After Jesus let Peter off the hook for prematurely telling a tax collector that He had paid the temple tax, the Lord provided a coin in the mouth of a fish for Peter to pay up for both of them. God readily forgives but also wants sinners to mend their ways. When Peter thought that forgiving someone seven times seemed generous, Jesus said that 77 times sounded better. Pharisees pointed out that Moses had allowed divorce. Refusing to take the bait, Jesus explained that some marriages lacked validity in the first place. While Jesus promised the gr

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Jesus withdrew after the death of John the Baptist but could not ignore the overriding compassion He felt for the crowd that soon found Him. A Canaanite woman saw Jesus as the One who could heal her daughter. He echoed what the Israelites thought by saying that dogs should not get food meant for children. She answered that even dogs get table scraps, and Jesus worked the miracle. The Lord gave the Disciples power, but their faith remained imperfect. Peter started to sink when Jesus invited him to walk on water toward Him. The Disciples could no

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Jesus used down-to-earth examples when He compared the Kingdom of heaven to a tiny mustard seed that becomes a huge plant, a little yeast that raises a whole batch of dough, or one treasure worth more than all other belongings combined. In His hometown, people took offense when Jesus, son of the local carpenter and Mary, taught in their synagogue without the usual credentials. A friend named Martha wanted Jesus to tell Mary, her sister, to help with serving. Jesus said that Mary had the right idea by listening to Him with undivided attention. A

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Conquered and brought to Egypt as slaves, ancient Israelites endured before God appointed Moses to lead them to freedom, parted the sea for their escape, and provided food in the desert—all signs of the Lord’s love. Scribes and Pharisees wanted Jesus to give them a new sign. Instead, He said that the notoriously sinful people of Nineveh repented when the prophet Jonah warned them of God’s anger. The lesson still applied. To a vast crowd, Jesus told a parable of seed falling on hard, rocky, weed-choked, and good ground. When God’s Word t

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Pharisees demanded the observance of hundreds of rules and rituals. Jesus lightened the load. For example, He allowed the Disciples to pick and eat heads of grain while walking along on a Sabbath day. On the other hand, the Lord encountered people who saw miraculous works but failed to look at their need to repent. Now, that was a problem! Towns and even families disputed what to believe as the Lord ministered among Jews and Gentiles. Jesus taught anyone listening that abandoning the weight of sinfulness provides strength to carry the crosses o

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In the Book of Genesis, Abraham’s grandson Joseph got sold into slavery, while his jealous brothers led their father to believe that a wild animal killed him. Joseph rose to power and forgave them, pointing out that God can turn treachery to salvific purpose. In the New Testament, Jesus mercifully cured a woman of hemorrhaging, restored life to an official’s daughter, and enabled a mute man to speak. Comparing crowds around Him to sheep without a shepherd, the Lord sent the Twelve to heal in His name and proclaim the Kingdom of heaven at ha

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Matthew, newly called as a Disciple, invited Jesus to a party among tax collectors and sinners. They needed Him! When scribes regarded Jesus’ forgiveness of sins as blasphemy, He showed His authority by telling a paralytic to rise and walk. Although Peter denied knowing Jesus right before the Crucifixion, the Risen Lord forgave and said to keep on following Him. Saint Paul became an Apostle later and compared Jesus to an archway’s capstone that prevents the wall from collapsing. Jesus holds believers together as Church and provides the door

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