"Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment.
"Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service ? He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD--with the first of them and with the last--I am he."
The islands have seen it and fear; the ends of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward;
each helps the other and says to his brother, "Be strong!"
The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and he who smooths with the hammer spurs on him who strikes the anvil. He says of the welding, "It is good." He nails down the idol so it will not topple.
"But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
"All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.
Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all.
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you," declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
"See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.
You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the LORD and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.
I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together,
so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
"Present your case," says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King.
"Bring in [ your idols] to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come,
tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable.
"I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes-- one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay.
Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, 'He was right'? No one told of this, no one foretold it, no one heard any words from you.
I was the first to tell Zion, 'Look, here they are!' I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good tidings.
I look but there is no one-- no one among them to give counsel, no one to give answer when I ask them.
See, they are all false! Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion.
When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum.
There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die.
The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.
When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this,
because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."
So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.
That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed.
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel."10
Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.
As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out--the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.
When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry."14
Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!"15
The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people."
This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them,
he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"
When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' "
At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.23Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."24
After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?25If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces.26But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.27This is the one about whom it is written: " 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'28I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."29
(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus' words, acknowledged that God's way was right, because they had been baptized by John.
But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
31"To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like?32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: " 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.'33For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.'34The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." '35But wisdom is proved right by all her children."
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.
When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner."
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said.
41"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"43
Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."48
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."49
The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,
and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable:
5"A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up.6Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants.8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."9
His disciples asked him what this parable meant.
He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, " 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'11"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God.12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.13Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
16"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.17For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him."
Now Jesus' mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd.
Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you."
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."
One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out.
As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.
When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!"
For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.
Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him.
And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission.
When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside,
and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured.
Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.
The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39"Return home and tell how much God has done for you." So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Now when Jesus returned, a crowd welcomed him, for they were all expecting him.
Then a man named Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house
because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him.
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.
She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.
45"Who touched me?" Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you."
But Jesus said, "Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me."47
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.
Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."49
While Jesus was still speaking, someone came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," he said. "Don't bother the teacher any more."
Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed."51
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child's father and mother.
Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep."53
They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead.
But he took her by the hand and said, "My child, get up!"55
Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.
Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his law the islands will put their hope."
This is what God the LORD says-- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
"I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."
Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.
Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops.
Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.
The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
"For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.
I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.
But those who trust in idols, who say to images, 'You are our gods,' will be turned back in utter shame.
"Hear, you deaf; look, you blind, and see!
Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one committed to me, blind like the servant of the LORD?
You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing."
It pleased the LORD for the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious.
But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They have become plunder, with no one to rescue them; they have been made loot, with no one to say, "Send them back."
Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?
Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law.
So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.