Jesus and his disciples travelled through Galilee. But Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was in the area, because he wanted to spend time alone with his disciples, giving further instruction. He told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” The disciples didn’t understand this, but they were afraid to ask him what it meant.
They finally came to Capernaum. When they had gone into a house, Jesus asked the disciples, “What was it that you were discussing on the road?” They didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest.
Jesus sat down, gathered the disciples around him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last, and the servant of everyone else.”
Then he called forward a little child. Taking the child in his arms, he said, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not only me but also the one who sent me.”
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name, but we told him to stop, because he wasn’t one of us.”
“Don’t stop him,” said Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can speak ill of me the next moment. Whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name will certainly not lose his reward.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who trusts in me – to stumble, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone round his neck. And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It’s better to enter life with one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It’s better to enter life with one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It’s better to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where the worms never die and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its savour, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”