As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.
‘The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.
‘No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.’
When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus didn’t first wash before the meal.
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you’re full of greed and wickedness. Fools! Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what’s inside you – be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practised the latter without leaving the former undone.
‘Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the market-places.
‘Woe to you, because you’re like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.’
One of the experts in the law answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.’
Jesus replied, ‘And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves won’t lift one finger to help them.
‘Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, “I’ll send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they’ll kill and others they’ll persecute.” Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that’s been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
‘Woe to you experts in the law, because you’ve taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves haven’t entered, and you’ve hindered those who were entering.’
When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.