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Luke  ◦   Chapter 18

1Then Jesus told a parable to his interns to help them understand the importance of regular conversations with God and not quit talking with him.2He said: "There was a judge who didn't believe in God or care about the welfare of people.3And a widow, who had been exploited, kept petitioning the judge to do what was right and restore what her adversary had taken.

4"The judge refused for a long time, but he finally said to himself, 'Even though I don't believe in God or care about people,5I am tired of this woman bothering me, so I will do what is right and she will finally leave me alone!' "

6Then the Lord explained: "Take a lesson from this unjust and godless judge:7If he — not caring about anyone but himself — finally did the right thing, won't God set all things right for his children who cry out to him constantly? Will he ignore them?8I tell you truly, he will set all things right, and quickly. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any on earth who trust him to set things right?"

9Some of the people were self-righteous and so confident in themselves that they looked down on everyone else, so Jesus told them this parable: 10"Two men went to church to pray: one was a Pharisee, known for obeying all the rules of the church, the other–a tax collector.11The Pharisee stood up so people would see him, and began praying about how good he was: 'God, thank you so much. I am better than others and not like the lowly robbers, rapists, addicts–or even like this tax collector.12I eat only the right foods and pay a pre-tax tithe.'

13"But the tax collector, avoiding the attention of others, found a quiet place, bowed his head low, and not even looking toward heaven, beat his breast in grief and begged, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

14"I tell you the truth, it was this humble man–not the other–that went home with a heart set right with God. For anyone who promotes self will destroy themself, but whoever surrenders self to God in love will be fully healed and exalted."

15Parents brought their babies to Jesus for him to touch and bless them. When the interns saw this, they began telling the parents not to bother Jesus.16But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the children come to me, and don't put any barriers up to make it difficult for them, for God's kingdom of love is for ones just like these.17The truth is, anyone who will not receive God's kingdom of love like these children do — with an open and receptive heart — will never be part of it."

18A wealthy leader asked Jesus, "Good Doctor, what act must I do to obtain eternal life?"

19Jesus, seeking to open his mind to the truth of who Jesus really was, asked, "Why do you call me 'good'? There is only One who is the source of good, and it is God.20You know God's directives for living in harmony with his design of love: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, and honor your father and mother.' "

21"I have done every one of these since childhood," the man said, "yet I still don't have peace. What am I missing?"

22Jesus heard his answer and said, "One thing you still need to do: If you want to be perfectly healed and have a right character, you must let go of your earthly possessions which you cling to as evidence of your good standing with God. Instead, sell your possessions, and in love, give all you have to bless the poor, and you will have a rich reward in heaven's kingdom of love. Then come and join me, and live as I do."

23When the young man heard this, it grieved him deeply because he had great wealth, and his heart was tied to his possessions.24Jesus looked at him and said, "It is hard for those who are rich — who derive a sense of security from their possessions — to surrender all and enter into heaven's kingdom of love and trust.25In truth, it is easier for a camel to kneel down, remove its load, and crawl through the small gate known as the 'eye of a needle' than for a rich person to humble themself, surrender their wealth, and enter God's kingdom of love and trust."

26The interns who heard this were dumbfounded because they were biased by their culture to believe that wealth was a sign of being right with God. So they asked, "If not the rich, then who can possibly be saved?"

27Jesus looked directly at them and said, "Humans have no chance of curing their own terminal condition. The only possibility for eternal life is to trust God and partake of the Remedy."

28Peter said to him, "We've left everything we have to follow you!"

29Jesus replied, "I tell you truly, no person who has left home, or spouse, or siblings, or parents or children to partake of the Remedy and be part of God's kingdom of love30will fail to receive much more here and now, and eternal life when all is made new."

31Jesus had a private meeting with the Twelve and told them, "We are now going to Jerusalem where all the prophecies written about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.32His own people will reject him and turn him over to the Romans. They will mock him, curse him, call him names, spit on him, beat him, and then kill him.33But on the third day, he will arise from the dead."

34The Twelve didn't understand what he meant: biased by so much tradition, they couldn't comprehend the meaning of Jesus' words.

35As Jesus approached Jericho, he encountered a blind man begging beside the road.36When the blind man heard the crowd passing by, he asked, "What's going on?"37They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is coming through."

38He immediately began shouting, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

39The people leading the procession told him to be quiet and not to bother Jesus, but he shouted even louder, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

40Jesus stopped and told them to bring the man to him. When he was before Jesus, Jesus asked him,41"What would you have me do for you?" "Lord, I want to see!" the man cried.

42Jesus smiled and said, "Then see! Your trust in me has healed you."43Immediately his sight was restored, and he followed Jesus, shouting praises to God. When the crowd saw it, they also praised God.