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."
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?"
And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir."
He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"
So the LORD said to him, "Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon."
Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.
Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.
But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."
When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--
the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites."
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!