Thursday, April 8, 2021
Fifth Day of Zadeeg
 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
 But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.
 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred with one another,
 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is manifest to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to any one in this name.”
 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge;
 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for all men praised God for what had happened.
 For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.
 When they were released they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them,
 who by the mouth of our father David, thy servant, didst say by the Holy Spirit, `Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples imagine vain things?
 The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’ —
 for truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
 to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place.
 And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and grant to thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness,
 while thou stretchest out thy hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of thy holy servant Jesus.”
 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.
 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;
 but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.
 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,
 for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.
 Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror;
 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.
 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.
 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them.
 But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.
 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?
 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America