Twenty-sixth Day of Easter (Zadeeg),
II Peter 2:9-22
 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”
 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”
 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
 He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
 Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house.
 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
 one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.”
 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”
 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.
 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoeni’cia and Sama’ria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren.
 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.
 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses.”
 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
 And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
 And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us;
 and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith.
 Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
 But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
 And all the assembly kept silence; and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brethren, listen to me.
 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
 And with this the words of the prophets agree, as it is written,
 `After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the dwelling of David, which has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will set it up,
 that the rest of men may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
 says the Lord, who has made these things known from of old.’
 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,
 but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.
 For from early generations Moses has had in every city those who preach him, for he is read every sabbath in the synagogues.”
 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsab’bas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,
 with the following letter: “The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cili’cia, greeting.
 Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,
 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
 men who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.
 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:
 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”
II Peter 2:9-22
 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,
 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.
 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them,
 suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you.
 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be’or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,
 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved.
 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.
 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.
 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.
 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.
 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone.
 However, boats from Tiber’i-as came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Caper’na-um, seeking Jesus.
 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”
 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.”
 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?
 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.”
 They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.
 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;
 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea.
 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat there; and the whole crowd stood on the beach.
 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.
 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.
 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
 He who has ears, let him hear.”
 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says: `You shall indeed hear but never understand,
and you shall indeed see but never perceive.
 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are heavy of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should perceive with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn for me to heal them.’
 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
 “Hear then the parable of the sower.
 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.
 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
 He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
 And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.
 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America