But now, this is what the LORD says-- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true."
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed and saved and proclaimed-- I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God.
Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?"
This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians, in the ships in which they took pride.
I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israel's Creator, your King."
This is what the LORD says-- he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
"Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.
You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense.
You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offenses.
"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.
Your first father sinned; your spokesmen rebelled against me.
So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple, and I will consign Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
He told them: "Take nothing for the journey--no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.5If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them."6
So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead,
others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.
But Herod said, "I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him.
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida,
but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.
Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, "Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here."
He replied, "You give them something to eat." They answered, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish--unless we go and buy food for all this crowd."
(About five thousand men were there.) But he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each."15
The disciples did so, and everybody sat down.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"19
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
20"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."23
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self ?26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.27I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Two men, Moses and Elijah,
appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
41"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."42
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
44"Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."45
But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."49
"Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
50"Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them ?"
But Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they went to another village.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."59
He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."61
Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.'6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.8"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you.9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.'10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say,11'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.'12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.13"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.15And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.16"He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."17
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."
He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."21
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.22"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."23
Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.24For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"27
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."29
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"37
The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!"
41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
"But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the LORD says-- he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, 'I belong to the LORD'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, 'The LORD's,' and will take the name Israel.
"This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?
He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy.
The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of man, of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.
He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
It is man's fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, "Ah! I am warm; I see the fire."
From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, "Save me; you are my god."
They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, "Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?"
He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"
"Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you."
Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.
"This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense,
who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,' of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be built,' and of their ruins, 'I will restore them,'
who says to the watery deep, 'Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,'
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '