37. The next day, a crowd of needy people was waiting for them at the foot of the mountain.
38. As they approached the throng, a man from the crowd shouted out, “Lord, please have mercy on my only son!
39. He has a terrible condition...a harassing spirit that causes severe, epileptic-type seizures which manifest, frequently…and when they do, he foams at the mouth and convulses...and this thing won't leave him alone.
40. I brought him to Your disciples to see if they could help him, but they weren’t able to do a thing for him."
41. Frustrated, Jesus answered, “Oh, you unbelieving, clueless, and backward generation! How long am I supposed to demonstrate dominion before you? How many miracles is it going to take before you realize the power that you already have?! Bring him here to Me.”
42. But while he was coming, the spirit threw him down and convulsed him. So Jesus calmly told it to stop showing off, and then expelled it. He also healed the boy of any physical damage caused by the manifestations, and restored him to his father.
43. Everyone there was astounded at this amazing demonstration of God's obvious power. But while they were all marveling at everything Jesus was doing, He turned to His disciples, seemingly unaffected by the amazement of the crowd, and said,
44. "Listen, you must comprehend this...the Son of Man is about to be betrayed and turned over into the hands of carnal men."
45. But they weren't able to grasp it...it was as if it was kept hidden from them so that they couldn't understand...and on some level they were afraid to ask Him anything about the statement. It was as if He never even said it.
46. Not long after this, a controversy arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest and the most superior.
47. But Jesus, perceiving their selfish ambition and hidden agendas by the Spirit, took an unpretentious little child and put Him at His side.
48. Then He said to them, "You should know that I am so identified with these little ones, I can tell you that whoever receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates one little child like this for My sake, and in My name, receives and loves and welcomes and celebrates Me. And whoever so receives Me so also receives Him Who sent Me, because, in this new Kingdom-reality, he who is perceived to be the least and lowliest among you all is the one who is truly great."
49. Changing the subject entirely, John spoke up and said, "Lord, we saw a man driving out rebel spirits in Your name, and we commanded him to stop it because he is not one of us...we didn't approve or sanction him, so we told him that he was completely out of order to do such things."
50. But Jesus said to him, "You really shouldn't have done that...you need to change your paradigm of people like him, and realize that whoever is not against you is for you!"
51. Now as the time approached for Jesus to leave the physical world and re-enter the heavenly realm, He made it His intention to make the journey to Jerusalem.
52. So He sent messengers before Him, and they entered a Samaritan village to make preparations for His visit.
53. But when the local people in Samaria learned that His ultimate destination was Jerusalem, they refused Him hospitality.
54. When His disciples, James and John, observed this, they were incensed and said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, as Elijah did?"
55. But He instantly snapped at them, saying, "You don't even know of what sort of spirit you are;
56. You should know by now that the Son of Man did not come to destroy people's lives, but to save them!" And without any confrontation, they journeyed on to another village.
57. And it occurred that as they were going along the road, a man came up to Him and said, "Lord, I want to follow You wherever You go!"
58. And Jesus replied, "Oh? Do you really? Listen...foxes have holes in which to lurk, and the birds of the air have nests in which to roost...but the Son of Man lives the life of a vagabond...when He is in ministry mode, He has no physical place to lay His head."
59. Then He said to another, "I want you to become My disciple, and accompany Me!" But the man replied, "Lord, permit me first to go and await the death of my father so that I can give him a decent burial."
60. But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead...but as for you, in the meantime, go and publish abroad throughout the whole area the Kingdom of God."
61. Yet another approached Him and said, "I will follow You, Lord, and become Your disciple...become one of Your very own...but let me first say good-bye to those at my home."
62. Jesus said to him, "No you won't...no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back to the things behind is fit for the stewardship of the Kingdom of God."