Friday, May 14, 2021
Forty-first Day of Zadeeg
I John 4:7-21
 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
 You know the commandments: `Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”
 And he said, “All these I have observed from my youth.”
 And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
 But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich.
 Jesus looking at him said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!
 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
 But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
 And Peter said, “Lo, we have left our homes and followed you.”
 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
 who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished.
 For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon;
 they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” And he said, “Do you know Greek?
 Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?”
 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cili’cia, a citizen of no mean city; I beg you, let me speak to the people.”
 And when he had given him leave, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people; and when there was a great hush, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying:
 “Brethren and fathers, hear the defense which I now make before you.”
 And when they heard that he addressed them in the Hebrew language, they were the more quiet. And he said:
 “I am a Jew, born at Tarsus in Cili’cia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gama’li-el, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as you all are this day.
 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women,
 as the high priest and the whole council of elders bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brethren, and I journeyed to Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
 “As I made my journey and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me.
 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
 And I answered, `Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’
 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
 And I said, `What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, `Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’
 And when I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
 “And one Anani’as, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there,
 came to me, and standing by me said to me, `Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And in that very hour I received my sight and saw him.
 And he said, `The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;
 for you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.
 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance
 and saw him saying to me, `Make haste and get quickly out of Jerusalem, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’
 And I said, `Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in thee.
 And when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by and approving, and keeping the garments of those who killed him.’
 And he said to me, `Depart; for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”
 Up to this word they listened to him; then they lifted up their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he ought not to live.”
 And as they cried out and waved their garments and threw dust into the air,
 the tribune commanded him to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by scourging, to find out why they shouted thus against him.
 But when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?”
 When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen.”
 So the tribune came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.”
 The tribune answered, “I bought this citizenship for a large sum.” Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
 So those who were about to examine him withdrew from him instantly; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
I John 4:7-21
 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.
 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.
 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.
 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
 In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world.
 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.
 We love, because he first loved us.
 If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
 And this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should love his brother also.
 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs.
 If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.”
 But one of them, Ca’iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all;
 you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.”
 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation,
 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
 So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.
 Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but went from there to the country near the wilderness, to a town called E’phraim; and there he stayed with the disciples.
 And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”
 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
 He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
 The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?”
 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
 When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
 Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?”
 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
 And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.
 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went.
 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?’
 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.’
 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’
 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,
 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
 Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.”
 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”
 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America