n a particular day...a day which just happened to be the Sabbath...Jesus and His disciples were walking through some grain fields. As they moved along, casually talking with one another...not really thinking about anything, other than how hungry they all were...His men began to pick some heads of grain, rub them together in their hands, and pop the kernels in their mouths.
2. Some of the ever-present and always vigilant Pharisees somehow saw them doing this and asked, "Why are you rebels doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
3. Jesus quickly answered them, "Gentlemen, have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry?
4. If not, let Me remind you...he entered the house of God, took the consecrated bread, and ate what is lawful only for the priests to eat. And if that wasn't bad enough, according to religious standards, he also served it to his companions!"
5. Then Jesus said to them, "The bottom line is this...the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
6. On yet another Sabbath He went into the synagogue to teach, as He did so often during this period of His ministry. And there was a man there that day whose right hand was shriveled and deformed.
7. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law by this time were constantly looking for a reason to accuse Him of something...anything...so they watched Him closely to see if He would be so bold as to heal on the Sabbath.
8. But, as always, Jesus knew what these predictable men were thinking, so He said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Sir, please get up and stand in front of the people where everyone can see you." So, without asking any questions, the man got up and stood there.
9. Then Jesus looked at the Pharisees and said to them, "All right, let Me ask you all a question...which is lawful on the Sabbath...to do good or to do evil...to save life or to destroy it?"
10. No one said anything, so after He had stared at them blankly for a few moments, He turned to the man and said, "Stretch out your hand." And the man did just that, and as he did, his hand was completely restored and made normal.
11. But instead of being impressed or moved by the miracle, or by Jesus' power and authority, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were infuriated by this. He had embarrassed them one too many times, and had made their cherished rules and regulations seem silly and irrelevant. From this point they began to seriously discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus, and how they could effectively put a stop to Him, completely.
12. On another day Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and ended up spending the entire night in deep prayer.
13. At daybreak, He descended the mountain and called all of His disciples to Himself, and out of the whole number of them He chose twelve, whom He also designated as apostles.
14. The final group consisted of Simon, whom He named Peter, his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
15. Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon, who was a Zealot,
16. Judas, son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was destined to be used as a traitor.
17. Then He took His newly appointed group of twelve and stood out on a level place, where a large crowd of His other disciples surrounded Him. Soon a great throng began gathering there...people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon.
18. When the news got out that He was appearing like this, people came from everywhere to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases...and they got what they came for. Even those who were harassed by rebel spirits were made well and whole.
19. And the people all tried to get up close enough to Him to touch Him, because power was exuding from Him, and He was healing them all.
20. Then He began to teach. Looking at His disciples, He said: "Blessed are you who have lost everything, for in having to change your perspective on owning things in the material world, you are able to own the realities of the Kingdom of God.
21. Blessed are you who hunger now, for in identifying what it is that you really crave, you will ultimately be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep over what is missing in your life now, for the gift of laughter is coming with the revelation of all that is in the Kingdom.
22. And even consider yourself blessed when it seems that people hate you, and exclude you from their religious systems...when they insult you and reject your name as evil because of your affiliation with the Son of Man.
23. Rejoice in the day that you experience this kind of thing...yes, rejoice to the point that you literally leap for joy! Because when you survive such attacks, and come out on the other side of them even stronger...wiser...free from bitterness...all of heaven applauds! Remember, that is how their ancestors treated the prophets, and that kind of treatment actually shaped those men into greatness.
24. But there's a rude awakening ahead for those of you who have become rich through this present world system...those who have become selfish and smug to the point that you think your money can fix everything for you. What you have now is all you'll ever get.
25. There's also trouble ahead for those of you who are self-absorbed and self-satisfied...in the days to come you'll realize that a selfish life will only leave you empty and hollow in the end. And woe to you who don't take human relationships seriously...who laugh at the idea of making investments into the lives of others. It won't be so funny when you find yourself disconnected and all alone.
26. And watch out if you're only living for the approval of others...if you're so emotionally needy that you refuse to speak your own truth for fear of repercussions. Remember...your ancestors appeased and flattered false prophets, but in the end they turned on them for not being authentic.
27. But this is the main thing I want to say to those of you who are really hearing Me now, because it's the introduction to a whole new way of thinking...the door to a whole new world...and let Me tell you, it's a radical concept: love your enemies...treat well those who detest you, and pursue you with hatred...
28. Invoke a flood of blessings upon those who openly curse you, and sincerely pray for their happiness...ask for God's blessing and favor upon those who abuse and misuse you...
29. If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one to him or her, also... from whoever takes away your outer garment, don't withhold your undergarment...
30. If someone begs you for something that you have, give it to them...of him who takes away your goods, do not demand or require them back again...
31. Here is the summation of all of it...as you would like and desire that people would do to you, do exactly that to them!"
32. You must think this way if you want to create a new world, because if you only love those who love you, what's new and world-changing about that? Why should you even be commended for it? Even those who have no Kingdom mentality, whatsoever, love those who love them.
33. And if you're only kind to those who are kind to you, and only do favors for those who do favors for you, what's new and innovative about that? Any average sinner can do that.
34. Furthermore, if you lend money at interest to those from whom you hope to receive, why should anyone even pay attention to that? Every day sinners lend money at interest to other sinners, so as to recover as much again. There's nothing about that that is going to turn things around.
35. But love your enemies...I don't mean just tolerate and co-exist with them...I mean love them! Be kind and do good so that someone is blessed, whether you think they deserve it or not. And lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return...and don't complain and whine about it, either...consider nothing as lost! If you can do these things, you will tap into a whole new dimension, and it's from that realm that you will be rewarded. And your abundant reward will be rich and intense...and, most importantly, you will be bona fide sons of the Most High, thinking like He thinks...living like He lives...doing what He does...for He is kind and charitable and good, even to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked.
36. So be mercifully empathetic and responsive to the needs of people...become energized with the power of compassion...even as your Father exists in this realm.
37. And while I'm on the subject of the operation of this new world order, I will also tell you not to pronounce judgment on anyone, and you will live beyond the authority of any one's judgment on your life...do not condemn or pronounce guilt on anyone, and you will exist beyond the reach of condemnation and personal guilt...acquit, forgive and release others from your agendas and opinions, and you will never be limited by the agendas and opinions of others.
38. And give...give generously and freely...because if you do, gifts will be lavished upon you...and these gifts will be abundant (to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of the Kingdom), packed down (to make room for more), shaken together (to make sure that you never receive filler), and running all over the place (so that you never have a sense of lack)! People will come into your life just to give to you, and this is the way that they will pour into the pouch formed by the bosom of your robe and used as a bag. You define your own terms in this, for with the same measure you deal out...with the measure you use when you confer benefits on others...it will be measured back to you!"
39. He went on to tell them a proverb: "Can a blind person guide and direct another blind person? Won't they both stumble into a ditch or a hole in the ground?
40. You see, a pupil is not superior to his or her teacher, but every individual, when he or she is completely trained and properly readjusted will be like his or her teacher.
41. With that in mind, let Me ask you...why do you so easily notice the tiny speck that is in the eye of your brother or sister, when you are oblivious to the beam of timber that is in your own eye?
42. And how can you have the nerve to say to that brother or sister, 'Hey, allow me to take out the splinter of wood that is in your eye, when you yourself do not even notice the enormous log that is in your own eye? What kind of phony game are you playing? First take the timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly how to perceive whatever is in your brother's or sister's eye.
43. For there is no healthy tree that bears diseased fruit...on the other hand, a diseased tree can't produce healthy fruit...it's just that simple.
44. Furthermore, each tree is identified by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor is a cluster of grapes ever picked from a bramblebush.
45. The person who is known as honorable and virtuous, out of the good treasure stored in his or her heart, produces what is honorable and virtuous...and the evil person who manifests as evil, out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is unacceptable. For out of the abundant overflow of the inner individual, the mouth speaks.
46. Speaking of being honorable, let Me ask you...why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord', and do not simply practice what I tell you?
47. Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words...I mean really listens and understands my intentions...I will demonstrate to you what he or she is like:
48. That person is like a man who built a house...who dug and went down deep and laid a good foundation upon the rock. And when a flood arose, and all manner of inclement weather beat upon the house, the basic structure could not be shaken or moved at all, because it had been securely built on bedrock.
49. But, by the same token, he or she who merely hears but does not practice doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation...a man who built on sand. When the bad weather came against what he had built, immediately it collapsed and fell...and the fall of that house was dramatic and complete.