The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.
"For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed."
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. "4
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."9
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.
Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.
(This was before John was put in prison.)
An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.
They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan--the one you testified about--well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."
To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.
You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
He must become greater; I must become less.
"The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.
For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,
although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria.
So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"8
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. )
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."11
"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."15
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."17
"I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband.18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."19
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."25
The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,
"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ ?"
They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."
But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."33
Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"
34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true.38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."
So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
After the two days he left for Galilee.
(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.)
When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.
Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.
When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.
48"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."49
The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."
Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at his word and departed.
While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.
When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."
Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.
This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee.
For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.
The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest,
and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.
The LORD has sworn by his right hand and by his mighty arm: "Never again will I give your grain as food for your enemies, and never again will foreigners drink the new wine for which you have toiled;
but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the LORD, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary."
Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations.
The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.' "
They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.