1 About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were sacrificing at the Temple in Jerusalem.
2 "Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than other people from Galilee?" he asked. "Is that why they suffered?
3 Not at all! And you will also perish unless you turn from your evil ways and turn to God.
4 And what about the eighteen men who died when the Tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem?
5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will also perish."
6 Then Jesus used this illustration: "A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.
7 Finally, he said to his gardener, `I've waited three years, and there hasn't been a single fig! Cut it down. It's taking up space we can use for something else.'
8 "The gardener answered, `Give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.
9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, you can cut it down.' "
10 One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue,
11 he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight.
12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are healed of your sickness!"
13 Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised and thanked God!
14 But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. "There are six days of the week for working," he said to the crowd. "Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath."
15 But the Lord replied, "You hypocrite! You work on the Sabbath day! Don't you untie your ox or your donkey from their stalls on the Sabbath and lead them out for water?
16 Wasn't it necessary for me, even on the Sabbath day, to free this dear woman* from the bondage in which Satan has held her for eighteen years?"1
17 This shamed his enemies. And all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.
18 Then Jesus said, "What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it?
19 It is like a tiny mustard seed planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds come and find shelter among its branches."
20 He also asked, "What else is the Kingdom of God like?
21 It is like yeast used by a woman making bread. Even though she used a large amount* of flour, the yeast permeated every part of the dough."2
22 Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem.
23 Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" He replied,
24 "The door to heaven is narrow. Work hard to get in, because many will try to enter,
25 but when the head of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. Then you will stand outside knocking and pleading, `Lord, open the door for us!' But he will reply, `I do not know you.'
26 You will say, `But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'
27 And he will reply, `I tell you, I don't know you. Go away, all you who do evil.'
28 "And there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets within the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out.
29 Then people will come from all over the world to take their places in the Kingdom of God.
30 And note this: Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then; and some who are greatly honored now will be despised then.*"3
31 A few minutes later some Pharisees said to him, "Get out of here if you want to live, because Herod Antipas wants to kill you!"
32 Jesus replied, "Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and doing miracles of healing today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose.