Once Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples asked him, “Lord, please teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
Jesus told them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, let your name be honored as holy. May your kingdom come. Give us every day the food we need. Forgive us our sins, just as we forgive everyone who sins against us. Keep us from temptation.’ ”
Jesus went on to tell them, “Say you have a friend and you go to him in the middle of the night and ask, ‘My friend, lend me three loaves of bread because a friend of mine has come to visit me, and I don't have any food to give him.’ Your friend in the house might reply, ‘Don't bother meI've already locked the door, and I and my children have gone to bed. I can't get up to give you anything now.’ I tell you, even though he refuses to get up and give you anything, despite you being his friend, if you are persistent, your friend will get up and give you everything you need.
I tell you: ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and everyone who seeks, finds; and to everyone who knocks the door will be opened. 11 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, would give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, would you give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, even though you are evil, still know to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
14 Jesus was driving out a demon that had made a man dumb. When the demon had left, the man who was dumb spoke, and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He is driving out demons using the power of Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” 16 Others were trying to test Jesus by demanding a miraculous sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Any kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed. A family* divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? You say that I cast out demons using the power of Beelzebub. 19 But if I drive out demons by the power of Beelzebub, by whose power do your own people drive them out? They themselves will condemn you as wrong!
20 However, if I am driving out demons by the power of God, then this proves God's kingdom has arrived. It's right here among you! 21 When a strong man who is fully armed guards his house, all he owns is safe. 22 But if a stronger man comes and defeats him, taking from him all his weapons that he depended on, then he can carry off all his possessions. 23 Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who doesn't build together with me is breaking it all apart.
24 When an evil spirit leaves someone, it goes through the desert looking for a place to stay. When it doesn't find anywhere, it says, ‘I'll return to the house I left.’ 25 When it returns, it finds its old home is swept and tidy. 26 So it goes and finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there. In the end that man is worse off than before.”
27 As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb from where you came and the breasts that nursed you.” 28 But Jesus said, “Even more blessed are those who hear God's word, and follow what it says.”
29 As people crowded around him, Jesus began telling them, “This is an evil generation for it's looking for some miraculous sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 In the same way that Jonah was a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be a sign to this generation. 31 The queen of the south will rise in the judgment together with the people of this generation and will condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon's wisdom, and now there is someone greater than Solomon here! 32 The people of Nineveh rise in the judgment together with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented when they heard Jonah's message, and now there's someone greater than Jonah here! 33 No one lights a lamp and then hides it or places it under a bowl. No, you put it on a lamp stand so that those who come into the house can see the light. 34 Your eye is the light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body is in the dark. 35 So make sure the light you have in you is not actually darkness. 36 If your whole body is full of light, with no areas of darkness, then it will be completely illuminated, just as a bright lamp gives you light.”
37 After Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to come and eat with him. So Jesus went and sat down to a meal. 38 The Pharisee was surprised that Jesus didn't wash his hands before eating as ceremonially required. 39 So the Lord told him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you're full of greed and wickedness. 40 You're so foolish! Don't you think the one who made the outside made the inside as well? 41 If, acting from within, you do acts of kindness to others, then everything will be clean to you. 42 Shame on you Pharisees! You pay tithe on herbs and plants, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You need to pay attention to the latter, while not leaving the former things undone. 43 Shame on you Pharisees! You love to have the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect when you go to the markets. 44 Shame on you! You are like unmarked graves that people walk over without knowing.”
45 One of the experts in religious law reacted, saying, “Teacher, when you talk like this, you're insulting us too!”
46 Jesus replied, “Shame on you lawyers too! You place burdens on people that are too hard to carry, but you don't lift a finger to help them. 47 Shame on you! You build memorial tombs to honor the prophets, but it was your own fathers who killed them in the first place! 48 By doing this you are witnesses showing that you agree with what your fathers did. They killed the prophets, and you build their tombs!
49 This is why God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will kill, and others they will persecute.’ 50 Consequently, this generation will be held accountable for the blood of all the prophets shed from the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel right up to the blood of Zachariah who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held accountable for all of it. 52 Shame on you lawyers! You have removed the key of knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you prevented others from going in too.”
53 As Jesus was leaving, the religious teachers and the Pharisees began to attack him aggressively, asking questions to provoke him. 54 They were hoping to catch him out, trying to get him to say something they could use against him.
* 11:17 Literally, “house.” 11:19 Literally, “sons.” 11:42 Literally, “mint and rue.”