THE more the Jews talked with Jesus, the more angry they became, and the more anxious they were to take him and destroy him; but the great God looked down, as he always does, and gave Jesus the protecting care of mighty angels, so that no harm could befall him till the time should come for him to give his life for the world. So Jesus escaped from these cruel persecutors, and went away again beyond Jordan to the place where John baptized. Here he abode for some time. While he was in this place great numbers of people came to him; and when they heard his words of wisdom, many believed on him, saying, "John did no miracle, but all things that John spake of this man were true." 

Soon Jesus began to travel through the country, on the east side of the Jordan, visiting the principal cities and villages, teaching the people and healing the, sick as he went, and steadily making his way toward Jerusalem. "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait [narrow] gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 

When once the master of the house is risen up, and has shut to the door, and ye begin, to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God." Now Jesus did not mean to teach that there are any who cannot gain a home in heaven if they strive for it in the way that God has marked out; but many will fail because they will be careless, and take their own way instead of being diligent, and doing exactly as God has commanded us to do. They may think that, because they have met and worshiped with the people of God, have made a good profession, and have done many good things, the Lord will, for this reason, certainly accept them; but still they will be shut out of heaven if they have tried to serve God in their own way, instead of taking the way that he has recommended in his word. When God has told us how we ought to do, it is not safe to think that some other way will do just as well. 

Jesus was now journeying and preaching in the country where Herod Antipas ruled. This was the Herod who had beheaded John the Baptist; and the Pharisees tried to frighten Jesus by saying to him, "Get thee out, and depart hence; for Herod will kill thee." Jesus, however, gave them to understand that all things would go on just as God had decreed, and that he, like the prophets, would perish in Jerusalem, a city over which Herod had no control. 

"And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath-day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was, a certain man before him which had the dropsy." And Jesus said to the lawyers and Pharisees that were present, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?" These men, fearing to answer either way, said nothing. Then Jesus took the man, and healed him, and let him go. 

After the miracle was performed, Jesus said, "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath-day?" 

The proud Jewish teachers were so confounded by these words of Jesus, that they could say nothing against what he had done; yet they were ashamed to acknowledge that he was right, and would not accept him as their Saviour; so they went on in their stubborn course, hardening their hearts, and making it more difficult every day to yield their will to the will of God. Let us all be careful not to do as they did.