FOURTEEN THE DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST At that time, Herod the tetrarch, heard of Jesus' fame, and he said to his servants, "Is this not the same John the Baptist arisen who baptized men from their sins, and that is why these powers are working miracles through him? For Herod had taken John and in prison had him bound because of Herodias, his brother's wife. For John had set it down, "It is not lawful for you to have her," and he would have put John to death, but he feared the people because they regarded him as a prophet. But Herodias pleased Herod when she danced for his birthday, and he promised that he would give her whatever she might say. And at her mother's prompting, "Give me here, the head, upon a dish before me, of the Baptist John," she said. And grieved as though he was, the king, because of his oath and quests, commanded that she be given the thing that she did request. He sent and had the Baptist beheaded in the jail, and had the head brought on a dish to her, without fail, and she carried it to her mother. And his disciples buried John and then went out and told Jesus this thing Herod had done. JESUS FEEDS FIVE THOUSAND When Jesus heard this, he withdrew by boat to a place apart, but the crowds heard and followed him, being of heavy heart. And when he landed and saw the crowds, out of compassion, he cured their ills. Now, when it had turned evening, the disciples told him of their will that he should dismiss the crowd that they might seek food to eat in the villages for this was a desert, and there was no bread or meat. But Jesus said to his disciples, "They do no need to go away; you yourselves give them food so that they will be able to stay.' They answered him, "We have here only five loaves and two fishes." "Bring them here to me," he said, and they obeyed his wishes. And when he had ordered all the crowd to recline upon the grass, he blessed the loaves and fishes and ordered the disciples to pass them out amongst the crowd, and all ate and were satisfied. And they gathered up what was left - - - twelve baskets of fragments besides. Now the number of those who had eaten was at least five thousand men, and that was without counting all the women and children. JESUS WALKS ON THE WATER And immediately thereafter, he made the disciples got into the ship and across the sea before him while he dismissed the crowd and slipped up the mountain by himself to be alone to pray. But the boat was in the midst of the sea and it was late in the day, and the wind was up against the ship and the waves tossed it helplessly. But in the fourth watch he came to them, walking upon the sea. And they were greatly alarmed and cried, "Is this a ghost we see?" Then Jesus spoke, "Take courage, and fear not, for it is me." But Peter answered him and said, "Lord, if it is thou, that I might come to thee over the water, allow." And he said, "Come," and Peter got out of the boat to go, and he walked towards Jesus, but he feared how the wind did blow, and began to sink and he cried out, "Lord, save me!," and Jesus reached out and said, "O thee of little faith, why didst thou have doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind fell as it had begun, but those in the boat worshipped him saying, "Truly, thou art God's Son." And crossing over the sea, they came to the land at Genesar where the people saw him and knew, and they sent out near and far through all of that country for the sick and the depraved, and they begged to let them touch his cloak, and all who touched were saved. FIFTEEN JESUS AND THE PHARISEES AND SCRIBES From Jerusalem the Scribes came, and with the Pharisees, they asked, "Why do your disciples transgress the ancient tasks prescribed in our tradition? For they do not wash their hands when they are taking food to eat. They should obey all the commands." But he answered and said to them, "Why do you transgress the commandment of God because of this tradition you profess? For God said 'Give honor to thy parents' and 'Let he who curses father and mother, death, his sentence be.' But you say, 'They need not honor parents, who will say to them, 'I dedicate to God what support I give your way.' So you have made void the commandment by your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaias prophecy of you in his prediction, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and in vain is it they worship, teaching as doctrine, the precepts of man.'" Then he called the crowd to him and said, "Hear, and understand; what goes into the mouth does not defile a man, but it is rather what comes out of the mouth that does defile." Then his disciples came and said, "Dost thou know that thou hast riled the Pharisees and they have taken offense at the things that thou hast shown?" But he answered them, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not grown will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. But if a blind man guide a blind man, both fall into a pit in time." But Peter spoke and asked him, "Explain this parable." And he said, "Are you even yet also so unable to understand? Do you not know that whatever enters in the mouth passes through the belly and is cast into the drain? But the things that proceed from the mouth come from out the heart, and it is these that defile men, for out of it do start evil thoughts and murders, theft and adulteries, and false witness and blasphemies, and all kinds of immoralities. These are the things that defile as nothing else ever can; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." JESUS PERFORMS MORE WONDERS And leaving there, Jesus retired to Tyre and Sidon and, behold, a Canaanite woman came out to him because she had been told; and she cried out to him, saying, "Have pity on me, O Lord, Son of David. My daughter is beset by a devil," but he answered her not a word. And his disciples besought him, saying, "She's crying after us, send her away." "I was only sent to help Israel," he told her, but she continued to say "Lord, help me," and she worshipped him, so he said to her lauds, "It is not fair to take children's bread and cast it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; for even the dogs eat crumbs that fall from the master's table," and at that he finally succumbed, "O woman, great is thy faith, indeed. Let it be done as thou will." And from that very moment her daughter was healed of her ills. And when he departed there, he went along the Sea of Galilee, and up the mountain and sat there, and great crowds came, bringing to be cured, the dumb and blind and the maimed and lame, and he healed each one they brought before him as their faith had willed, so that the crowds marveled that the blind saw and the sick were well and the dumb spoke, and they glorified the Lord God of Israel. And calling his disciples together, he said, "I have compassion on the crowd; for they've been with me for three days and no food had that allowed them to eat; and I'm unwilling to send them, fasting, away, lest they should grow weakened and faint along the way." And the disciples told him, "But in a desert, where are we going to get enough loaves to satisfy such a crowd when all we have to set before them is seven loaves of bread and a few fishes, and they are small?" And he took, and blessed, and broke them, and passed them out to all. And they ate and were satisfied, and the disciples took up what remained and filled seven full baskets, and they marveled at what he had ordained. For in addition to women and children, he had fed four thousand men; and when he dismissed them and got in a boat, he went over to Magedan. SIXTEEN THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES ASK FOR A SIGN To test him, the Sadducees and Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven, but he told them, "You can't read the signs of the times, though you can read the face of the sky, and when it is evening, you say, 'The weather will be fair for the sky's red,' and at the start of the day, 'The sky is red and falling, so today will be stormy.' An evil generation demands a sign, but there will be no sign given to you but the sign of Jonas' day." And with that, Jesus left them and went away. THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES The disciples found they had forgotten to bring bread when they'd crossed the sea, and Jesus said, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees!" But they began to argue with themselves and fight, "We have brought no bread with us," and Jesus said, to set them right, "You of little faith, why do you argue that you have no bread? Do you not remember the multitudes which I have fed with five loaves and the baskets you took up? Don't you see that it was not of bread I spoke in warning of the Pharisees and Sadducees?" Then they saw that he had bade them to beware, not of the leaven of their bread, but of their teachings, not to share. PETER CALLS JESUS 'CHRIST' Now Jesus had come into the district of Caesara Phillipi, and began to ask his disciples, "Who do you think the Son of Man to be?" But they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elias; or one of the prophets, and others say that he is Jeremias." "But who do you say I am?," Jesus asked when they were done, and Simon Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Living God's own Son." Then Jesus replied and said to him, "Simon Bar-Jona, blessed thou art, for flesh and blood has not revealed this, but my Father in heaven, to your heart. And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock, my church I'll build; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it - - - it shall not yield. And I will give thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and what you shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose, in kind, shall also be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly ordained that they tell no one he was the Christ that they might think he sought earthly reign. THE PASSION FORETOLD From that time, Jesus began to make clear to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer many things from the Elders and Scribes, and so be put to death and then on the third day rise again. And Peter took him aside and said, "Far be it, Lord, such pain should ever happen onto thee," he chided him in this way. But Jesus turned to Peter and spoke to him to say, "Get behind me, Satan, for thou art a scandal onto me; for thou minds not the things of God, but those of men, foolishly." THE DOCTRINE OF THE CROSS "Let him deny himself who would come after me, and take up his cross to follow," he told his disciples, "For he who would save his life for keeping, will lose it in the end, but he who loses his life for my sake, will find it, again. For what does it profit a man if he gain the entire world whole, but in doing it, in the quest, suffers the loss of his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is to come with all his angels in the Father's glory - - - it is His plan that He render to everyone according to his conduct. Amen, I tell you, there are those standing here who will not taste death till it has come true; till they have seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom onto everyone who knows the way of my Father, and bears witness onto His Son." SEVENTEEN JESUS TRANSFIGURED Now, after six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain, and a transfiguration he brought on before them so that his face shone as bright as the sun, and his garments became white as snow, and, behold, while this was done, there appeared Moses and Elias, talking together with Jesus near. Then Peter addressed Jesus, saying, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If thou wilt, let us set up three tents, for Moses and Elias and thee. As he was speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice clearly spoke out of the cloud and told them, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him!," and the disciples were undone; and they fell upon their faces and were exceedingly afraid. And Jesus came near and touched them to rise them up from where they laid, "Arise, and do not fear, my friends," and they were calmed by his tone. And they lifted up their eyes, but saw no one there but Jesus alone. ON THE COMING OF ELIAS And coming down the mountain, Jesus cautioned them and said, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of G0d has risen from the dead." And the disciples asked him, saying, "Why is that the Scribes say Elias must come first?." But he answered them in this way, "Elias, indeed, is to come and restore all things, but I say to you that Elias has already come, but they did what they wished to do to him, for they did not know him, and so shall the Son of Man, because they do not know him, suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood what he had spoken on, that Elias had been the prophet in the desert, the Baptist John. A POSSESSED BOY And when he had come top the crowd, a man threw himself upon his knees before him crying, "Lord, have pity one my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely dire, and often falls into water and often falls into fire. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure his ills." Jesus answered, "O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring him here to me," and Jesus did what he was asked to do. He rebuked him and the devil went out, and from that moment, the boy was well. And the disciples asked him privately, "Why is it that we failed? Why could we not cast it out?" And he answered, "Your faith is weak, for, amen, I say to you, if you had faith as meek like a mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, 'Remove from here,' and it will remove. And nothing will be impossible, if you're sincere in your faith. But this kind you will never be able to cast out from its possession except by prayer and fast." JESUS FORETELLS HIS PASSION Now while they were together in Galilee, Jesus told them, "The Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill him and then on the third day, he will rise again." And they were filled with sorrow and with remorse and pain. PAYING THE TEMPLE TAX And coming to Capharum, those who collect the temple tax came to Peter about the Didrachma, "Does your Master not pay it?," they asked. He said, "Yes," but entering the house, Jesus spoke first and said, "What dost thou think, Simon? From whom do the kings get bread and receive tribute and customs; from others or from their own sons?" And he answered him, "Of course, from others." But Jesus said, Let it be done, though the sons are exempt from the tax, that they do not take offense, go to the sea and cast in a hook, and take the first fish, for hence, in its mouth you find a coin, and that stater can be taken and given onto them then in payment for me and for thee." THE ADULTERESS (FROM JOHN 8 & 9) Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, and at daybreak he came again into the temple, and the people gathered, and he began to preach to them. Now the Scribes and Pharisees came and with them they had brought a woman, and sat her in the midst, who in adultery had been caught; and said, "Master, this woman has just been found in adultery. And the Law of Moses commands a stoning. What, therefore, sayest thee?" Now they were saying this to test him in order that they might be able to accuse him, but he stooped and began to write with his finger in the dirt, for of this he was aware. But they continued to ask him, so he rose and spoke to those there, "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." And he stooped and continued writing, and they left him there alone - - - one by one they went away - - - leaving the woman in the midst. And Jesus raised and said to her, "Where are those who accused you of this? Woman, has no one condemned thee?" And she answered, "No one, Lord." Then Jesus answered, "Nor will I condemn thee. Go thy way and sin no more." CHRIST, THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, AND ABRAHAM And they marveled at the teachings that this Jesus had shown, and he told them all, in answer, "My teaching is not my own, but is of Him who sent me, and only for His glory." But some of the people were saying, "Is this not, then, he whom they seek to kill? They say nothing though he speaks openly. Can it be that the rulers know that this is the Christ to be? Yet, we know whence this man comes; will we know where the Christ is from?" And Jesus told them, "I have not come for myself, but from He who is true, I come. I know Him because I am with Him, and it is He who has sent me." And the crowd said, "When the Christ comes, will he work more signs than he?" And the Pharisees heard the crowd whispering these things and so they sent attendants to go and seize him, and into the crowd they went. And Jesus said, "Yet a little while, I am here with you, and then I go to Him who sent me. You will seek me, but though you try, you will not find me; for where I go, you cannot come." The Jews said to themselves, "Where's he going, that we cannot come, too?" Now on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus cried, "If anyone thirst, let him come to me for drink, he will not be denied. He who believes in me, as Scripture says, "From within him there shall flow rivers of living water!" And some of the crowd said, "Surely, it must be so that this is the prophet," or "This is the Christ," and they wondered exceedingly whether he would not come from Bethlehem, while Jesus was from Galilee. And the attendants returned to the Pharisees without him in their hands, saying in reply to the priests, "Never has man spoke as this man." And Jesus spoke to the crowds and said, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me walks not in darkness, but has the light of life unfurled; Amen, amen, I say onto you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death," and the Jews said, "Thou hast a devil assured, or art thou greater than the prophets, or than our father Abraham? And they are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?" And he said, "Who I am my Father glorifies me, not myself, for then my glory would be naught. It is He who you say is your God, who out of Egypt brought thy people. And you do not know Him, but I know Him even so, and I keep His word. And Abraham, your father, rejoiced to know that he was to see my day. And he saw it and was glad." And the Jews said, "Thou art not fifty, and sight of Abraham has had?" And Jesus said, "Amen, before Abraham came to be, I am." And they took up stones to cast at him, but he hid himself from their hands. Continue Return to beginning of POeTRY