Forty-fourth Day of Easter (Zadeeg),
II John 1:1-13
 One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up
 and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”
 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question; now tell me,
 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?”
 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say, `Why did you not believe him?’
 But if we say, `From men,’ all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”
 So they answered that they did not know whence it was.
 And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
 And after five days the high priest Anani’as came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertul’lus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul;
 and when he was called, Tertul’lus began to accuse him, saying:
“Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your provision, most excellent Felix, reforms are introduced on behalf of this nation,
 in every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.
 But, to detain you no further, I beg you in your kindness to hear us briefly.
 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
 He even tried to profane the temple, but we seized him.
 By examining him yourself you will be able to learn from him about everything of which we accuse him.”
 The Jews also joined in the charge, affirming that all this was so.
 And when the governor had motioned to him to speak, Paul replied:
“Realizing that for many years you have been judge over this nation, I cheerfully make my defense.
 As you may ascertain, it is not more than twelve days since I went up to worship at Jerusalem;
 and they did not find me disputing with any one or stirring up a crowd, either in the temple or in the synagogues, or in the city.
 Neither can they prove to you what they now bring up against me.
 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets,
 having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward God and toward men.
 Now after some years I came to bring to my nation alms and offerings.
 As I was doing this, they found me purified in the temple, without any crowd or tumult. But some Jews from Asia —
 they ought to be here before you and to make an accusation, if they have anything against me.
 Or else let these men themselves say what wrongdoing they found when I stood before the council,
 except this one thing which I cried out while standing among them, `With respect to the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you this day.'”
 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lys’ias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”
 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but should have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.
 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusil’la, who was a Jewess; and he sent for Paul and heard him speak upon faith in Christ Jesus.
 And as he argued about justice and self-control and future judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you.”
 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him.
II John 1:1-13
 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth,
 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us for ever:
 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father.
 And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.
 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love.
 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
 Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward.
 Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son.
 If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting;
 for he who greets him shares his wicked work.
 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
 The children of your elect sister greet you.
 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
 If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.
 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry.
 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
 When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done.
 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”
 Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things.
 The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, `From heaven,’ he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?’
 But if we say, `From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.”
 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
 “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
 And he answered, `I will not’; but afterward he repented and went.
 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,’ but did not go.
 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.
 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.
 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons;
 and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple.
 And he taught, and said to them, “Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
 And when evening came they went out of the city.
 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.
 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Master, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered.”
 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America