Seventh Day of Easter (Zadeeg),
Beheading of St. John the Forerunner,
 “To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the sons of men.
 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O foolish men, pay attention.
 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right;
 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
 They are all straight to him who understands
and right to those who find knowledge.
 Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold;
 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.
 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
 The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people is grass.
 The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.
 “Behold, I will send you Eli’jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.
 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”
 And as John was finishing his course, he said, `What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
 “Brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you that fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.
 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets which are read every sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning him.
 Though they could charge him with nothing deserving death, yet they asked Pilate to have him killed.
 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb.
 But God raised him from the dead;
 and for many days he appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.
 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,
 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, `Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.’
 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.”
 But others said, “It is Eli’jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”
 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero’di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her.
 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
 And Hero’di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.
 For when Hero’di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.”
 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”
 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.”
 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
 Now many signs and wonders were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.
 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high honor.
 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women,
 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.
 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
 But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sad’ducees, and filled with jealousy
 they arrested the apostles and put them in the common prison.
 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out and said,
 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and taught. Now the high priest came and those who were with him and called together the council and all the senate of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
 But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, and they returned and reported,
 “We found the prison securely locked and the sentries standing at the doors, but when we opened it we found no one inside.”
 Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were much perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to.
 And some one came and told them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.”
 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but without violence, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them,
 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
 The God of our fathers raised Jesus whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
 When they heard this they were enraged and wanted to kill them.
 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?
 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food,
 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
 But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder.
 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren?
 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
 A second time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”
 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me.”
 Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”
 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”
 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”
 The saying spread abroad among the brethren that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
 This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tibe’ri-as; and he revealed himself in this way.
 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathan’a-el of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zeb’edee, and two others of his disciples were together.
 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing.
 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
 Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any fish?” They answered him, “No.”
 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.
 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea.
 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread.
 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish.
 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America