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Luke  ◦   Chapter 13

1Some people in the crowd, thinking themselves favored of God because of their good fortune, and having morbid satisfaction at the misfortune of others, told Jesus about some Galileans who were massacred by Pilate while offering sacrifices thus having their blood mixed with the blood of the sacrifice.2Jesus cut right to the point: "Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than you and all others because they died in this way?3Let me make this absolutely clear: No, they were not! But unless you experience a change in your hearts from selfishness to love, you will all die.4Do you think those eighteen who died when the tower at Siloam fell on them were more evil, more guilty of sin, than you or all others living in Jerusalem?5Let me make this absolutely clear: No, they were not! But unless you experience a change in your hearts from selfishness to love, you will all die."

6Then he told them this parable: "A man had a fig tree in his garden, but when he went to look for fruit, there was none.7So he said to the gardener, 'I've come looking for fruit on this tree for three years and have never found any. Cut it down! Why should it draw nutrients from the soil only for them to be wasted?'8But the gardener replied, 'Sir, give it one more year. I'll invest more into it, dig around it, and fertilize it.9If next year it bears fruit, awesome, but if not, then cut it down.' "

10One Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the worship centers;11a woman was there whose mind had been oppressed by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She looked oppressed and was severely bent over and unable to stand up straight, no matter how hard she tried.12Jesus, when he saw her, said to her, "Dear lady, you are set free."13Then he put his hands upon her, and she immediately stood straight up, smiling and praising God.

14The worship center leader was outraged that Jesus had healed this poor woman on the Sabbath and said to the people in attendance, "God has given six days in each week to do work. So come and be healed on one of those days. Don't break the Sabbath by coming to be healed on it."

15The Lord defended God's character. "You fraud! You misrepresent God and the Sabbath. Doesn't each one of you on the Sabbath take your donkey or ox out of the stall and give it water?16Then should not this poor lady — a daughter of Abraham, one of God's children — who has been bound by Satan for eighteen miserable years, be set free of what bound her, on the Sabbath day?"

17The truth of what he said stung the pride of his enemies, but the people were thrilled with his wisdom and all the amazing things he was doing.

18Jesus asked them, "How do I explain to you what God's kingdom of love is like? What example should I use?19It is like a mustard seed, so small, yet when planted in the good soil of the garden, it grows and becomes a tree whose branches provide shade and comfort to the birds. Consider how the smallest act of love is like that seed."

20Again he asked, "How do I explain God's kingdom of love to you? What example can I use?21God's kingdom of love is like yeast mixed into a large amount of flour until it permeates the entire dough."

22Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem, going through towns and villages and teaching as he went.23Someone along the way asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He told them,24"Be determined to be reconciled to God and choose his methods of love, because many will try other theories, philosophies, and teachings but will not be able to enter.25And once the owner of the house has closed the door, you will bang and plead, 'Sir, please open the door for us!' But he will answer, 'We were never friends; your hearts are not united in love with me and you don't practice my methods.'

26"Then you will say, 'Of course we do! We ate and drank with you and you taught in our cities.'

27"But he will reply, 'We were never friends. Your hearts are not united in love with me and you don't practice my methods. Depart, because your hearts are hardened in selfishness.'

28"Oh, there will be terrible torment of mind and agony of heart when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all God's spokespersons in God's kingdom of love, but you will be outcasts.29People from every corner of the earth, those who have partaken the Remedy, will be seated at God's great celebration banquet.30Those who think they deserve to be first will find themselves last, while those who are humble and consider themselves last will find themselves first in God's kingdom of love."

31As he finished saying this, some legal theologians from the Pharisee sect came to Jesus and said, "You better leave here and do it quickly. Herod wants to kill you."

32Jesus instructed them, "Go and tell that fox that I will continue my mission of advancing the kingdom of love. I will drive out demons and heal people for two more days, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'33Regardless, I must keep advancing for the next three days — for surely no spokesperson of God can die outside Jerusalem!

34"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you sick and hard-hearted people who have rejected the Remedy, killed God's spokespersons and stoned those sent to you with the cure! How my heart has longed to pull you to safety, like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me.35Look around; I leave your house to you, abandoned without Remedy, infected and without cure. I tell you plainly you won't see me again until you say, 'He is the One sent by God to reveal God's true character and provide the Remedy.' "