I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.
"Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it."
The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.
The LORD Almighty has declared in my hearing: "Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.
A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain."
Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.
They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands.
Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.
Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.
So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.
But the LORD Almighty will be exalted by his justice, and the holy God will show himself holy by his righteousness.
Then sheep will graze as in their own pasture; lambs will feed among the ruins of the rich.
Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it."
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Therefore the LORD's anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!
Not one of them grows tired or stumbles, not one slumbers or sleeps; not a belt is loosened at the waist, not a sandal thong is broken.
Their arrows are sharp, all their bows are strung; their horses' hoofs seem like flint, their chariot wheels like a whirlwind.
Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue.
In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds.
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?4For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'5But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,'6he is not to 'honor his father ' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:8" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"10
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand.11What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "12
Then the disciples came to him and asked, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?"
He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.14Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."15
Peter said, "Explain the parable to us."
16"Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them.
17"Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?18But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.20These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' "
Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."25
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."27
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way."33
His disciples answered, "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?"
34"How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.
Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people.
They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
The number of those who ate was four thousand, besides women and children.
After Jesus had sent the crowd away, he got into the boat and went to the vicinity of Magadan.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,'3and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.4A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.
When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread.
6"Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."7
They discussed this among themselves and said, "It is because we didn't bring any bread."
Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, "You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?9Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?10Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?11How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."12
Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"14
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"16
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."20
Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.28I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
He said, "Go and tell this people: " 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."
Then I said, "For how long, O Lord?" And he answered: "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged,
until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken.
And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land."