The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff.
On the staff of Levi write Aaron's name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe.
Place them in the Tent of Meeting in front of the Testimony, where I meet with you.
The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites."
So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron's staff was among them.
Moses placed the staffs before the LORD in the Tent of the Testimony.
The next day Moses entered the Tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds.
Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the LORD's presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each man took his own staff.
The LORD said to Moses, "Put back Aaron's staff in front of the Testimony, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die."
Moses did just as the LORD commanded him.
The Israelites said to Moses, "We will die! We are lost, we are all lost!
Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the LORD will die. Are we all going to die?"
The LORD said to Aaron, "You, your sons and your father's family are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood.
Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony.
They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die.
They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the Tent of Meeting--all the work at the Tent--and no one else may come near where you are.
"You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar, so that wrath will not fall on the Israelites again.
I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the Tent of Meeting.
But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death."
Then the LORD said to Aaron, "I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion and regular share.
You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons.
Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy.
"This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.
"I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the LORD as the firstfruits of their harvest.
All the land's firstfruits that they bring to the LORD will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it.
"Everything in Israel that is devoted to the LORD is yours.
The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the LORD is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals.
When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.
"But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD.
Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours.
Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the LORD for both you and your offspring."
The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.
"I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.
From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.
It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites.
Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: 'They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.' "
The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to the Levites and say to them: 'When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the LORD's offering.
Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress.
In this way you also will present an offering to the LORD from all the tithes you receive from the Israelites. From these tithes you must give the LORD's portion to Aaron the priest.
You must present as the LORD's portion the best and holiest part of everything given to you.'
"Say to the Levites: 'When you present the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the product of the threshing floor or the winepress.
You and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere, for it is your wages for your work at the Tent of Meeting.
By presenting the best part of it you will not be guilty in this matter; then you will not defile the holy offerings of the Israelites, and you will not die.' "
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
Now this was John's testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.
He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ. "
They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."
Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself ?"
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "
Now some Pharisees who had been sent
questioned him, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
"I baptize with water," John replied, "but among you stands one you do not know.
He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie."
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'
I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."
Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.
I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.'
I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?" They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
39"Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).
And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter ).
The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, "Follow me."44
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote--Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" Nathanael asked. "Come and see," said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false."48
"How do you know me?" Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, "I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you."49
Then Nathanael declared, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel."
Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that."51
He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."