God creates each person for good works, but faith and salvation remain gifts that people can never truly merit. By telling a story about a man who died within a day of making plans to slack off after a bountiful harvest, Jesus challenged the faithful not to store up earthly treasure at the expense of what matters to God. On the other hand, like a gardener cultivating and fertilizing so that an unproductive fig tree might, at last, bear fruit, the Lord does not give up on people. Without knowing how long a lifetime will last, followers of Jesus

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Jonah warned the Ninevites to repent, and they did. The Queen of Sheba heard about the wisdom of Solomon and went to him with questions. Jesus offered something greater—the key to unlock understanding of the law and prophets. Skipping the ritual washing before a meal to help make a point, the Lord advised the Pharisees on hand to work on cleansing evil from within themselves. They could receive forgiveness for whatever they said against Jesus. “Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit” would not be forgiven because it means refusal to accept G

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Knowing the Commandments to love God and neighbor, a scholar of the law intent on justifying himself asked Jesus to define neighbor. The Lord answered with a parable in which His listeners would have pegged a Samaritan as the least likely of three passersby to help the victim of a brutal robbery. In another parable, Jesus depicted a traveler arriving late at night, prompting his host to pester a friend into getting up and supplying some bread for a midnight snack. God recognizes that people want quick answers to prayers and rewards faithful per

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After a man named Job lost his work animals, his herd of sheep, and even his children, he came close to losing his faith. Admitting that he didn’t understand why so much hardship had befallen him, Job received the blessings of a long line of descendants and a return to prosperity. Nathanael recognized the Son of God when he met Jesus for the first time and realized that the Lord already knew him. Exhibiting rather childish behavior, the Disciples argued about who was greatest, and John needlessly tattled to Jesus that someone unknown had invo

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When invited by the Lord to follow Him, Matthew threw a party where Jesus gladly ate with sinners. Our Lord taught that He counts anyone who hears and acts on the Word of God as family. Herod the Tetrarch (son of Herod at the time of Jesus’ birth) had John the Baptist beheaded. Rumors swirled that John, Elijah, or one of the other prophets had come back to life in Jesus. When the Lord asked the Disciples their opinion, Peter called Jesus the Christ. Although Jesus said that He would suffer and die at the hands of men, the Disciples did not un

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As a military officer, a centurion knew that words can command. Admittedly unworthy to have Jesus under his roof, the centurion sent messengers to ask the Lord to just say the word that would heal a gravely ill slave. No one even had to ask for the Lord’s help when He came upon a widow whose son had just died. Jesus cured the slave and raised the widow’s son. When Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee, came to Jesus under the cover of night to learn from Him, the Lord said that God sent His Son to save the world. By comparing God’s Word to seed s

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Proclaiming blessed hope for people discouraged, hungry, or distraught, the Lord wants people to build upon His words through their actions. Scribes and Pharisees stayed continually on the lookout for what Jesus would do. For instance, when a man with a withered hand appeared in the synagogue, would the Lord cure him on the Sabbath? No one answered when Jesus asked if the law forbade doing something good that day, and our Lord readily worked the miracle. Before choosing the Twelve, Jesus spent a night in prayer. In a parable, He compared a spli

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