said to Jesus, ‘We are in a place that is a long way from any town. Where can we find enough bread here to feed so many people?’

34 ‘How many loaves of bread do you have?’ asked Jesus.

‘We have 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish’, they replied.

35 Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Sit down on the ground.’ 36 Then he held the 7 loaves and the fish in his hands and he thanked God for them. Then he broke the bread and the fish into pieces and he gave the food to his disciples. ‘Give this food to the people’, he said. 37 All the people ate and they all had enough. After the people had finished eating, there remained a lot of extra food. Jesus’ disciples filled 7 baskets with the extra pieces of bread and fish. 38 4000 men ate the bread and fish. This number did not include the women and children who also ate. 39 Then Jesus spoke to the large crowd again. ‘Now you should all go home’, he said. After that, Jesus got into the boat. And they sailed away to the part of the country called Magadan.

Magadan is also called Magdala. This was the home of Mary from Magdala.

Chapter 16

The Pharisees ask again to see something powerful

1 Some Pharisees and Sadducees went to see Jesus. They wanted to make Jesus do something wrong. ‘Do something powerful for us to see’, they asked him. ‘Then we will know that God sent you.’

2 Jesus answered them. ‘Sometimes the sky is red in the evening. Then you say that tomorrow the weather will be good. 3 Sometimes the sky is red in the morning and the sky has dark clouds in it. Then you say that today there will be a storm. You can look at the sky. And then you know what weather is coming. But special things are happening now. And you do not understand what they mean. 4 The people who are alive today are very bad. They do not obey God. They want God to show them something powerful. No! God will not show you anything. You will only see the same powerful thing that God did to Jonah.’ So Jesus went away and left them.

Jesus talks about the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees

5 Then Jesus and his disciples went over to the other side of the lake. His disciples forgot to take any bread with them. 6 ‘Be careful’, Jesus said to them. ‘You must be careful and watch for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

7 The disciples began to talk to each other about this. ‘Jesus is saying this because we did not bring any bread with us’, they said.

8 Jesus knew what they were talking about. So he said to them, ‘You should not be talking about the fact that you did not bring any bread with you. You still do not believe very much in me. 9 You still do not understand. You should remember when I used 5 loaves of bread to give food to 5000 men and their families. You should remember how many baskets of bread you filled after the meal. 10 You should remember when I used 7 loaves of bread to give food to 4000 men and their families. You should remember how many baskets of bread you filled after the meal. 11 I spoke about the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. I said that you must be careful about it. You should have understood that this time I was not really speaking about bread.’ 12 Then the disciples understood what Jesus was talking about. They did not need to be careful about the yeast that they used in their bread. They must be careful about what the Pharisees and Sadducees taught.

People put yeast into flour and water to make bread. The yeast grows in the bread and it makes the bread rise. The Pharisees were doing wrong things. The people saw what the Pharisees did. And then the people did the same bad things. This is like yeast that is growing through the bread.

Peter says who Jesus is

13 Jesus went into the part of the country called Caesarea Philippi. While he was there, he asked his disciples a question. ‘Tell me’, he said. ‘When people talk about the Son of Man, what do they say?’

14 ‘Some people say that you are John the Baptist’, they replied. ‘Other people say that you are Elijah. And some other people say that you are Jeremiah, or another prophet.’

15 ‘What do you think’, he asked them. ‘Who am I?’

16 Simon Peter answered him. ‘You are the Christ. God sent you. You are the Son of the God who is alive.’

17 Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, God has given help to you. No person on earth taught you that. God, my Father, who rules in heaven, taught you this. 18 What I say is true. You are called Peter, which means a rock. And I will build my Church on this rock. Not even the power of death can beat and destroy my Church. 19 I will give you the keys to the Kingdom where God rules in heaven. Perhaps you will say, “No, you cannot do that” to something that people want on earth. Then God will say “No” to it where he rules in heaven. Maybe you will say, “Yes, you can do that” to something that people want on earth. Then God will say “Yes” to it where he rules in heaven.’

Jesus used a house that someone builds on a rock as a picture. The house is like the Church. The things that Peter would teach are like the stones under the house. The name ‘Peter’ means ‘a rock’. One day soon, Jesus would go back to live in heaven again. Then Peter would be a leader of the disciples to teach the people the true things about God. The people who obeyed Jesus’ words would be called the Church.

The people were waiting for God to send someone special to them. They called this person the Christ. Jesus knew that the people had wrong ideas about this person. They thought that he would save them from the Roman government. They thought that he would be a great soldier. So, Jesus wanted to teach the people what the Christ would really do. Then they would understand about the way in which God rules his people. They would also understand that Jesus is the Christ.

20 Jesus spoke with authority to his disciples. ‘Do not tell anyone that I am the Christ.’

Jesus tells his disciples how he would die

21 After this, Jesus began to explain everything to his disciples. ‘I must go to Jerusalem’, he told them. ‘There, people will cause me to have great pain. The leaders of the Jews, the important priests, and the teachers of the Law will hurt me. And then people will kill me. But three days later, God will cause me to be alive again.’

Jesus told his disciples what would happen to him. This is the first time that he told them. But they did not understand his words.

22 Then Peter led Jesus away from the other disciples. Peter did not agree with what Jesus had said. He spoke with strong words to Jesus. ‘No, Sir’, he said. ‘You must not say these things. I pray that God will never let this happen!’

23 Jesus turned towards Peter and said to him, ‘Go away from me, Satan. I must obey God. But you are trying to stop me. Your thoughts do not come from God. Instead, you are thinking as men think.’

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Someone may want to come with me’, he said. ‘Then he must leave what he himself wants to do. He must carry a cross and he must be ready to die with me. 25 If a person wants to keep his life safe, he will lose it. But instead, he may die because he believes in me. And then he will have true life, which has no end. 26 A person could get the whole world for himself. This would not be good for him if he died as a result. There is nothing that a person can give to get back his life. 27 I tell you all this because I, the Son of Man, will come back here with God’s angels. When I come, I will be powerful and important like God my Father. I will pay each person for what he has done on earth. 28 What I am saying now is true. I will tell you something about the people who are standing here. Some of them will not die until they see the Son of Man’s kingdom begin.’

Chapter 17

God causes Jesus to become different to look at

1 Six days later, Jesus took Peter and the brothers James and John with him. He led them up a high mountain where they were alone together. 2 Peter, James and John watched Jesus and they saw him become different to look at. His face was bright and it shone like the sun. His clothes became very white and they shone. 3 Then Peter, James and John saw two men appear in front of them. These two men were Moses and Elijah and they were talking with Jesus.

Moses had lived a long time ago. He was a leader of God’s people. He brought them out of the country called Egypt. He died about 1400 years before Jesus was born. We can read about Moses in the book called Exodus.

Elijah was a prophet of God. He lived about 850 years before Jesus was born. He did not die. God took him up alive to heaven. We can read about him in 1 Kings.

4 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, it is a good thing that we are here. Let us build three huts. One hut will be for you. One hut will be for Moses and one hut will be for Elijah.’

Peter and his friends wanted to build the huts so that these three important people could stay with them longer. Many years before, Moses had given the people God’s Law. Elijah was an important prophet of God. And Jesus was God’s son. But God had not asked the disciples to build any huts. Moses and Elijah came from a time that would soon finish. Jesus was showing people something new. This was the Kingdom of God.

5 While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud appeared. And it covered them all. They heard a voice, which came out from the cloud. ‘This is my Son’, it said. ‘I love him and he makes me very happy. Listen to him.’

6 When the disciples heard the person speaking, they threw themselves down. And their faces touched the ground. They were very frightened. 7 But Jesus came to them and he touched them. ‘Stand up again’, he said. ‘Do not be afraid.’ 8 When they looked up, they could not see anyone else. Only Jesus was there.

9 While they were walking down the mountain again, Jesus spoke to Peter, James and John. ‘You must not tell anyone about what you have just seen’, he said. ‘One day, the Son of Man will die and then become alive again. Then you can tell people about these things.’

10 Then the three disciples asked Jesus a question. ‘The teachers of the Law say, “Elijah will return to earth first before anything else happens.” Why do they say this?’

11 ‘Yes, Elijah does come first’, said Jesus. ‘He causes everything to be ready. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come. People did not recognise him. They did all the bad things to him that they wanted to do. In the same way, they will also hurt me, the Son of Man.’ 13 Then the disciples understood that he was really talking about John the Baptist.

Jesus makes a boy well

14 Then Jesus, Peter, James and John returned to the place where the crowd was waiting for them. A man came to see Jesus. He went down on his knees in front of him. 15 ‘Teacher’, he said. ‘please be kind to my son. His mind is sick. Sometimes he does not know what he is doing. Often he falls into the fire, or he falls into water. 16 I brought the boy to your disciples. But they could not make him well.’

17 ‘You people today still do not believe in me’, Jesus said. ‘You have turned away from God. I have lived here among you for a long time. I cannot remain with you much longer. Now it is difficult for me to be patient with you.’ Jesus then said to the man, ‘Bring your son here to me.’ 18 Jesus said to the bad spirit, ‘Stop!’ Then the bad spirit left the boy and immediately he became well.

19 When the disciples were alone with Jesus, they asked him, ‘Why could we not cause the bad spirit to leave the boy?’

20 ‘You could not do it because you do not believe well in me’, Jesus replied. ‘What I say is true. If you believe in God even a little bit, then you can do great things. You can say to this mountain, “Move from this place to that other place.” And it will move. You can do anything. 21 But you must pray and not eat for a time. That will cause this kind of spirit to leave a person’, said Jesus.

Some people think that Matthew did not write verse 21. They think that someone else wrote it later.

The 12 disciples had forgotten that God caused them to be powerful. They must always ask God to help them before they can help someone else.

22 When Jesus and his disciples all met together in Galilee, he said, ‘Soon people will put the Son of Man into the hands of powerful men. 23 These men will kill him. But he will be alive again three days later.’ The disciples were very sad.

24 After that, Jesus and his disciples arrived at Capernaum. Some men who received taxes went to talk to Peter. They asked him, ‘Does your teacher pay the tax for God’s Great House?’

These men took a small gold coin as tax from everybody in the town. The priests used the money from this tax to keep God’s Great House in good repair. The small gold coin was about two days’ pay for a worker.

25 ‘Yes’, said Peter to them. ‘My teacher does pay the tax.’

Then Peter returned to the house where Jesus was staying. He wanted to tell Jesus what had just happened. But Jesus spoke first. ‘Here is a question for you to answer, Simon’, he said. ‘Who are the people who must pay taxes and money to the rulers of the world? Do the rulers take taxes from their own sons? Or do they take taxes from other people?’

26 ‘The kings take the taxes from other people’, Simon replied.

Jesus said to him, ‘This means that people from the ruler’s own country do not need to pay anything. 27 But we do not want to make these men who take the tax angry. So go to the lake and throw out a line to fish with. And pull up the first fish that you catch on your line. Open the mouth of the fish and you will find a gold coin inside it. Take the coin and give it to those who receive tax. This will be enough money for both my tax and yours.’

Jesus is telling Peter that he and the other disciples belong to God’s family. So they did not need to pay tax for God’s Great House.

Chapter 18

Jesus says who is the most important person

1 Soon after this, the disciples came to Jesus and they asked him, ‘Who is the most important person in the Kingdom of Heaven?’

2 There was a little child there. Jesus said to the child, ‘Come here. Stand in front of everybody.’ 3 ‘What I say is true’, Jesus said. ‘Unless you become like a child, you cannot come into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 This little child does not think that he is very important. You must also think as he does. A person who does this will be the most important person in the Kingdom of Heaven.

5 Any person who accepts a child because of me also accepts me.’

Jesus talks about causing people to do wrong things

6 ‘Maybe someone will cause a little person to stop believing in me’, said Jesus. ‘It would be better for this person if other people hung a big stone round his neck. Then they could throw that bad person into the deep sea together with the stone.

7 It is very bad that some things in the world cause people to do wrong things. You can be sure that bad things will come. But God will punish the person who makes these bad things happen.’

The little person might be someone who does not believe well in God. Or he may be a child. It would be better to die than to cause someone to stop obeying God.

8 ‘Maybe your hand or your foot causes you to do wrong things. Then you should cut it off. And you should throw it away. It is better to have only one hand or one foot and to have God’s true life. It is much worse to keep both hands and both feet and do wrong things. Then God will throw you into hell. 9 If your eye causes you to do wrong things, then you should take it out. You should throw it away. It is better to have only one of your eyes and have God’s true life. It is much worse if God throws you with your two eyes into hell. There the fire does not ever stop burning.

10 Be careful that you do not think that these little people are not important. What I say is true. The angels who watch over them always remain with my Father in his home. And those angels speak to him.’

God’s word teaches us that there are angels. And these angels are servants of God, who watch over his people.

[11 The Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.]

Verse 11 is in old Bibles. Many bible students think that someone put it into Matthew’s book later.

12 ‘Think about a man who has 100 sheep. He counts them. And he discovers that one of his sheep is not there. So he leaves all the other sheep on the hills. Then he goes to look for the lost sheep. 13 What I say is true. The man will be very happy if he finds that lost sheep. All the other sheep are safe on the hill. But they do not make him as happy as this sheep does. They were never lost. 14 God, who is my Father in heaven, is like this man. He does not want even one of these little people to be lost.’

Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. They did not think that they had done any wrong things. They thought that they already obeyed God.

In this story, God is like the man who takes care of the sheep. The lost sheep is like a person who is not obeying God. God cares that he is lost. He wants to bring him back to himself.

A friend does wrong things against you

15 ‘If your brother has done wrong things against you, then you must go to him. You can talk about it together when you are alone with him. Then he may understand that you are right. If he does understand, then you can call him your friend again.’

Here the word brother means someone who obeys God. He may or may not be your mother’s son.

16 ‘Maybe he does not want to listen to you. Then take one or two other people with you to him. These one or two people then know what wrong things your brother has done. They will know what you said to him. They will know that it is true. God’s word said that we should do this. 17 If your brother will not listen to the two or three of you, go to the Church. Tell other people what has happened. Let those who obey me speak to your brother. If he is not sorry, stop being his friend. He is like somebody who refuses to obey God.’

The word Church means a group of Christians. They meet together because they are obeying Jesus. It does not mean the building where they meet.

This does not mean that we should only be friends with other Christians. We can be friends with other people too. But perhaps a person says that he follows Jesus. But he does not obey Jesus. Then we should not go with that person.

18 ‘What I say is true. Maybe you will say, “No, you cannot do that” to something that people on earth want to do. God will say “No” to it where he rules in heaven. Maybe you will say, “Yes, you can do that” to something that people want on earth. God will then say “Yes” to it where he rules in heaven.

19 Two people may agree together to ask God for the same thing. Then my Father above will give them what they ask for.

20 Two or more people come together to speak to me because they believe in me. I am there with them.’

People must ask God for the right things. They must be things that God wants to give to them.

Jesus tells the people about the servant who did not forgive

21 Then Peter came to talk to Jesus. ‘Teacher’, he asked. ‘If my brother does wrong things against me many times, how many times must I forgive him? Must I forgive him as many as 7 times for the wrong things that he has done against me?’

22 ‘I do not say 7 times’, Jesus replied. ‘I say, 7 times, and then again and again until you cannot count.’

Jesus is saying that we must continue to forgive people.

23 ‘I will tell you what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. A king wanted to check how much money his servants should give to him. 24 So the king began to check. Then his men led a servant to him who had a big debt. He must pay back 10 000 gold coins to the king.’

This was a very large amount of money. No man could ever pay all this money to the king.

25 ‘The servant could not pay his debt to the king. So the king said to his men, “Sell the servant and his wife and children and all his things. Then I will keep the money to pay his debt.”

26 Then the servant went down on his knees in front of the king. He said to him, “Please, please give me some more time, then I will pay you everything.” 27 Then the king felt sorry for his servant and said to him, “You do not need to give me the money. You are free of the debt.”

28 But then that same servant went away and he met another servant of the king. This other servant had to pay back a debt of 100 cheap coins to the first servant. The first servant took hold of the neck of the other servant. “Give me the money that is mine”, he said.

29 The other servant went down on his knees in front of the first servant. “Please, please give me some more time”, he said to the first servant. “Then I will give you the money.”

30 But the first servant said, “I refuse to do that!” And he put the other servant in prison until he could pay his debt to him. 31 The other servants of the king saw what had happened. They were not happy about it. So they went to see the king. And they told him about everything that had happened.

32 So the king then sent a message to bring the first servant to him. “You are a very bad person”, said the king to the servant. “I told you that you did not need to give me my money. I did this because you asked me. 33 You should be kind to the other servant in the same way that I was kind to you.” 34 The king was very angry with the first servant. His men put the first servant in prison and they punished him. He would remain there until he could pay all his debt to the king.’

35 Then Jesus finished the story and he said, ‘You must forgive your friend completely. If you do not forgive him completely, then, in the same way, my Father above will not forgive you.’

Chapter 19

Jesus teaches about when a man sends his own wife away

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he went away from Galilee. He went to the part of Judea that is on the other side of the river Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed Jesus there. Jesus caused the sick people in the crowds to become well again.

3 Some Pharisees came to talk to Jesus. They tried to cause Jesus to give the wrong answers to their questions. They asked, ‘Can a man send his own wife away and say to her, “You are no longer my wife.” Does the Jewish Law let him do this for any reason he chooses?’

4 ‘You surely have read about this in God’s book’, Jesus replied. ‘At the start of the world, God made men and he also made women.’

Jesus is telling them about things that are in the book called Genesis. We can read about them in Genesis 2:24.

5 ‘Because of this, a man leaves his father and his mother. God joins him and his wife together. The man and the woman become like one person. 6 They are not two separate people any longer. They are like one person. God has joined them together to be husband and wife. So nobody must separate them.’

7 Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Moses said that a man could give his own wife a paper. The paper shows that the man and woman are now separate. Then the man can send the woman away. Why did Moses say this?’

8 Jesus answered them. ‘Moses said this because you people did not want to obey God. All these things were different at the start, when he made the world. 9 What I say is true. A man must not send his wife away unless she has had sex with another man. A man can only marry another woman if that has happened. If not, then he does a wrong thing if he marries another woman.’

10 Jesus’ disciples replied, ‘This is what it is like for a man and a woman to marry. Maybe it is better if a man does not marry.’

11 Jesus then answered, ‘Not everyone can agree with this idea. God has not given it to everyone. 12 What I say is true. There are several different reasons why a man cannot marry. Some men cannot have sex. They were born like that. Some other men also cannot have sex. This is because men did something to them. And now they cannot have sex. Some men do not marry because they can work better for God without a wife. Anyone who can understand this can agree with it.’

Jesus wants children to come to him

13 Then some people brought their children to Jesus. They wanted him to put his hands on their children’s heads. They wanted him to pray for their children. But the disciples did not like this. They said to them, ‘Take your children away from here.’

14 But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop the children. Let them come to me. People who are like these children can come into the Kingdom of Heaven.’ 15 So Jesus put his hands on each of the children’s heads and he prayed for them. Then, after that, he went away from that place.

Jesus meets a rich man

16 One day a man came to see Jesus. ‘Teacher’, he asked. ‘What good thing must I do so that I can live for always?’

17 Jesus replied, ‘You should not ask me about a good thing! Only God is good. If you want to live for always, then you must obey all God’s laws.’

18 The man asked Jesus, ‘Which laws must I obey?’

So Jesus replied, ‘Do not kill anyone. Do not have sex with anyone who is not your wife. Do not rob anyone. Always say true things about people. 19 Love your father and your mother and only say good things about them. Love other people as much as you love yourself.’

20 ‘I have always obeyed these laws’, the young man replied. ‘What else must I do?’

21 ‘If you want to be completely good’, Jesus said to him, ‘then you must do this. You must sell everything that you have. Give the money to poor people and then you will have valuable things in heaven. Come back when you have done that. And then follow me.’

22 When the young man heard this, he was not happy. Then he went away. He was feeling sad because he was a very rich man.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘What I say is true. It is very difficult for a rich man to come into the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 Yes, it is difficult for a big animal to go through the hole in a needle. But it is much more difficult than that for a rich man to come into the Kingdom of Heaven.’

25 When the disciples heard this, they were even more surprised. ‘Who then can God save?’ they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them and he replied, ‘Men cannot save themselves. But God can do it. God can do everything.’

27 ‘Listen!’ Peter said to Jesus. ‘We have left everything that we had. And now we are your disciples. What will we receive because we have done this?’

28 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘What I say is true. The Son of Man will rule in the new world that will start one day. You who are my disciples will also rule. You will judge the 12 families of Israel. 29 Some people may leave their house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields. They leave them to go and tell other people the good news about me. Those people will receive 100 times more than they already have in this world. That is, they will receive many homes, many brothers and sisters, many mothers and children and fields. People will also hurt them because they are obeying God. But after they die, they will live with God for always. 30 But many people who are very important now will become the least important. Many who are now the least important people will become very important.’

Chapter 20

Jesus tells a story about some workers in a field

1 ‘I will tell you what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. The master of the house went out early in the morning. He wanted to find some people who would work in his field. He would pay these workers. 2 The master agreed with the workers that he would pay them one small silver coin a day. And he sent them to work in the field.’

A person usually received one small silver coin when he worked for one day.

3 ‘The master went out again about three hours later. He saw some other men standing in the market place. They had nothing to do. 4 So the master said to these men, “You also go and work in my field. I will pay you the right amount of money.” 5 So the workers went to the master’s field.

The master went out again at noon, and again he went out three hours after that. Both times he sent men to his field to work. 6 Two hours later, he went out again. And he still found men who were standing there. And they were doing nothing. The master asked them, “Why are you standing here all day and you are doing nothing?”

7 The men said to the master, “Nobody has asked us to work for him.”

So the master said to them, “You also go and work in my field.”

8 Then the evening came. And the master of the field went to see the man who watched the workers. “Tell the workers that they must come here”, the master said to him. “And pay them their money. Begin with the workers who came last. Finish with the workers who came first.”

9 The workers who had come last to work received one small silver coin each. 10 The workers who had come first to work also received a small silver coin. They thought that they would receive more than the other workers. 11 But when they received their money, they were not happy. And they told the master that they were not happy. 12 They said to him, “Some of these other workers came last and only worked for one hour. But you have paid them the same as you paid us. And we have worked all day in the hot sun.”

13 Then the master said to one of the workers, “My friend, I am being fair to you. You did agree to work for one day and to receive one small silver coin. 14 Take your money and go home. I choose to give this last man the same amount of money as I gave to you. 15 It is my money. I can choose what to do with it. I want to be kind and give plenty of money to everyone. You should be happy about this.” ’

16 Jesus said, ‘So, one day, those people who are the least important will be the most important. And those who are most important now will be least important.’

Jesus talks again about how he will die

17 Jesus was going to Jerusalem. They walked along. Then he led his 12 disciples to a quiet place where he could speak to them alone. 18 ‘Listen!’ he said. ‘When we arrive in Jerusalem, someone will help people to take hold of me, the Son of Man. These people will take me to the leaders of the priests and the teachers of the Law. These important Jews will say that I must die. 19 Then these important Jews will take me. And they will give me to those who are not Jews. They will laugh at me and hit me with a whip. Then they will kill me on a cross. After three days, I will come back to life.’

At this time, the ruler’s soldiers would kill bad people on a cross. Soldiers fixed them to a big cross, made out of wood. They remained on the cross until they died.

The wife of Zebedee asks Jesus for something

20 Then Zebedee’s wife came to see Jesus. She brought her two sons, James and John, with her. She went down on her knees in front of Jesus. She wanted to ask him to do something good for her.

21 ‘What do you want?’ Jesus asked her.

‘One day, you will be king and you will rule your kingdom’, she said. ‘Then I want one of my two sons to sit at your right side. I want the other son to sit at your left side. Please will you do this?’

22 Jesus replied to James and John. ‘You do not understand what you are asking me to do’, he said to them. ‘Can you have pain and trouble in the same way that I will have pain and trouble?’

‘Yes, we can do this’, said James and John.

23 Jesus said to them, ‘Yes, that is true. You will have pain and trouble in the same way that I will have pain and trouble. But I cannot promise that you will sit at my right side or at my left side. God has chosen who will sit there. He has prepared the places for them.’

24 When the other 10 disciples heard about this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus asked the 12 men to come near him. ‘You know how the rulers of other countries rule’, Jesus said. ‘They have great power over the people. Their leaders have great authority over them. 26 I do not want you to be like that. The person who wants to be most important person among you must be a servant to the other disciples. 27 The person who wants to be the most important person must be like the least important servant to everyone. 28 The Son of Man himself came to earth to be a servant to other people. He did not come here to have servants who would work for him. He came to die so that many people can be free.’

Jesus causes two men to see again

29 When Jesus and his disciples left Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30 Now, two men were sitting at the side of the road. These men could not see. But they heard that Jesus was walking along near them. So they shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, please be kind to us.’

31 The people who were in the crowd were angry with them. And they tried to stop the men shouting. ‘Be quiet!’ they said. But the men shouted even louder, ‘Son of David, please be kind to us.’

32 Jesus stopped walking and he spoke to the two men. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.

33 ‘Sir’, the men replied, ‘we want to see again.’

34 Then Jesus felt sorry for the two men. He touched their eyes and immediately the men could see again. So they followed him along the road.

‘Son of David’ is another name for the special person, the Christ, that God would send to save his people. It is another name for Jesus.

Chapter 21

Jesus goes into Jerusalem

1 Jesus and his 12 disciples were coming near to Jerusalem. They came first to the village called Bethphage. They were on the hill called the Hill of Olives.

Bethphage is a village on the east side of the hill called the Hill of Olives. The Hill of Olives is on the east side of Jerusalem. It is called this because many olive trees grow on it. An olive is a fruit.

2 ‘Go into the village that is in front of you’, Jesus said to two of his disciples. ‘As you go into the village, you will find a donkey tied there with her young donkey. Undo the ropes and bring them both here to me.’

A donkey is like a small horse.

3 ‘Someone may ask you, “Why are you taking the donkeys?” Say to him, “The Master needs them. He will send them back to you soon.” ’

4 This happened to cause the words that the prophet had spoken to become true,

5        ‘Say to the people in Jerusalem,

            “Look, your king is coming.

            He does not come like someone who thinks that he is important.

            And he is riding on a donkey.

            He is riding on the foal of a donkey.” ’ [Zechariah 9:9]

A foal is a young donkey.

6 So the two disciples went to the village. They did everything that Jesus had asked them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and the young donkey to Jesus. They put their coats on the donkeys. And then Jesus climbed up and he sat on one of them. 8 Many people in the crowd put their coats down on the road. Other people cut down some branches from the trees. And they put these branches down on the road.

The people did this so that the donkeys could walk on the coats and on the branches. People often did this when they received someone important.

9 Many people went in front of Jesus and many people followed him. All the people shouted,

             ‘Welcome! We pray that God will be good to you, the Son of David!

            Happy is the king who comes with God’s authority.

            Let us say how good is our God in heaven.’

10 When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, everybody in the city was very happy. They were asking each other, ‘Who is this man?’

11 The people in the crowd replied, ‘This is Jesus. He comes from Nazareth in Galilee. He is the prophet that God promised to send.’

Jesus visits God’s Great House

12 Jesus went to the place outside God’s Great House. People were buying and selling things there. Jesus caused them all to leave. He pushed over the tables of the men who bought and sold money. He pushed over the seats of the men who sold birds.

God’s Great House had a wall round it. Only the priests went into God’s Great House. The priests let the people go through the gate in the wall. They came together in a place outside God’s Great House.

The people had to use different money in God’s Great House. They had to sell their own money and buy this different money. With this, they could buy special birds and animals to give as gifts to God.

13 Jesus spoke to them all. He said, ‘The prophets wrote God’s words in a book. “My House”, God said, “will be a place where people can come to pray [Isaiah 56:7] .” But you have caused it to be a place where people rob other people.’

14 People who could not see went to meet Jesus at the place outside God’s Great House. People who could not walk very well also went there. And Jesus caused them all to become well. 15 The important priests and teachers of the Law saw all the powerful things that Jesus did. They also saw children in the place outside God’s Great House. The children were shouting, ‘Welcome! We pray that God will be good to you, Son of David!’ All these things caused the important Jews to become very angry.

16 They asked Jesus, ‘Can you hear what these children are saying?’

‘Yes’, Jesus replied. ‘I am sure that you have read this message from God,

            “Babies and children say how important you are.

            Their words will be completely beautiful and correct.” ’ [Psalm 8:2]

17 Then Jesus left everyone and he went out of Jerusalem. He stayed that night in Bethany.

Bethany was a village near Bethphage, very near to Jerusalem.

Jesus causes a fruit tree to die

18 The next day, Jesus returned from Bethany to Jerusalem early in the morning. He was hungry. 19 And while he was walking along, he saw a fruit tree near to the road. He went to look for fruit on it. But there were only leaves on the tree, and no fruit. Jesus said to the tree, ‘No fruit will ever grow on you again.’ Then, immediately, the tree dried up and it died.

20 The disciples saw it happen and they were very surprised. And they asked Jesus, ‘How did the tree dry up so quickly?’

21 ‘What I say to you is true’, Jesus said to them. ‘You must really believe in God. You must believe how powerful God really is. If you believe this, then you could do the same thing to this fruit tree. And also, you could say to this mountain, “Stand up and throw yourself into the sea.” If you said that to the mountain, it would happen. 22 If you really believe, then pray. Ask him to give you something. And he will give you the thing that you ask him for.’

23 Then Jesus returned to the place outside God’s Great House. While he was teaching the people, the leaders of the priests and important Jews went to him. ‘What authority do you have to do these things?’ they asked him. ‘Tell us. Who gave you the authority to do them?’

24 ‘I also will ask you something’, replied Jesus. ‘If you tell me the right answer, then I will answer your question. I will tell you where my authority comes from. 25 John had authority to baptise people. Did this authority come from God or did a man tell him to do it?’ Then all the Jewish leaders talked to each other about Jesus’ question. ‘We might say that John’s authority came from God’, they said. ‘But then Jesus will ask us why we did not believe John. 26 We might say that a man gave John his authority. But the people all think that John was a prophet. We would be afraid that they might attack us.’

27 So the Jewish leaders answered Jesus. ‘We do not know who gave John his authority.’

Jesus said to them, ‘And I will not tell you who gave me authority to do these things.’

Jesus tells a story about two sons

28 Jesus said to the important Jews, ‘Tell me what you think about this story. A man had two sons. He went to the older son and said, “Son, go and work in the field today.”

29 The older son replied, “I do not want to go and work in the field today.” But after he had said that, he decided to go to the field.

30 The man went to his other son and he said the same thing to him. The second son replied, “Yes father, I will go.” But then he did not go to work in the field.

31 Now which of the man’s sons did what his father wanted?’ Jesus asked the important Jews.

They replied, ‘The older son did what his father wanted.’

‘What I say to you is true’, said Jesus. ‘The men who take taxes will go into the Kingdom of God before you. Also the women who have sex with men for money will go into the Kingdom of God before you. 32 I say this because of the way that John came to you. He explained to you the right way to obey God. You did not believe him. But those people who did really bad things believed John. You knew that these people believed him. But, even then, you would not believe John’s message. You have done wrong things. But you would not tell God that you were sorry. And you would not obey him.’

Jesus tells a story about a farmer

33 Then Jesus spoke again to the important Jews. ‘Listen to another story that I want to tell you. There was a man who had his own farm. He planted vines in his field, and then he built a wall round it. He dug a hole in the ground to put the grapes in. Later, he would make them into wine. He also made a tall building. From the top of the building, a servant would watch the field.’

From a tall building, someone could watch for any animals, birds or bad people who came to the farm.

‘The man then found some farmers who would take care of his vines for him. He then went away to another country. 34 When it was time for the farmers to cut the grapes, the master sent his servants to them. The servants said to the farmers, “Please give us the fruit that is for our master.”

35 Then the farmers took hold of the servants. They hit one servant with sticks. They killed another of the servants and they threw stones at the other servant. 36 So the master sent other servants to the field. He sent more servants than the first time. But the farmers did the same thing to these servants also. 37 After that, the master sent his own son to the farmers. He thought that the farmers would be kind to his son.

38 The farmers saw the master’s son coming. “This is the master’s own son”, they said to each other. “When our master dies, his son will have this field. So, let us kill the master’s son and then we can have the field.” 39 Then the farmers took hold of the son. They pushed him out of the field and then they killed him.

40 One day, the master will return’, said Jesus. ‘What do you think he will do to those farmers?’

41 The important Jews said to Jesus, ‘The master will ask someone to kill those bad people in a bad way. Then he will ask someone else to be the farmers in his field. Those new farmers will give the master the fruit that is for him.’

42 Jesus said to them, ‘I am sure that you have read this. The prophets wrote,

            “The people who built the house did not want to use one special stone.

            They thought it had no value.

            Now that stone is the most important stone.

            It makes the corner of the wall strong.

            God did this.

            And we can see that he did something great.” [Psalm 118:22-23]

43 I am telling you this because God will take his kingdom away from you. He will give it to people who will obey God.

44 When a person falls on to that stone, he will break his body. When that stone falls on top of someone, it will break him completely.’

Verse 44 is not in all copies of Matthew’s book.

45 The leaders of the priests and the Pharisees heard what Jesus said. They understood that he was speaking against them in his stories. 46 They wanted to take hold of Jesus and put him in prison. But the people thought that Jesus was a prophet. So they did not try to do it because they were afraid of the people.

In this story, the master of the field is like God. The vines are like the people, and the farmers are like the leaders of the Jews. The servants that the master sent to the field are like the prophets. The master’s son is like Jesus. The Jewish leaders did not believe that Jesus was God’s Son. God would kill those who refused Jesus. That is what Jesus was telling them. They understood what Jesus had said. And they were very angry with him.

Jesus is this special stone. The Jewish leaders did not want to use it.

Chapter 22

Jesus tells a story about a meal at a marriage

1 Jesus continued to teach the people with stories. 2 ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like’, he said. ‘A king prepared to have a special meal for his son when he got married. He sent his servants to prepare a big meal for everyone to eat at the marriage. 3 He had asked many people to come. So he sent his servants out to tell them that the meal was ready. But many people refused to come.

4 So the king then sent out other servants. He said to them, “Please tell this message to all those people that I have asked to come. Say that the master says: ‘My servants have prepared the meal. They have killed my large cow and some fat young cows. Everything is ready. Come to the meal at the marriage!’ ”

5 But none of the people was interested in the king’s message. They went away to do their usual work. One man went to his farm and another man went to his business. 6 Other people took hold of the king’s servants. They hurt them and then they killed them. 7 The king was very angry and he said to his soldiers, “Go out into the city where these people live. Kill those people who killed my servants. And burn down their city!”

8 Then the king said to his other servants, “The meal that my servants have prepared for the marriage is ready. But the people that I asked to come had no value. 9 Go out now to the wide streets in the town. Ask all the people that you meet there to come to the meal. The king has prepared it for his son.” 10 Then those servants went out into the streets. And they brought to the king’s house all the people that they met. Some were good people and some were bad people. Many people came so that the room for the marriage was full.

11 Then the king came into the room to see all the people. He saw one man who was not wearing the right clothes for a marriage. 12 The king said to the man, “So, how did you come in here, my friend? You are not wearing the right clothes for a marriage.” The man did not answer.

13 The king said to his servants, “Tie him up so that he cannot move his hands or his feet. Throw him into the dark place outside. There, people will cry. They will also bite their teeth against each other because they are angry.”

14 God asks many people to come under his rule. But he only chooses a few people.’

At that time, a man asked his friends to a special meal when he got married. He also gave them special clothes to wear. They wore these clothes when they came in to the meal. People came in from the streets, so they were not wearing special clothes. One person had not accepted the special clothes that the king gave to him. In the story the special clothes are like the good works of Jesus. We need these for God to save us. Each person must accept what God gives. A person cannot save himself with his own good works. Jesus is teaching the people that.

The Pharisees ask Jesus about paying taxes

15 After this, the Pharisees thought about what they could do. They wanted to ask Jesus difficult questions. They wanted to hear him say something bad about the Roman ruler. 16 So the Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus. And they also sent people who were in Herod’s group. They all said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we know that you are an honest man. It really is true that you teach the right things about God. It does not matter to you what other people think. It does not matter to you if someone is an important person or not. 17 Here is a question for you, Jesus. Tell us what you think about this. Should we pay our taxes to the Roman ruler, called Caesar? Or should we not pay them?’

18 Jesus knew why they had asked him this question. It was because they wanted to do bad things to him. So he said to them, ‘You are trying to cause me to say something wrong. You are hypocrites! 19 Show me the coin that you use for the tax.’ They brought him a coin. 20 Then Jesus asked them, ‘Whose picture and name are on the coin?’

21 They replied, ‘It is Caesar’s picture and Caesar’s name.’

So Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar the things that are for Caesar. And give to God the things that are for God.’

22 When they heard Jesus’ answer, they were very surprised. So they left him and they went away.

The Sadducees ask Jesus a question

23 On that day, some Sadducees also came to Jesus. These men did not believe that anyone will live again after his death. The Sadducees asked Jesus a question.

The Sadducees were a group of Jewish leaders.

24 ‘Teacher’, they said to Jesus, ‘Moses wrote these things for us in the Law. A woman marries a man. But the man dies before the woman has any children. That man’s brother must then marry her. They can have children for the man who died. If they have children, the children will be called the children of the first husband. 25 Once, there were seven brothers who lived here. The oldest brother married a woman. Then he died before the woman had any children. 26 The next younger brother then married her. And then he also died. So a third brother married this woman. And the same thing happened to all the brothers down to the seventh brother. They all died before the woman had any children. 27 After this, the woman also died. 28 Now some people say that one day dead people will become alive again. On that day, whose wife will that woman be? She had married all seven of those brothers.’

29 Jesus said to the Sadducees, ‘You are wrong. You do not know what God says in his book. You do not know how powerful God is. 30 One day, people who are dead will become alive again. But then men and women will not marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. They do not marry. 31 It is true that one day dead people will live again. You have read about what God said to you, 32 “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” [Exodus 3:6] God is not God of people who are dead. He is the God of people who are now alive.’

We can read about this in Exodus, chapter 3.

33 The crowd heard this. They were very surprised about what Jesus had told the Sadducees.

Jesus teaches the Pharisees about the most important Law

34 The Pharisees heard that Jesus had said these things to the Sadducees. Now the Sadducees had stopped asking Jesus any questions. So the Pharisees met together in one place.

35 One of the Pharisees was also a teacher of the Law. He asked Jesus a question. He wanted Jesus to say something wrong. 36 ‘Teacher’, he said to Jesus, ‘which of our Laws is the most important Law for us to obey?’

37 Jesus replied to the Pharisee, ‘You must completely love the Lord your God. You should love him with all that you are. Love him in all that you think. Love him in all that you do. 38 This is the greatest Law and the most important of all the Laws. 39 The second Law is as important as the first. You must love other people as much as you love yourself. 40 All the Laws of Moses teach us that. And also all the things that the prophets teach about God are in these two Laws.’

Jesus teaches people about the Christ

41 While the Pharisees were together with Jesus, he asked them, 42 ‘What do you think about the Christ, the special person that God will send to us? Whose Son is he?’

The Pharisees replied, ‘He will be from the family of King David.’

43 Jesus asked them, ‘Can you explain this to me then? God’s Holy Spirit told David that the special person from God was called Lord. David says, 44 “The Lord said to my Lord:

            ‘Sit at the important place at my right side.

            Remain there until I beat your enemies down to the ground.

            I will put them down like a place to rest your feet.’ ” [Psalm 110:1]

45 So’, Jesus said, ‘we know that David calls this special person, “Lord”. So how can he be a man from the family of King David?’ 46 Nobody could answer the question that Jesus asked. After this, everyone was afraid to ask Jesus any more questions.

Chapter 23

Jesus talks about dangerous teachers

1 After that, Jesus spoke to the crowd and to his disciples. 2 ‘The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees have authority to explain the Law of Moses. 3 You must obey everything that they teach you. But you must not do the same things that they do. They teach you what the Law of Moses is. But then they themselves do not obey these rules. 4 The rules that they give you are hard to obey. They are like heavy luggage, which they tie on your shoulders. But they will not help you even a little bit to carry these heavy things.’

These heavy things are the Laws which Moses taught. The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees taught extra rules. This made it more difficult for people to obey all the Laws.

5 ‘They do everything so that the people will see them. They make their phylacteries very large and they make their tassels long.’

A phylactery was a small box which a Jew tied to his head or his arm. There was some paper in the box. They had written some words from God’s book on the paper. Tassels were like long thin things that hung down from a person’s coat. They wore the phylacteries and the tassels for other people to see. They wanted people to think that they really loved God.

6 ‘But the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees like to sit in the important places at special meals. They also sit in the important places in the buildings where people meet to pray. 7 They like people to call them “My teacher.” In the market place, they want many people to speak to them as people would speak to an important person.

8 You all believe in God. You have only one teacher. So nobody should call another person, “My teacher”.’

Jesus alone is our master and teacher.

9 ‘Do not call another person in the world “Father”. You have only one Father, and he lives in heaven.’

Jesus was saying that God is their Father.

10 ‘Do not call each other “Leader”. You have only one leader. And he is the Christ that God will send to you. 11 The person among you who is most important will be your servant. 12 Someone may think that he himself is very important. But God will cause that person to become the least important person. Someone may think that he is the least important person. But God will cause that person to become very important.’

Jesus tells the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees that they are hypocrites

13 Jesus spoke to the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees. ‘Trouble will come to you’, he said. ‘You are hypocrites! You have taken away the key that opens a door. It is the door to where people learn about God. They want to go in and find out how God rules. You yourselves will not go into the Kingdom of Heaven. Nor will you let other people go in who want to.’

A hypocrite does things that seem good. He wants other people to say that he really is a good person. They will think that he really obeys God. The hypocrite says that he does good things. But really he does something different. He only wants other people to think that he is good. But he is not good.

14 ‘Trouble will come to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites! You take things away from women whose husbands have died. You want people to think good things about you, so you pray for a long time. God will punish you more than people who have not done these things.’

Verse 14 is not in all copies of Matthew’s book.

15 ‘Trouble will come to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees. You are hypocrites. You travel across land and across the sea. You do this to make one person believe what you believe. Then when he does believe it, he is even worse than you. He does more bad things than you do. So you cause him to go to hell.

16 Trouble will come to you, teachers. You cannot see, but you are teaching people which way to go.’

Jesus meant that the teachers of the Law and Pharisees did not understand about the Kingdom of God. They were like men who could not see. They did not know God’s way, but they were trying to teach it to other people.

‘You say this to people. “Maybe you make a promise like this. ‘I promise by the name of God’s Great House’. Then you do not need to do what you promised to do. But then you make a different promise. You say, ‘I promise by the gold on God’s Great House.’ Then you must do what you promised to do.” 17 You are like a man who cannot see. And you are fools. I will tell you which of these two things is most important. The gold on God’s Great House is not important. But God’s Great House is really important and it makes the gold important. 18 You also teach the people this: “Maybe you make a promise like this. ‘I promise by the name of the special table in God’s House.’ Then you do not need to do what you promised to do. But then you make a different promise. You say, ‘I promise by the gift on the special table.’ Then you should do what you promised to do.” 19 You are like people who cannot see. You are fools. I will tell you which of these two things is most important. The gift on the special table is not important. But the special table is really important and it makes the gift important. 20 Maybe a person makes a promise like this. He says, “I promise by the name of the special table in God’s Great House”. Then he is making a promise to God. It is God’s table. All the gifts on it are for God. 21 Perhaps a person says this. “I promise by the name of God’s Great House”. Then he is making a promise to God. It is his House with everything in it. 22 Perhaps a person says, “I promise by the sky above”. The sky is God’s. It is the place where he sits. And he rules there.’

Perhaps a person wants to make a promise stronger. So he says ‘by the name of ----’ to make the promise. He is using that name to make the promise stronger. Jesus says that we should not do this.

We must always do everything that we have promised to do. God wants our yes to be yes. He wants our no to be no. We might say what we do not mean. But then he will call us hypocrites.

23 ‘Teachers of the Law and Pharisees, trouble is coming to you. You are hypocrites! You only obey the very small matters in the Law. You grow special small plants to use when you cook. You give to God one part out of ten parts of these plants. This is a small matter in the Law which you obey. But the more important parts of the Law you forget to obey. It is important to be good and kind to other people. It is also important to believe and to obey God. You should do all these important things as well as the other things that are not so important. 24 You are like a man who cannot see, but you are showing other people the way. You take a small fly out of your cup so that you do not drink it. But you do not see the large animal that is swimming in it.’

The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees obeyed the smallest and least important parts of the Law of Moses. But they did not obey the important parts. They did not understand that they were doing the wrong things.

25 ‘Teachers of the Law and Pharisees, trouble is coming to you. You are hypocrites! You are like someone who is careful to wash the outside of a cup and a plate. The inside of the cup and plate are also dirty. But you do not wash that. The dirt is like the things you do. You want more things than you should have. You hurt people to get what you want. 26 Pharisees, you are like men who cannot see. You must first clean the inside of the cup and plate. Then the outside will also be clean.

27 Teachers of the Law and Pharisees, trouble is coming to you. You are hypocrites! You bury dead people in holes in the rock. You put white paint outside the holes on the stones. You are like these white stones outside these holes. They look beautiful on the outside, but they are full of the bones of dead people and bad things. 28 You are the same as these holes. Other people look at you. They think that you obey God. But really, you are hypocrites and you do many very bad things.

29 Teachers of the Law and Pharisees, things will be bad for you. You are hypocrites! You build beautiful places. You bury the prophets in these places after they have died. You cause the places where you have buried good people to be beautiful. 30 You say, “Our ancestors killed God’s prophets. If we had lived at that time, we would not have helped them to kill the prophets.” 31 So you are speaking against yourselves. You are saying that you are the sons of these people. These people killed God’s prophets. 32 Finish then the work that your ancestors began!

33 You are like snakes, and like a family of dangerous snakes. You will not be able to run away. I am sure that God will judge you. And he will send you to hell. 34 So I tell you this. I will send prophets to you. I will also send people who know many things. And I will send people to teach you. But you will kill some of these people. You will kill some of them on a cross. In the places where you meet to pray, you will hit some of them with whips. They will run from one town to another town, but you will follow them. 35 Let me tell you why I send these people to you. Because of the things that you will do, God will punish you. You will receive the punishment for the murder of Abel. He was a good man. You killed many other good men. You also murdered Zechariah, the son of Berechiah. He also was a good man, but your leaders killed him. He died between God’s Great House and God’s special table.’

Cain killed Abel. Abel was the first person to die. Through the years bad men have murdered many good men. The prophets wrote in God’s book about many people who died in that way. Abel was the first person like that. Zechariah was the last person like that.

36 ‘What I am saying is true. God will punish all you people who are alive today. He will do this because of all the bad things that your ancestors did.

37 Oh, you people who live in Jerusalem! Oh, you people who live in Jerusalem! When God sends prophets to you, you throw stones at them. And you kill them. Many times, I have wanted to bring all of you near to me. A bird brings all her little birds together and she covers them with her body. But you would not let me take care of you like that. 38 So listen! Soon nobody will remain here to live in this place. This is true. 39 One day you will say, “Happy is the man whom God sends here with his authority.” But you will not see me again until you say that.’ [Psalm 118:26]

God would let the enemies of the Jews kill all the people in Jerusalem. This happened 40 years later. The Romans attacked and destroyed the city called Jerusalem.

Chapter 24

Jesus talks about things that would happen soon

1 Jesus left God’s Great House, and his disciples came to him. They began to talk to Jesus about the buildings of God’s Great House. 2 So Jesus said to them, ‘Yes, you can see all these beautiful buildings now. But what I say is true. The day is coming soon when enemies will completely destroy them. They will not leave one stone on top of another stone. They will throw every stone down from the buildings.’

Jesus is talking about when the Romans would destroy Jerusalem in the year AD 70.

3 Jesus then sat on the hill called the Hill of Olives. While he was alone, his disciples came to him. ‘Tell us when this will happen’, they said to him. ‘What will we see just before you return? What will show that God will soon end the world?’

4 Jesus said, ‘Be careful and watch. Some people will tell you things that are not true. But do not believe them. 5 Many people will come and say, “I am the Christ.” Many other people will believe that this is true. 6 You will hear the noise of wars near where you are. You will hear about people who are fighting wars in places a long way away. Do not be afraid. These things must happen first, but it is not yet the end of everything. 7 People in one country will attack the people in another country. Kings and their people will fight against other kings and their people. The ground will move in many different places. Some people will not have any food to eat because the plants for food will not grow. 8 These things will be like the first pains that start before a baby is born.

9 Then people will take hold of you because you believe in me. They will punish some of you and they will kill some of you. Some people in every country will hate you because you obey me. 10 At that time, many people who believe in me will stop believing. They will put some of those who follow me in the power of their rulers. And they will hate all those who still follow me. 11 Also at that time, many people will say that they are prophets. This will not be true, but many people will believe them. 12 More and more people everywhere will be doing very bad things. Because of this many people will no longer love each other in the way that they did. 13 But you must never stop believing in me. Then God will save you. 14 People will tell the good news about the Kingdom to people all over the world. People will know that the message is true. And they will tell it to other people in every country in the world. Only then will God cause the world to come to an end.

15 Long ago Daniel, the prophet, wrote in God’s book. He said that one day people would put something very bad in God’s Great House. They would put it in the special place for God. This will then happen. At that time, you must understand what Daniel wrote. 16 When you see this very bad thing, people in Judea must run to the hills. They must run so that their enemies do not catch them.

17 A man who is on the roof of his house must not go down into his house. He must not waste time to fetch anything in his home to take with him.’

At that time, people often sat on the roof of their house after they had finished their work. The roof was flat, and it was cool there. People told each other news across the roofs. There were steps outside the house up on to the roof.

18 ‘People who are outside the city in their fields must not go back home. They must not waste any time. So they must not even go to fetch their coats. 19 Those days will be bad for women who have a baby inside them! And those days will be bad for those women who have little babies! 20 You must pray to God and say, “Please do not let these things happen in winter. Please do not let them happen on the day when we rest.” 21 People will have great troubles. From the time that God made the world, nothing so bad has ever happened. After this bad time has finished, it will never ever be so bad again. 22 God will make this time of great trouble shorter. If he did not do that, there would be nobody still alive. God will cause this time of trouble to be shorter to help the people that he has chosen. 23 Someone may say to you, “Look, here is the Christ.” Or they may say, “Look, there is the Christ.” When they say that, do not believe them. 24 Some people will say to you, “I am the special man. God has sent me.” Other people will come and they will say, “I am a prophet of God.” None of the things that these people say is true. They will do powerful things that people cannot usually do. They will be trying to cause people to believe that their words are true. They will even try to cause the people that God has chosen to believe in them. 25 So be careful and watch out! I have told you about all these things before they happen.

26 Some people may say to you, “Look, the Christ is out there in the desert.” But you must not go out to see who is there. Some people may say to you, “Look, the Christ is in there in that secret room.” You must not believe these people. 27 Lightning shines quickly and it lights up the whole of the sky. It will be like that when the Son of Man returns. 28 Big birds that eat meat arrive together. They all arrive where there is a dead body.’

They gave the name Christ to the person whom God had promised them. Later they called Jesus, Jesus Christ.

People know if there is a dead animal on the ground. When they see several big birds flying in the sky, they know. In the same way, people will see the things happening that Jesus talked about. Then they will know that he will soon return.

29 ‘Then after all these bad things have happened,

            “The sun will become dark.

            The moon will stop shining.

            Stars will fall down out of the sky,

            and God will cause all the powerful things in the sky to move from their usual places.” [Isaiah 13:10]

30 Then people will see something powerful in the sky. This will show them that the Son of Man is coming. All the people in the world will weep because they are very sad. Then people will see the Son of Man coming down in the clouds. He will be very powerful. He will be great and very beautiful. 31 The sound of a loud trumpet will go out. The Son of Man will send out God’s angels in every direction. They will bring together all the people that God has chosen from every part of the world.’

Jesus tells a story about a fig tree

32 ‘I will tell you a story about a fig tree. You can learn something from what the tree does. When the new branches on the tree start to grow, the leaves appear. Then you know that the summer is coming soon. 33 In the same way, you will see all these things happen. Then you will know that the Son of Man is coming soon. He is like someone at the door who is ready to come in. 34 The things that I say to you are true. The people who are living then will see all these things. They will not die before all these things have happened. 35 One day, the earth and the sky will finish. But my words will never finish.’

Nobody will know when the Son of Man will return to the world

36 ‘Nobody knows the day or the time when all these things will happen. Even the angels in heaven do not know. Even God’s Son does not know. Only God the Father knows when they will happen. 37 It was the same as this when Noah was alive. And it will be the same again when the Son of Man returns. 38 In the days before the rain came, people were eating. People were drinking. Men married women and women married men. They did all these things until the day that Noah climbed into his big boat. 39 The people did not know what would happen. Then rain fell for a long time and all these people died in the deep water. When the Son of Man returns, it will be the same. People will not know that it is going to happen at that moment. 40 At that time, it will be like this. Two men will be working in a field. God will take one man away, but he will leave the other man behind. 41 Two women will be working together in the same place. God will take one woman away, but he will leave the other woman behind.’

We can read the story about Noah in Genesis, chapter 6. God sent the water to kill all the bad people. The water came quickly when the people were not thinking about it. Jesus will also return quickly when people are not thinking about it.

42 ‘Be careful and watch! You do not know the day or time when your Master will come. 43 You can be sure about this. The master of the house did not know at what time of night a man would come to rob him. If the master had known the time, he would have watched his house more carefully. Then the man would not have robbed his house. 44 So you must also be ready. It will be a surprise for you when the Son of Man returns.’

Jesus tells a story about two servants

45 Then Jesus finished teaching them. ‘I will tell you about a good servant. His master knows that he will obey. He knows how to do everything well. The master chooses him to rule over all his other servants. He will give everyone the food that they need each day. 46 The master will come home. And he will see this servant obeying all that he told him to do. So the master will be kind to his servant. 47 What I say is true. The master will then ask the servant to rule over everything in his house. 48 But perhaps the servant is bad and he says to himself, “My master will not come yet.” 49 So, he begins to hit the other servants. He hits both the men and the women. He eats too much. He also drinks with drunks.’

When someone drinks too much alcohol, he becomes a drunk.

50 ‘Then the master of that servant will come home and he will surprise the servant. He did not think that his master would come home on that day or at that time. 51 Then the master will punish him a lot. He will put the servant with those people who do not obey him. The people in that place will cry. And they will bite their teeth together because they are angry.’

Chapter 25

Jesus tells a story about ten young women

1 ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. There were ten young women who were going to a marriage. They took their lamps with them and they went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of these young women were silly. They were not careful about what they were doing. Five of these young women understood well. They were careful about what they were doing. 3 The silly young women took their lamps with them, but they did not take any extra oil with them. 4 The other five young women took jars of oil with them. These young women were careful about what they were doing. 5 The bridegroom did not come for a long time. So all the young women became tired, and they went to sleep.

6 In the middle of the night, someone shouted out, “The bridegroom is coming. Come out to meet him.”

7 The ten young women woke up. Then they got up and they looked at their lamps. They tried to make their lamps work well. 8 The five young women who had not brought extra oil said to the other five young women, “Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are not burning well.”

9 The careful young women who had extra oil replied, “If we did that, then there would not be enough oil for all of us. You must go instead to the people who sell oil. You must buy some oil for your lamps.” ’

The bridegroom is the man who will marry the woman. In this story Jesus is the bridegroom. We must be ready for him when he comes.

The women had to cut off the cloth that had burned. Then the lamp would continue to burn. They also needed to put more oil in the lamp. The lamps used a lot of oil.

10 ‘So these five women went to buy some oil. While they were away, the bridegroom arrived. He would soon marry. The five women who understood well were ready. They went with him into the house. Here the servants had prepared the meal for the marriage. Then the servants shut the door.

11 Later, the five silly women also came to the house. They said, “Sir, Sir, please open the door for us.”

12 But he replied, “What I say is true. I do not know you.” ’

13 Then Jesus said, ‘So you must watch well. You do not know on what day or at what time I will come.’

Jesus tells a story about three servants

14 ‘I will tell you again what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. A man was going on a journey. Before he went away, he asked his servants to come to him. He said to them, “Take care of all my money and all my things for me.” 15 The master gave one servant 5000 gold coins. He gave another servant 2000 gold coins, and to another servant he gave 1000 gold coins. He gave to each servant what he would be able to use well. Then the master went away on his journey.’

It was a lot of money that he gave them. The money was not a gift. The master wanted the servants to use the money. He wanted them to buy and sell things. He wanted them to use the money to get more money.

16 ‘The servant who had received 5000 gold coins went out immediately. He bought and sold things with the money. This servant got 5000 more gold coins. 17 The servant who had received 2000 gold coins also went out immediately. He also bought and sold things with the money. This servant got 2000 more gold coins. 18 The servant who had received 1000 gold coins did something different. He went outside and he dug a hole in the ground. He buried the money that his master had given him.

19 After a long time, the master came home. He asked the servants to come to him. He wanted to know how much money they had now. 20 The servant who had received 5000 gold coins came to his master. The servant said to him, “Master, you gave me 5000 gold coins. And now I have another 5000 gold coins.”

21 The master said to this servant, “You are a good servant; you have done really well. You were careful with a little money. I will give you much more money to use. I am really happy about this and I want you to be happy with me.”

22 The servant who had received 2000 gold coins also came to his master. The servant said to him, “Master, you gave me 2000 gold coins. And now I have another two thousand gold coins.”

23 The master said to his servant, “You are a good servant; you have done really well. You were careful with a little money. I will give you much more to use. I am really happy about this and I want you to be happy with me.”

24 The servant who had received 1000 gold coins also came to his master. The servant said to him, “Master, I know what you are like. You ask people to do things all the time. You get seeds back from the ground, which you did not plant. You get fruit from trees that you did not plant. 25 I was afraid of you, so I buried your money in the ground. See, here it is. You can have it back again.”

26 The master said to him, “You are a bad and lazy servant. You said that you know about me. I get seeds back that I did not plant. I get fruit from trees that I did not plant. And you knew all that. 27 You should have put the money into the bank. Then, when I came home, I could have received my money back from the bank again, with extra money also.”

28 Then the master said to his other servants, “Take the 1000 gold coins from this man. Give them to the man who now has 10 thousand coins.” 29 Then the master said, “What I say is true. I will give more to every person who already has something. He will have much more than he needs. Another person has almost nothing. I will take away even the small amount that he has. 30 This servant cannot work for me any longer. So you can throw him into a dark place outside. People will weep there. And they will bite their teeth together because they are angry.” ’

Jesus was telling people that God gives us gifts. So we must be careful how we use them. One day, he will ask us how we used those gifts.

In the story, Jesus also tells the people that he is going away. And he tells them that he will return. Some people do not want Jesus to rule over them. They do not use what he has given them. One day, they will meet him. Jesus told them that he would punish them then.

God judges everybody

31 ‘When I, the Son of Man return, I will be powerful and great and important and beautiful. All the angels will come with me. I will sit on my seat as king. 32 All the people in the world will be together in front of me. I will put them into two groups. I will do it in the same way that a shepherd puts his sheep and goats into two groups. 33 He puts the sheep on his right side and the goats on his left side.’

The shepherd is the person who takes care of the sheep and goats. In the day, sheep and goats eat grass in the fields together. At night, the shepherd puts the goats inside so that they are warm. But he leaves the sheep in the fields. Jesus is using sheep and goats to explain about the Kingdom of God. The sheep are like those people who obey God. And the goats are like those people who do not obey him.

34 ‘The king will say to those people who are on his right side, “Come here. My Father has given you good things. He has prepared a place for you in his Kingdom. From the time that God made the world, he made a place ready for you.” 35 Then the king said to them, “I was hungry and you gave me some food to eat. I needed to drink and you gave me some water. I was alone and you asked me to come to your home. 36 I did not have enough clothes and you gave me some more to wear. I was ill and you took care of me. I was in prison and you came to visit me there.”

37 The people who did good things will speak to him. “Master, when did we see that you were hungry? And when did we give you some food? When did we see that you needed to drink? And when did we give you some water? 38 When did we see that you were alone? And when did we ask you to come to our home? When did we see that you did not have enough clothes? And when did we give you some more clothes? 39 When did we see you that you were ill? And when did we take care of you? When did we know that you were in prison? And when did we come to visit you?”

40 The king will answer them, “What I say to you is true. You did all these things to help people. They were not important people, but they were my friends. If you helped them, then you also helped me.”

41 Then the king will say to those people who are at his left side, “Go away from me. God has said that bad things will happen to you. God has prepared a fire that will burn for always. He has prepared it for Satan and those who help him. You will also go into that fire.” 42 Then the king said to them, “I was hungry but you did not give me any food to eat. I needed to drink but you did not give me anything. 43 I was alone but you did not ask me to come to your home. I did not have enough clothes but you did not give me anything to wear. I was ill but you did not take care of me. I was in prison but you did not come to visit me.”

44 Then these other people will speak to the king. “Master, when did we see you hungry, or needing something to drink? Or when did we see you alone, or without enough clothes? Or when did we see you ill, or in prison and we did not give you any help?”

45 Then the king will reply, “What I say to you is true. You did not do these things for people. They were not important people. But when you did not help them, you also did not help me.”

46 These people who did not help other people will go away. God will punish them for always. But those good people who obey God will live for always.’

Chapter 26

Those who are against Jesus want to take hold of him

1 When Jesus finished saying these things, he said to his disciples. 2 ‘Now you know that after two days we will eat the Passover meal. Then those people who are against me will put me into the power of the rulers. They will fix me to a cross.’

We can read about the Passover meal in Exodus, chapter 12.

3 Then the leaders of the priests and the important Jews met together in the house of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the most important priest in Jerusalem. 4 They talked about the best way to take hold of Jesus. But they did not want other people to know about their idea. 5 They said to each other, ‘We do not want to take hold of him during the Passover. The people may fight against us if we do that.’

A woman pours oil that has a beautiful smell on Jesus’ head

6 Then Jesus went to Bethany and he visited Simon at his house. At one time, Simon had had an illness of the skin.

We believe that Jesus had caused Simon to become well again. Now Simon could live in his home in Bethany again.

7 While Jesus was eating a meal, a woman came into the house. She brought a small stone jar with her. The jar contained very expensive oil. It had a very nice smell. She poured the oil over Jesus’ head.

8 Jesus’ disciples saw what the woman had done. They became angry and they said, ‘This woman should not have wasted the oil. 9 She could have sold it for a lot of money. Then she could have given the money to poor people.’

The oil was called nard and people made it from a plant. The plant grows in the country called India. People kept the oil in a special stone jar. The woman had to break the jar to pour out the oil.

10 Jesus knew what his disciples were saying. So he said to them, ‘Do not be angry with her. Stop speaking to her like that. She has done a beautiful thing for me. 11 You will always have poor people with you. But I will not always be with you. 12 She poured oil over my body to prepare it. So, now my body is ready for people to bury me. 13 What I say to you is true. Everywhere people will tell this good news. They will also tell about what this woman did. Then other people will think about her because of what she did.’

Judas Iscariot promises to sell Jesus for money

14 Judas Iscariot was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples. He went to see the important priests 15 and he asked them, ‘How much money will you give me if I help you to take hold of Jesus?’ The priests gave Judas 30 silver coins. 16 Judas then waited for the right moment to help them take hold of Jesus.

Jesus eats his last meal with his 12 disciples

17 It was now the first day of the Passover. On this day, people ate bread that they had made without yeast in it. Jesus disciples came to talk to him. ‘Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you to eat?’ they said to him.

18 Jesus replied, ‘Go to a certain man in the city and say to him, “The teacher says: This is the moment that God has prepared for me. I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your house.” ’ 19 So Jesus’ disciples did what he had asked them to do. And they prepared the Passover meal.

20 That evening, Jesus and the 12 disciples sat down to eat the Passover meal together. 21 While they were eating, Jesus said, ‘What I say is true. One of you will help the Jewish rulers to take hold of me.’

22 They were very sad about what Jesus had said. Each one of them said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, I am sure that you do not mean me.’

23 Jesus said to them ‘It is the man who is putting the end of his bread into the same dish as me. That man will help the Jewish rulers to take hold of me.’

There was a dish on the table with wet food in it. They all put the end of their bread into this dish and they ate the wet food with the bread. Sometimes a person ate out of the same dish as someone else. This meant that they were good friends.

24 ‘The Son of Man will die in the way that God’s prophets wrote. But trouble will come to the man who causes this to happen. He should not have helped the rulers to take hold of me. It would be better for that man if he had never come into this world.’

25 It was Judas who would help the Jewish rulers. But he said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, it cannot be me who will do this.’

‘Yes, it is you who will do this’, Jesus replied to him.

26 While Jesus and his disciples were eating, he took a loaf of bread. He thanked God for it and then he broke the bread into pieces. He then gave it to each of them and he said, ‘Take this bread and eat it. This bread is my body.’

27 Then Jesus took a cup. He thanked God for the wine in the cup. Then he gave it to them and each disciple drank from the cup. 28 ‘This wine is my blood’, he said. ‘This is the new promise between God and his people. When I die, my blood will come out. Then God can forgive people for all the wrong things that they have done. 29 I am telling you this. I will not drink wine again until I drink it with you again in my Father’s kingdom.’

Most Christians still meet for special meals to remember what Jesus did for them. They obey Jesus. They eat bread and drink wine together. And they think about when Jesus died for them.

30 Then Jesus and his disciples sang a song to God. Then they all went out to the Hill of Olives.

People sang a special song about God at the end of a Passover meal. It helped them to remember all that God had done for them.

Jesus tells Peter what will happen

31 Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. ‘Tonight, you will all run away and you will stop believing in me. The prophets wrote this down:

            “I will kill the man who takes care of the sheep.

            Then all the sheep that he had will run away to different places.” [Zechariah 13:7]

32 But after I die, God will cause me to become alive again. Then I will go before you to Galilee.’

33 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Even if everyone else runs away, I will not leave you.’

34 Jesus replied to Peter, ‘What I say is true. Tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me. This will happen before the rooster makes a noise for the first time in the morning.’

35 But Peter said, ‘Jesus, I will never tell anyone that I do not know you. Even if that means that I must die with you.’ All the other disciples said the same thing.

Jesus prays in the garden called Gethsemane on the Hill of Olives

36 Then they arrived at a large garden called Gethsemane. Jesus said to the disciples who were with him, ‘Sit here while I go over there to pray.’ 37 Jesus then took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. He became very sad and troubled in his mind. 38 ‘I am very sad. I could die because I feel so sad. Please wait here and watch with me’, Jesus said to them.

39 Jesus went a short way in front of them. He went down on his knees with his face on the ground. He prayed, ‘Father, if it is possible, please save me from this time of great pain. But Father, do not give me what I want. But give me what you want for me.’

40 Jesus returned and he found the disciples. They were sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, you are asleep! You could not stay awake with me for even one hour! 41 You must stay awake and pray. God can help you, so that you will not do the wrong thing. You really want to do the right thing, but you are too weak to stay awake.’

42 Jesus went away a second time and he prayed again. ‘My Father, if you want, you can take away this pain. If it is not possible to save me from this time of great pain, then I want to obey you.’

43 Jesus returned again to them. He saw that they were sleeping. They could not keep their eyes open. 44 So Jesus went away again and he prayed a third time. He said the same words to God.

45 When he returned to them, he said, ‘You should not be sleeping and resting. You have slept enough. The time has come for me to have much pain. Look! Someone will now help bad men to take hold of me. 46 Stand up now, because it is time to meet them. Look! Here is the man who will help them to take hold of me.’

The soldiers take hold of Jesus

47 While Jesus was still speaking, Judas arrived. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. A crowd also appeared with him. They were all carrying long sharp knives and heavy sticks. The important priests, the teachers of the Law and the important Jews had sent these people with Judas. 48 Now, Judas would help the rulers of the Jews to take hold of Jesus. He had told the people, ‘I will kiss one of the men. He is the man. Take hold of him.’ 49 Judas went immediately to Jesus when they arrived. ‘Teacher’, he said to him. Then he kissed Jesus.

We think that Judas kissed Jesus on the side of his face.

50 Jesus said to Judas, ‘My friend, you must do what you have come here to do.’

Then the crowd of men came and they took hold of Jesus. 51 Then one of Jesus’ disciples put out his hand and he took hold of his long sharp knife. He hit the servant of the most important priest with it and he cut off the servant’s ear.

52 Then Jesus said to the man, ‘Put your long sharp knife away in its place. Some people use a long sharp knife to kill. They will die. Someone will kill them with a long sharp knife. 53 You should know that I could ask my Father to help me. He would immediately send more than 12 large groups of angels to fight for me. 54 They would save me. But then everything that God said in his book would not happen. And the prophets have said how all these things must happen.’

55 Then Jesus spoke to the crowd. ‘You have come out here with sharp knives and heavy sticks to take hold of me’, he said. ‘So you must believe that I am leading people to fight against the rulers. That is how you would take hold of a man like that. I was with you every day in the place outside God’s Great House when I was teaching. But you did not take hold of me then. 56 The prophets wrote down that all this would happen to me. Now it has become true.’ Then all of Jesus’ disciples ran away and left him.

Jesus stands in front of all the important rulers

57 Then those men who had taken hold of Jesus took him to Caiaphas’s house. Caiaphas was the most important priest. The teachers of the Law and the important Jews were meeting together there with Caiaphas.

The most important priest was called Caiaphas. He was the leader of the important Jewish rulers. There were 71 of them. They met together to decide about how to rule the people. They also decided how to punish a bad person. The most important priest had the most authority in the meeting. They had a lot of power, but they could not kill a bad person. Only the Roman rulers could do that.

58 Peter followed the men who were taking Jesus to the house of the most important priest. But he was not very near to them. When everyone went into the place outside Caiaphas’s house, Peter went in too. He sat down with the police who worked in God’s Great House. He wanted to see what would happen.

59 The leaders of the priests and the important rulers wanted people to say things about Jesus that were not true. They wanted to kill Jesus. 60 Many people did come. And they said things about Jesus that were not true. But still they could not find a reason to kill Jesus. Then two men said, 61 ‘We heard this man say, “I can destroy God’s Great House and in 3 days I can build it again.” ’

The important Jews could not say that a man must die. Only the Roman rulers could say that. The Jewish leaders wanted to find a reason to give Jesus over to the Roman rulers. Jesus had never said anything wrong. So they would have to say something that was not true.

62 Then Caiaphas stood up in front of everybody and he said to Jesus, ‘Will you not reply? These people have said that you have done many bad things. What do you say about this?’ 63 But Jesus did not say anything.

And so Caiaphas said, ‘I use God’s authority to say to you, “Tell us what is true.” Are you the Christ? Are you the Son of God?’

64 ‘I am’, Jesus replied. ‘And you will all see the Son of Man. He will be sitting at the right side of the Most Powerful God in the most important place. You will also see him coming to earth. And he will be riding on the clouds.’ [Daniel 7:13]

65 Caiaphas tore his coat. ‘Jesus spoke against God. We do not need anyone else to tell us about him’, he said. ‘You have heard him speak against God. 66 What have you decided to do with him?’

‘Jesus must die because of the things that he has said’, they replied.

Caiaphas tore his coat to show other people that he was very angry.

67 Then some of the men began to send water from their mouths into Jesus’ face. They also hit him with their fists, 68 and they said, ‘Tell us who hit you! If you were a prophet, you could certainly do that!’ They also hit him with their open hands.

Peter says three times that he does not know Jesus

69 Now, while all these things were happening, Peter was still sitting outside the house. One of the girls who worked for most important priest went to talk to him. ‘You were also with Jesus, the man from Galilee’, she said.

70 Peter said in front of everyone who was there, ‘That is not true. I do not know what you are talking about.’

71 Peter then walked to the gate, and another girl saw him. This girl said to the people who were standing there, ‘This man was with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.’

72 Peter answered everyone again. ‘I promise that I do not know that man from Nazareth. I will speak God’s name to promise that.’

73 After a little while, other people who were standing at the gate spoke to Peter. ‘We are sure that you are one of the friends of that man from Nazareth. We know this because you also speak like people who live in Galilee.’

74 Peter said to them, ‘I do not know the man from Nazareth. If this is not true, then God should punish me!’

Immediately after Peter said this, the rooster made a noise. 75 Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, ‘Tonight you will say three times that you do not know me. After that, the rooster will make a noise.’ So Peter went outside the house alone. He had a very troubled mind and he began to weep a lot.

Chapter 27

The important Jews take Jesus to stand in front of Pilate

1 Early the next morning, all the leaders of the priests and the important Jews talked together. They decided to ask the Roman rulers to kill Jesus. 2 They tied Jesus’ hands and feet and then they led him away to Pilate’s house. The soldiers put Jesus under the authority of Pilate, the ruler.

Pilate ruled over this part of the Roman world for Caesar. Caesar ruled the whole Roman world.

Judas dies

3 Judas heard that the Jews had asked the Roman rulers to kill Jesus. Judas had told the Jews where Jesus was. Now he was very sorry about what he had done. So he took back the 30 valuable coins to the leaders of the priests and the important Jews. 4 Judas said to them, ‘I have done the wrong thing. I helped you to take hold of a man who has done nothing wrong.’

They replied to Judas, ‘That is not important to us. That is your problem.’

5 Judas threw the money down on the floor in God’s Great House. Then he went away. He hung himself from a rope so that he died.

6 The leaders of the priests picked up the coins. They said, ‘We used this money to catch and kill a man. So it is against our Law to now use this same money for God’s Great House.’ 7 They talked together. And they decided to use the money to buy a field. They would use this field to bury foreign people who died in the city. The man who once had this field had made pots and jars out of soil.

8 After this, the field was called ‘The Field of Blood’. And it is still called that until today. 9 So the words of the prophet Jeremiah became true. He had said a long time before, ‘Then they took the 30 silver coins. 10 This was how much money the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him. They used this money to buy a field from a man who made pots. God said that I must do this.’ [Zechariah 11:12-13] When the leaders of the priests bought the field, all these things happened.

Pilate asks Jesus some questions

11 At that time, Jesus stood in front of the Roman ruler. Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

Jesus replied, ‘Yes, it is as you say.’

12 The leaders of the priests and the important Jews told Pilate that Jesus had done many bad things. Jesus did not answer them. 13 So then, Pilate said to Jesus, ‘These man say that you have done many bad things. You can hear what they are saying.’ 14 But Jesus did not answer Pilate. He did not say anything about any of the bad things that the men were talking about. Pilate was very surprised about this.

15 Each year at the time for the Passover meal, Pilate let one person come out of the prison. The people could choose which person should be free. 16 At that time, there was a man called Barabbas in prison. Everyone knew about what he had done. 17 Then the crowd came together at Pilate’s house. Pilate asked them, ‘Do you want me to let Barabbas come out of the prison? Or do you want me to let Jesus out instead? Jesus is called the Christ.’ 18 Pilate knew very well why the rulers of the Jews had given Jesus to him. They did not like the way that the people listened to Jesus. Many people listened to Jesus more than to their rulers.

19 Pilate was deciding what to do. Then his wife sent him a message. She said, ‘Do not do anything to that man. He is a good man and he has done nothing wrong. Last night, when I was sleeping, I had a dream about him. The dream made me very anxious.’

20 But the leaders of the priests and the important Jews talked to the people. ‘You must ask Pilate to let Barabbas come out of the prison’, they said. ‘Ask Pilate to kill Jesus.’

21 Pilate asked the people again, ‘Which of these two men should come out of the prison?’ The people answered, ‘Barabbas.’

22 Then Pilate asked the people, ‘What then should I do with Jesus, who is called the Christ?’ The people all shouted, ‘Kill him! Kill him on a cross.’

23 So Pilate said, ‘Why should I kill him? What bad things has he done?’

But the people were shouting many times even louder, ‘Kill him on a cross! Kill him on a cross!’

24 Then Pilate knew that he could not do anything to make them quiet. He thought that the people would start to fight his soldiers. So, Pilate took a dish of water and he washed his hands in front of the people. He said, ‘It is not because of me that this man will die. You have caused it to happen.’

25 All the people answered Pilate, ‘We and our children will answer to God. He can punish us, if we have done the wrong thing.’

26 Then Pilate sent Barabbas out of the prison. Pilate said to the soldiers, ‘Hit Jesus with a whip. Then fix him to a cross.’

27 Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into a large room in the ruler’s house. All the other soldiers in their group were there. 28 They removed Jesus’ clothes from him, and they put a dark red coat on him instead. 29 They used plants with sharp branches and they made a crown for him. Then they put it on his head. And they put a long stick in his right hand. They went down on their knees in front of him. They laughed at him and they said, ‘Welcome! You are the King of the Jews. We go down on our knees in front of you. We hope that you will live for a long time.’

A crown is a special hat that a king wears on his head. The dark red coat was like a coat that a king would wear. Roman soldiers also wore red coats.

30 Then the soldiers sent water from their mouths into Jesus’ face. They took the stick and they hit Jesus on his head with it again and again. 31 After they had finished laughing at him, they removed the dark red coat. And they put Jesus’ own clothes back on him. Then they led him to the place where they would kill him. They would fix him to a cross made out of wood.

The soldiers kill Jesus on a cross

32 On the way to that place, they took hold of a man called Simon. He was walking past Jesus and the soldiers. He came from the city called Cyrene. The Roman soldiers said to Simon, ‘Carry this cross!’ Then they pushed him to it. 33 The soldiers led Jesus to the place that is called Golgotha. (Golgotha means the place of a skull.)

A skull is the bone inside a person’s head.

34 The soldiers tried to give Jesus some wine to drink. They had put something like medicine in it. Jesus tasted it, but he would not drink it. 35 Then the Roman soldiers fixed Jesus on to the cross and they took his clothes. They played a game among themselves. They did this to find out who would receive each piece of his clothes. 36 Then the soldiers sat down and they watched Jesus carefully. 37 Above his head they fixed a notice. They had written on it the reason why they were killing him. The words on the notice were, ‘This man is Jesus, the king of the Jews.’ 38 Then the soldiers also fixed two other men to crosses. Those men had robbed people. One man was at Jesus’ right side, and one man was at his left side. 39 Those people who walked past Jesus said bad things to him. They moved their heads from one side to the other side while they looked at him. 40 And they said, ‘You said that you could destroy God’s Great House. You said that in three days you could build it again. If you really are the Son of God, save yourself. Come down from the cross.’

They moved their heads from one side to the other side. This showed what they thought. They thought that Jesus was a very bad or a very silly person.

41 The leaders of the priests and the teachers of the Law and the important Jews were all laughing at him too. 42 ‘This man saved other people, but he cannot save himself. He says that he is the king of Israel. If he came down from the cross now, then we would believe in him. 43 He believes in God. So if God wants him, let God save him now. He did say that he is the Son of God.’ 44 Then the two men on crosses next to Jesus said the same bad things to him.

Jesus dies

45 It was now about noon. The whole country became dark for three hours. 46 About three hours after noon, Jesus shouted with a loud voice. He said, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ That means, ‘My God, my God, why have you left me alone?’

47 Some people were standing near to Jesus. They heard what he had shouted. And they said to each other, ‘He is shouting to Elijah the prophet.’

48 One of these people ran quickly and he brought a piece of soft material. He poured wine that was not sweet on it. And then he put it on the end of a stick. He lifted it up to Jesus so that he could drink the wine from it. 49 The other people said, ‘Wait a moment and watch. We will see if Elijah comes. He might save Jesus.’

50 Then Jesus shouted again with a loud voice. And after that, he died.

51 At that moment, something caused the curtain inside God’s Great House to tear completely into two parts. It tore from the top to the other end. God caused the ground to move about and the rocks broke. 52 God opened up the places where people had buried dead bodies. Many of God’s people who had died became alive again. 53 They came out of those places after Jesus became alive again. They went into Jerusalem city and many people saw them.

54 The officer and the soldiers were still watching Jesus. They all saw the ground moving. And they saw the rocks breaking. They were very frightened and they said, ‘It is true that this man really was the Son of God.’

55 There were also many women there. They were watching a short way from the cross and they saw all these things happen. They had come from Galilee with Jesus to help prepare food for him. 56 Mary from Magdala was there. Mary, the mother of James and Joses, and Mary, the mother of Zebedee’s sons, were also there.

Joseph from Arimathea buries Jesus’ body

57 That evening a rich man who came from a town called Arimathea went to Pilate. The man’s name was Joseph, and he had become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Joseph said to Pilate, ‘I would like to take the dead body of Jesus.’ Pilate said to his soldiers, ‘Give the dead body of Jesus to Joseph.’ 59 So Joseph took the body of Jesus. He put a clean piece of soft white cloth round it. 60 And he buried the body in a large hole in a rock. He had made the hole to bury his own body when he died. After he buried Jesus’ body, he put a very big stone across the hole to shut it. Then he went away. 61 Mary from Magdala and Mary, the mother of James, were there and they were watching. They were sitting outside the hole in the rock where Joseph had buried Jesus.

Soldiers watch the place where Joseph had buried Jesus

62 The next day was the Sabbath day. The leaders of the priests and the Pharisees met together with Pilate. 63 ‘Sir’, they said, ‘that man tried to cause people to believe things that are not true. He said, “I will come back three days after I die.” He said that he would be alive again. We remember that. 64 Please would you put soldiers outside the rock where Joseph buried him? They should wait there for the next three days. Then his disciples cannot come to take his body away from the hole. If they took the body away, then they could say to the people, “God has caused Jesus to become alive again.” This will be the second thing that is not true. And it will be worse than the first thing.’

65 Pilate said to them all, ‘You can take a group of soldiers to watch the place. Let them fix the rock well, so that no person can open it.’ 66 So the leaders of the priests and the Pharisees went to the rock. They said to the group of soldiers, ‘Watch this hole in the rock well. Do not let anyone go in.’ Then they put a mark on the big stone. So, they would know if someone had moved it.

Chapter 28

Jesus becomes alive again

1 Early, on the first day of the week, Mary from Magdala and Mary the mother of James got up early. They went to the hole in the rock where Joseph had buried the dead body of Jesus.

2 At that moment, the ground moved about. One of God’s angels came from heaven and he went to the rock. He rolled the big stone away from outside the hole and then he sat on top of the big stone. 3 His face shone like lightning. His clothes were very white like snow. 4 The soldiers who were watching the stone in front of the rock were very frightened. They fell down on the ground like dead men. They were so frightened that they could not move.

5 Then the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus. The soldiers killed him on a cross. 6 But Jesus is not here. He has become alive again. He said that this would happen to him. Come here. You can see the place where he was lying. 7 After you have seen that, you must go quickly to his disciples. Tell them, “Jesus is alive again, and he is going to Galilee before you. You will see him there.” That is the message that I have brought for you.’

8 So the women went away quickly from the hole in the rock. They were very frightened, but also very happy. They ran to tell the disciples the angel’s message. 9 At that moment, Jesus met the two women. ‘Hello’, he said, and they went close to him. They held on to his feet and they said to him, ‘You are so powerful. You are very important and beautiful.’ 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and speak to my disciples. Say to them, “Brothers, Jesus says to you, ‘Go to Galilee. You will see me there.’ ” ’

The soldiers tell the leaders of the priests what happened

11 The women went to tell the disciples Jesus’ message. Some of the soldiers who had watched the rock also went into the city. These soldiers told the leaders of the priests everything that had happened at the rock. 12 The leaders of the priests and the important Jews met together. They talked about what they should do now. They decided to give the soldiers a lot of money so that they would obey them. 13 The leaders of the priests and the important Jews said to the soldiers, ‘You must say this to the people. “Jesus disciples came in the night and they took his body away. We were asleep when they did this.” 14 If Pilate hears about this, we will explain things to him. He will know that you did not do anything wrong.’

The leaders of the priests and the important Jews gave the soldiers money. Then the soldiers would not tell the people what had really happened.

15 The soldiers took the money. And they told the people, ‘Jesus’ disciples took the body away from the hole.’ The Jews still believe that this really happened.

Jesus appears to his apostles

16 After this, the 11 disciples went to Galilee. They went to the mountain where Jesus had asked them to go. 17 When they arrived at the place, they saw Jesus. Then they went down on their knees. They told Jesus how powerful and beautiful and important he is. But some of his disciples were not sure that it really was Jesus. 18 Jesus went close to them and he said to them, ‘God has given me all authority. I have authority over everyone and everything. I have all authority in heaven and in this world. 19 Go to the people in every country. Teach them how to become my disciples. Baptise them by the authority of God the Father, his Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will be with you until the end of time.’


 

Word List

AD
AD 50 means the year that was 50 years after Jesus came, and so on.
ancestors
the people in a family who lived a long time ago.
angel
a servant from God who brings his messages.
anxious, anxiety
when a person has troubled thoughts.
apostle
a special disciple of Jesus. These men had a special job to do for him. Their job was to tell other people about Jesus.
baptise, baptism
to put someone under water for a moment. They have done bad things. This shows God that they are sorry about all these bad things. Now they are going to obey God.
Baptist
a man who baptises people.
bridegroom
a man who will soon marry.
care, take care of
help someone who cannot help himself; do the good things that someone or something needs.
Christ
The Jews were waiting for God to send a special person to them. They called this person the Messiah. God had promised to send him. It means the person whom God sent to save people from punishment. He would also be the king of the Jews. He is the only person who can put us right with God. In the Greek language, the special person was called Christ.
cross
two pieces of wood fixed together.
desert
a desert is a very dry place. Often there is a lot of sand and stones. There are not many plants. Not many people live there.
devil
another name for Satan.
disciple
a person who wants to do the same things as another person, and learn from him; a person who agrees with Jesus; a person who does what Jesus teaches.
donkey
an animal like a small horse.
fig
a fruit that is good to eat.
forgive, forgiven
to show love and not remember bad things against someone. When God does not remember the wrong things that we do. He chooses to do this.
God’s Great House
the special big house in Jerusalem. The people met there to pray.
grapes
a fruit that people eat or make into wine.
Greek
the language that people from Greece speak.
hate
not like or love.
heaven
the place where God and Christ rule; the future home of the people who know God; the place where people will always be happy and without troubles.
Hell
a place where people are not happy; a place where people who do not know God go after death.
Holy Spirit
the name of one of the 3 persons who are God. He helps Christians to be more like God. We cannot see him. He makes people strong in their spirits.
hypocrites
these people say that they do one thing. But really they do something different. They want people to think that they are good. But really they are bad people.
Israel
all the people in the families of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose Israel to be his special people. The word can also mean the country that God gave to these people.
Jew, Jewish
a person that is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
judge
a person with authority to say if another person is right or wrong.
judge
to say what is right or wrong, good or bad.
justice
what is right and fair.
kingdom
the people and places that a king rules are his kingdom. The people that God rules are his kingdom. They are the Kingdom of God.
lamp
a light to use when it is dark; people burned oil in a dish to make a light; they called this a lamp.
laugh at
to laugh against someone.
Law
the Law of the Jewish people. God gave the Law to Moses for his people to obey.
laws
the rulers of countries make rules that people must obey.
lightning
bright light that shines quickly in a storm, before a loud noise.
Lord
someone whom we obey; a name for God or for Jesus.
needle
a thin sharp piece of metal. It has a small hole at one end.
net
people tie thin ropes together to make nets. People use nets to catch fish or birds.
olive
a tree that has fruit on it called olives. People make oil from olives.
Passover
an important holiday for the Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year. They remember that God took them away from Egypt. They were slaves in Egypt and Moses led them away.
Pharisees
a group of Jews. Pharisees went to a special school to learn God’s Laws. They thought that they obeyed all God’s rules. They did not like the things that Jesus taught. They thought that they did not do any wrong things. So they thought that they were very important and clever.
priest
a man that gave gifts and burned animals to God for the Jews. A man that God chose to do things for him.
prophet
a person that tells people messages from God; people that spoke for God a long time ago.
punish, punishment
to cause someone pain because they have done wrong things.
Roman
a person or thing from the city called Rome.
rooster
a large male bird; it makes a loud noise, early in the morning.
rope
a long thin piece of material; strong material that people use to tie things together.
Sabbath
the day when the Jews rested. They did no work.
Sadducees
a group of Jews who did not believe in heaven. They believed that dead people could not become alive again.
Samaria
a part of the country called Israel. It was between Galilee and Judea.
Samaritan
a person who lived in Samaria.
Satan
the bad angel that God sent away from heaven a long time ago.
silver
a valuable metal, but not as valuable as gold.
soil
the top part of the ground. Plants grow in it.
soul
the soul is a part of a person that we cannot see. Our soul is in us while we are alive. It lives on after we die.
spirit
the part of a person that is alive, but which we cannot see. It can speak to other spirits and to the soul. There are bad spirits and good spirits.
tax
the money that people must pay to the Government. People gave their taxes to men who worked for the government. They then gave this money to their rulers.
trumpet
thing which makes music, a loud noise; used to tell people to get ready for something.
vine
a plant that grows a fruit called grapes.
wheat
a plant that has many seeds. Farmers grow wheat and people make bread with the seeds.
whip
something used as a punishment to hit someone who has done wrong things.
wine
a drink made from grapes. It has alcohol in it.
wineskin
people kept wine in wineskins after they had made it. These were like bottles and they made them from the skin of animals.
yeast
people put yeast into flour and water to make bread. It grows in the bread. It makes the bread rise.

Book List

William Barclay ~ The Gospel of Matthew, Volumes 1 and 2 ~ Daily Study Bible

R. V. G. Tasker ~ The Gospel according to St Matthew ~ Tyndale Bible Commentaries

Barclay M. Newman and Philip C. Stine ~ A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew ~ United Bible Societies

Alfred Marshall ~ The interlinear NRSV-NIV. Parallel New Testament in Greek and English ~ Zondervan

Ruth Davies and Shirley Chapman ~ Hear this Good News for Everybody! An EasyEnglish Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) of the Gospel of Luke

Ruth Davies and Shirley Chapman ~ Mark tells us the Good News about Jesus. An EasyEnglish Version with Notes (1200 word vocabulary) of the Gospel of Mark

Bibles ~ N.I.V, R.S.V, G.N.V, C.E.V & T.E.V

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2006

This version published November 2006

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.