1 At about that time Jesus was walking through some grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off heads of wheat and eating the grain.
2 Some Pharisees saw them do it and protested, "Your disciples shouldn't be doing that! It's against the law to work by harvesting grain on the Sabbath."
3 But Jesus said to them, "Haven't you ever read in the Scriptures what King David did when he and his companions were hungry?
4 He went into the house of God, and they ate the special bread reserved for the priests alone. That was breaking the law, too.
5 And haven't you ever read in the law of Moses that the priests on duty in the Temple may work on the Sabbath?
6 I tell you, there is one here who is even greater than the Temple!
7 But you would not have condemned those who aren't guilty if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: `I want you to be merciful; I don't want your sacrifices.'*1
8 For I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath."
9 Then he went over to the synagogue,
10 where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Is it legal to work by healing on the Sabbath day?" (They were, of course, hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)
11 And he answered, "If you had one sheep, and it fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn't you get to work and pull it out? Of course you would.
12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, it is right to do good on the Sabbath."
13 Then he said to the man, "Reach out your hand." The man reached out his hand, and it became normal, just like the other one.
14 Then the Pharisees called a meeting and discussed plans for killing Jesus.
15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. He left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them,
16 but he warned them not to say who he was.
17 This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
18 "Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, and I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.2
19 He will not fight or shout; he will not raise his voice in public.3
20 He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until he brings full justice with his final victory.4
21 And his name will be the hope of all the world."*5
22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was both blind and unable to talk, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.
23 The crowd was amazed. "Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?" they wondered out loud.
24 But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, "No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan,* the prince of demons."6
25 Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, "Any kingdom at war with itself is doomed. A city or home divided against itself is doomed.
26 And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive.
27 And if I am empowered by the prince of demons,* what about your own followers? They cast out demons, too, so they will judge you for what you have said.7
28 But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
29 Let me illustrate this. You can't enter a strong man's house and rob him without first tying him up. Only then can his house be robbed!*8
30 Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.
31 "Every sin or blasphemy can be forgiven--except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which can never be forgiven.
32 Anyone who blasphemes against me, the Son of Man, can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come.
33 "A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good, and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad, and its fruit will be bad.