The Law and the Prophets
17 ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.
18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
The Necessity for Watchfulness
32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.
35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,
36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.
37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’
Jesus the Cause of Division
49 ‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!
51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!
52 From now on, five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three;
53 they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens.
55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens.
56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Settling with Your Opponent
57 ‘And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
58 Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison.
59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.’
The Gospel According to John
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being
4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.
11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
15 (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” ’)
16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
6 When the days of her purification are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb in its first year for a burnt-offering, and a pigeon or a turtle-dove for a sin-offering.
7 He shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement on her behalf; then she shall be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, male or female.
8 If she cannot afford a sheep, she shall take two turtle-doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt-offering and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf, and she shall be clean.
Wisdom’s Part in Creation
22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.
32 ‘And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.
34 Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
The Closed Gate
1 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut.
2 The Lord said to me: This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.
The Coming Messenger
1 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;
3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.
4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian,
26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Jesus Is Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’),
24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law,
28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’
33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed
35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’
36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage,
37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day.
38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
The Return to Nazareth
39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.
40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.
21 On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven, and on earth the kings of the earth.
22 They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be abashed, and the sun ashamed; for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before his elders he will manifest his glory.
Praise for Deliverance from Oppression
1 O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name; for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2 For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more,
it will never be rebuilt.
3 Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4 For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
5 the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place, you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds; the song of the ruthless was stilled.
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8 he will swallow up death for ever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.
47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says,
49 “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?
50 Did not my hand make all these things?”
1 My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property;
2 but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.
3 So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world.
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’
7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41 Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival.
43 When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.
44 Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.
46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’
49 He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
50 But they did not understand what he said to them.
51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.