A Unificationist Gospel

Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 7, 2006 - Pages 129-199

I have for a very long time thought it might be helpful to have a direct, narrative version of the gospel events informed by the biblical theology of the Reverend Sung Myung Moon. In many of his speeches, key passages of which are compiled in The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ (HSA-UWC, 2001), Reverend Moon explains where the Unificationist version of the story, as revealed to him, can be read between the lines of the canonical gospels, so why not gather these hints into a simple narrative in which they would be explicit? Such a new gospel might even offer evangelistic, devotional, and liturgical benefits. With all of this in mind, I have undertaken the task of composing such a gospel, based on the canonical gospel passages most often stressed by Reverend Moon, as well as bits from other ancient sources (including apocryphal gospels), always seeking to convey and to document key Unificationist concerns, as well as to obviate notorious difficulties in the familiar gospels. It is not written to prove anything but only to embody the Jesus story as seen by one particular religious community and its teacher. I call it “A Unificationist Gospel” to signal both that it is by no means any sort of official text and in full realization that others may one day undertake the same exercise.

Implied in the effort is an understanding of gospel-writing per se. I believe I have done what the ancient gospel writers did, understanding the text as that of a sacred story, of narrative theology. Matthew and Luke, for instance, could never have taken the liberties they did with Mark if they imagined themselves simply to be reporting what Jesus did and said. No, they knew they were writing edifying fiction, albeit based on saving events. The alternative is to make the evangelists into hoaxers, not into reporters, for the evidence of artifice is ubiquitous

And the charge of imposture is bizarre. What they sought to do was to some extent much like what Jesus himself did when he composed his fictive parables. In my view, that is what Joseph Smith (correctly) saw himself doing. Those who insisted that the Book of Mormon merely recorded events in ancient America did not have ears to hear.

And yet it is worth the effort to avoid or correct the egregious historical or geographical errors of the canonical gospels, if only for the sake of narrative plausibility. There seems to me no point to passing on the evangelists’ errors.

I have not been content to rewrite the traditional gospels at this or that juncture so as to bring out Reverend Moon’s distinctive take on the underlying events. Rather, I have introduced a significant amount of new material that illustrates key emphases of Unification theology, sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. And even where I have taken over elements from the four gospels, I have rewritten them, albeit in “biblical” style. I wanted to create the kind of distinctiveness that sets John apart from the Synoptics as more than a scissors-and-paste compilation. Nor have I relied only upon the four gospels and my imagination. I have felt free to borrow bits and pieces from Gnostic and Islamic Jesus traditions, too. To do so strikes me as appropriate to the ecumenical outlook of the Unification Church.

I approached my task in the spirit of utmost seriousness and as a sacred responsibility, remaining open even, as I hoped, to inspiration of whatever type might be available. A Unification Gospel is the result. It was a great delight to write, and I hope it will please the reader and cause him or her to stop and reflect. Let me thank Professor Andrew Wilson for his tireless guidance. His encyclopedic knowledge of the sermons of Reverend Moon, as well as his comprehensive command of Unification doctrine, was invaluable. He made innumerable suggestions for revising the text, and it is much, much better as a result. My thanks go to this patient colleague and friend.

 

A Unificationist Gospel

1:1 In the beginning was the Heart of God. And the Heart was with God, and the Heart was God. 2 And his Heart was filled with love, and God resolved to create those who might receive and return his love, that love should not be an arrow without a mark. 3 And so God’s Heart spoke a Word. And that Word was the image of the creation. 4 And the Word became flesh, even Adam, the father of multitudes, and Eve, the mother of all living. 5 For them and for their seed did God create the earth as a home of comfort and a kingdom of righteousness, 6 where the justice of God’s own Word should be bodied forth among his sons and daughters.

7 Now Adam and Eve had not yet come together, as it was not yet their hour. 8 The two of them rejoiced in the love of God and returned it unto him as children rejoicing in the love of their Father. 9 But the angel Luciel was jealous and said in his heart, “I shall be like the Most High Father and will take his place in the hearts of the man and the woman he has made.” 10 And so Luciel seduced the woman Eve before she had come together with her rightful husband. 11 And then the woman seduced the man, and they began to multiply upon the face of the earth. 12 But the branch of Adam was grafted onto the trunk of Luciel, who was also called Satan, which is interpreted “Adversary.” 13 And so it was that Satan became the father of mankind. 14 And great sadness overtook the world, for that the Heart of God abandoned it. 15 And an angel flew through mid-heaven crying, “Ichabod! The glory of God has departed from among the sons of men!”

16 The Heart of God loved all things, nor was there any creature that was not sustained by the love of the Heart of God, but now none reflected it, being sold instead unto Satan. 17 And God was sorry he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his Heart. 18 And God said, “I can no more turn away from you than a mother can abandon her child.” 19 And so the Father fashioned a second Adam and sent him into the world, that he might become the firstborn of many brethren, and the father of a multitude.

 

2:1When the voice of prophecy had long fallen silent for want of any in Israel to heed it, 2 the angel Gabriel sought out a certain Zechariah, a man full of years and of good deeds. 3 Now Zechariah was the high priest in those days, though his name was afterward stricken from the lists. It was he who entered into the Holy of Holies bearing the blood of the sacrifice. 5 Now Zechariah’s wife was Elizabeth, of the daughters of Aaron, and faithful to the Lord in all her ways. 6 Yet she was barren and gave her husband no child to carry on their name. 7 And it came about one day, as Zechariah passed within to offer up the blood of the sacrifice on behalf of those gathered outside, he beheld a man in white standing to the right of the altar, and he fell to the ground trembling. 8 But the angel Gabriel, for it was he, touched his shoulder, saying, “Fear not, Zechariah, you servant of God, for he has heard your prayers and the petitions of Elizabeth. 9 You shall have a son, and you shall name him John.

10 “Your years of sorrow will end,

and your home will echo with childish laughter.

11 And, as many rejoiced in the birth of Isaac,

So will they delight in the birth of your son.

 

12 And in him the voice of prophecy will stir,

and the word of the Lord shall be heard again in the land.

13 He will embody the spirit of Elijah,

fulfilling the promise of Malachi:

14 “Behold, I will send you the prophet Elijah

before the great and terrible day of the Lord.”

 

15 He shall purify the sons of Israel

And reconcile the stubborn hearts.

16 In running water will he wash away their sins

and mark them as the elect of God.

 

17 And greatest of all will be his task

to prepare the way of another,

19 the Son of the Most High,

he who shall be begotten hereafter.

 

18 He shall win to the banner of his kingdom

small and great, rich and poor,

fathers and sons, mothers and daughters;

and in his service to another his greatness shall lie.”

 

 

19 And Zechariah knew not what to say, for great fear remained upon him. 20 And he said, “Behold, I who am dust presume to question an angel of God! How can I be sure of these things, that I am not dreaming? 21For I am old, as my lord sees, and my wife is long past the age of bearing.” 22 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel! I stand at the ready before the throne of God! It is not for the likes of you to doubt me. 23 Nonetheless, this shall be your sign: you shall abide deaf and mute until these things come to pass.”

24 And Zechariah left the altar and returned to the waiting throng. They asked him what had shaken him so, but he could not reply. 25 With many gestures he sought to tell the story, at length bidding them goodbye. 26 And when Zechariah returned to Galilee he went in unto his wife, and she

conceived, as the angel had said. 27 And all were amazed, and the women of the town said, “May she walk in the way of Sarah our mother.”

 

3:1 Now Elizabeth had been with child for six months when the angel Gabriel appeared again, this time to Mary of Nazareth in Galilee. 2 This Mary was a virgin, betrothed to one Joseph, who was of David’s line. 3 The angel appeared to her, saying, “I bow before you, most blessed of mortals! 4 The favor of the Lord is with you!” But Mary trembled and knew not but that the hour of her death had come. 5 Hence the angel said, “Fear not! For God has decreed that you shall conceive a son and shall name him Jesus, and in due time you shall aid him in the saving of his people.

 

6 “And he will be a sign from God unto his people,

who shall hail him as the Son of the living God.

7 He will be like David,

a shepherd to his people,

8 to redeem his wandering flock

from the thief who has stolen them,

9 and to drive away the ravening lion of Rome

and the hungry bear of Edom.

10 And his brow shall bear the crown of righteousness,

while his hand wields the scepter of truth.

11 His words shall defeat his foes,

and the sword of his mouth shall bring him the victory.”

 

12 And Mary said, “Shall the son of a carpenter wear the crown of his fathers?” But the angel said to her,

13 “The power of God shall overshadow you,

and the Spirit of God shall give you seed

through a priestly vessel,

14 hence the child shall not be Joseph’s son,

for which cause many shall revile him,

and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.

 

15 “For has not your kinswoman Elizabeth conceived a son in her old age, by the very same power? 16 You are to go and sojourn with her, and there you will be shown what you shall do.” 17 And Mary bowed her head and said, “I am only the slave of the Lord. I will do as you say.” 18 And suddenly she saw no one with her. And she hastened to make ready and went into the hills where Elizabeth and Zechariah dwelt.

19 When Elizabeth saw her coming, she rose up and embraced her, saying, “Most blessed of women! Full of the favor of God! 20 I do not deserve that you should come under my roof, for all that I welcome you. 21 Behold, the babe leaped in the womb as you set foot in my house.

22 “My soul hymns the greatness of the Lord!

He has done great favors for me!

23 He has lifted the burden of my reproach before men,

and made fruitful the field that was barren.

24 From now on they shall call me blessed,

and another barren who has not borne sons.

 

25 Though of old Jacob and Esau did struggle in the womb,

the beginning of strife among the sons of Israel,

26 my son and yours shall meet in friendship

and perform a common task.

27 And the sins of the past shall be undone,

and all Israel shall return to God.”

 

28 That night the angel of the Lord awakened Zechariah, saying unto him, “See, you are treading the path of your father Abraham, to undo his sins and to right his wrongs. 29 And as Abraham had two sons, one by his wife and another by his maid, so you shall beget another son upon the maiden of the Lord.” 30 So Zechariah arose and went in unto Mary, and she conceived and was with child.

31 And the time came for Elizabeth to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. She named him John. And their neighbors and kin were full of astonishment. 32 And Zechariah’s tongue was loosed, and he glorified God, saying, “In his mercy, the God of our fathers has given me speech, that I may praise him all the days of my life. And this, my son, shall cause many more to praise him!”

33 But after some days, Elizabeth, who well knew who had begotten the child upon Mary, grew angry and said to Zechariah, “May God judge between you and me! 34 Was it not enough for God to grant you a son from me that you sought a son from my kinswoman as well? 35 Cast out this woman and her child, for why should she bring reproach upon us all?” 36 And the thing grieved Zechariah. But the angel of the Lord spoke to him in a dream, saying, “Fear not, Zechariah. 38 It was your lot to raise and to protect the child and to gain allies for him in high places, but strife shall not accomplish the purpose of the Lord. 39 Let them depart, and I will watch over them, but know that you have hindered the coming of the kingdom of God.” And Zechariah awoke and wept.

40 Soon after, Elizabeth died, and all mourned her. John was yet a mere lad, and Zechariah feared for the boy, as he himself felt unequal to the task of raising him without a mother. 41 So he took his son to the camp of the saints of the Host High who dwelt in the Jordan valley, who were called Essenes, that they might teach him all the ways of the Lord till the day he should be made manifest to Israel.

 

4:1 So Mary returned to Nazareth and to Joseph. Joseph took her and their few possessions and journeyed up to the lesser Bethlehem in Galilee, where he had kinsmen. 2 But when Joseph learned that she was with child, he was much dismayed, saying to himself, “The law commands that I shall put away the unfaithful woman.” 3 For the custom of the Jews was that a man might without sin beget a child upon his betrothed. 4 But Joseph knew well enough that the child was not his. 5 As he slept, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, “Joseph, servant of the Lord, think no ill of your betrothed, 6 for what has befallen her is of the Spirit of God and his wisdom, that the scripture may be fulfilled. 7 And she whom God has favored, you must not hold up to shame. 8 Take her as your wife, and raise the boy as your own son.” And Joseph liked it not, but he obeyed the word of the angel.

9 But none would take them in, for rumors concerning the child’s begetting had preceded them, and they were held in low esteem. 10 And so, as Mary’s time drew near, they sought the shelter of an inn. But there was no room for them in the place. 11 At last they found lodging in a shepherd’s cave, and it was there the child was born.

12 In these days certain wise men from Parthia arrived in Jerusalem, inquiring at the court of King Herod where they might find the newly born heir to the throne of David, 13 saying, “For we saw his star in the East, even as Zoroaster the prophet wrote. 14 We have come to pay him homage, for that, like a star, his rising will light up the world.” 15 Now the wise men were learned in the motions of the heavens, but not so much in the ways of kings, for they thought Herod must already know these things and have rejoiced in them. 16 But the king was an Idumean and cared little for Jewish ways. 17 And their news did not suit him, and he only feared some scheme by his enemies among the people, who were many. 18 So he called in his scribes and inquired of them where such a king might be born. 19 And they, being well-versed in the scriptures, told him, “Look for him in Bethlehem of Nazareth, in the land of Zebulon, to fulfill the scripture that says, 20 ‘You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to find a place among the clans of Judah, from you shall emerge the shepherd of my people.’” 21 So Herod told the wise men what his scribes had said, 22 and he instructed them, “When you have seen the child, send word, so that I may gather the elders of the tribes of Israel, that they, too, may come to venerate him.” 23 And they departed for Bethlehem, where, with many inquiries, they found the child.

24 Mary and Joseph wondered much at the appearance of the wise men, for never had they beheld such splendor, nor raiment of such design. 25 They laid at the feet of the child Jesus their gifts and treasures and blessed him in a foreign tongue. 26 And, warned in a dream that night not to tell Herod of their meeting, they departed the next day for home. 27 When the king realized the wise men had disobeyed him, he was seized with rage and dispatched troops to Bethlehem, commanding them to slay all infants under two years of age.

28 But God warned Joseph in a dream the same night to flee the wrath of Herod. And he told him to warn those with infants in Bethlehem. Of these there were about a dozen. 29 So Joseph hastened to spread the warning, but his words seemed foolishness to them, and all rebuked him for disturbing their sleep.

 

5:1 The lad Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, but he was silent and sorrowful more than any other boy. 2 In large measure this was on account of the whispering of the townspeople over his parentage. 3 For all had heard there was some secret, and most likely shameful, concerning Jesus’ conception. 4 For this reason most called him the Fatherless. 5 Joseph and Mary heard the mockery and the ill-rumor, and, though Mary did her best to pay it no mind, Joseph grew bitter, for he had always wondered concerning Jesus’ real father. 6 For this reason also, Joseph demanded of Mary that they have children of their own. In this Joseph erred, sowing seeds of contention. But Mary yielded to her husband. 7 There was little joy under their roof, and the neighbor children were swift to take up their parents’ taunts against Jesus.

8 When Jesus was twelve years old, his family took him up to Jerusalem for the feast, as was the custom of the Jews. 9 When the feast was over, and the pilgrims streamed out of the city, Jesus was not to be found. 10 But Joseph was eager to be on the way, so he said to his wife, “Surely the boy is with our kin in the crowds. He will be back in time for supper.” 11 At this Mary was afraid, but she was obedient to her husband, and they set out for home. But the day wore on and Jesus did not join them. 12 Mary began to upbraid Joseph, that he did not love the boy and cared not whether he were lost or found. 13 So Joseph, much vexed, asked among their kin, and none had seen him. And they returned to Jerusalem, a day’s walk. 14 For another whole day they searched the city, fearing for him more and more. At last they went to the temple to pray, and there they saw him. 15 And they were amazed, for he sat among the scribes and the teachers of the law, asking them questions and answering theirs. 16 And, as if he were a child playing games with other children, they cried out to him, “Son, why have you treated us in this fashion? We have been driven to distraction looking for you!” 17 But Jesus was indignant and replied, “Why did you search? Where would I be but here in my Father’s house?”

18 And Jesus passed many years in Nazareth, attracting no notice and keeping his own counsel, as it is written, “He will neither wrangle nor cry aloud, nor will they hear his voice raised in the streets.” 19 But to God he often raised his voice. The youth heard the outcry of his people, trampled upon by the Gentiles, and he prayed, 20 “How long, O Lord? How long before your Anointed shall appear upon the earth to set things right? 21 For your people are like a flock without a shepherd, and there are many ravening wolves.” 22 And many times he heard a voice, as if his own heart spoke, saying, “O valiant one, it is you who shall accomplish the thing you ask. It shall be your own task.” 23 And for long he did not heed it, fearing to exalt himself.

24 Now Joseph was a carpenter, and one day he was cutting the wood for a throne that one of Antipas’ men had ordered. 25 It was a costly thing, and Joseph was anxious. Again and yet again he would cut one leg shorter than the rest. 26 Then Jesus, being about twenty, came in and said to him, “What troubles you, my father?” 27 And Joseph told him how he hated to waste the wood in vain attempts, as it was fine quality and quite expensive. Soon the task should cost him more than he should be paid for it. 28 And Jesus said to him, “Take your ease, O Joseph, for your eye is dimmed with the years, but mine is sharp as the eagle’s.” 29 So he took over the task and evened up the legs straightaway. 30 Joseph was greatly astonished, and he said to Jesus, “One day you shall sit upon such a throne, in accord with what the angel told us.” 31 But Joseph’s natural sons heard it and murmured, “Will this fellow then rule over us, too? And him not even our father’s son?” And they hated him.

 

6:1 Jesus said to his family, “Behold: John is baptizing for the remission of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him.” 2 And James his brother said to him, “What sin have you to repent of?” 3 Now this he said in mockery, for none of them believed in him. 4 But Jesus answered, “The righteous does not rejoice in his lack of sin, but mourns the sins of others. It is for their sake I shall be baptized.” 5 So Jesus journeyed alone to the Jordan valley, where he joined the throng waiting for baptism. 6 John knew him not by sight, for they had been separated since infancy. 7 But when Jesus came up out of the water, John saw the heavens opening and the Spirit, as if it were a dove, descending upon Jesus. 8 And he heard a voice, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Hear him.” 9 And so John testified to the people, “Behold, the Elect of God, he who shall take away the sins of the world.” 10 But to Jesus he said, “The Law and the Prophets weigh on my shoulders like the mantel of Elijah. Now I pass it on to you. In all the prophets the Holy Spirit awaited you. And now I may depart in peace, having seen the Lord’s Anointed.” 11 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, John, for you are like the faithful steward who greets his lord when he comes. Well done, good and faithful servant.”

12 And Jesus stayed with him for many days, for he said to him, “O John, you baptize the multitudes all day long. The burden is too great for you to bear alone. Appoint me to share your task, that your light not be dimmed aforetime.” 13 And John was willing. So in the daytime, the two baptized all who came to the Jordan, confessing their sins. And in the evenings, they spoke much of the kingdom of God.

14 There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and Jesus was invited, with his mother. The wine flowed freely, and there was much rejoicing. But Jesus was silent. 15 When Mary saw it, she said to her son, “Surely the guests of the bridegroom do not fast while the bridegroom is with them? Fast another day, when the bridegroom has departed and the feast is done.” 16 But Jesus replied, “Woman, you know not what you are saying. You make me the friend of the bridegroom when I ought to be the bridegroom. 17 For thrice have I besought you to get for me the sister of John, that I might take her to wife, but you would not.” 18 For soon after the death of Elizabeth, Zechariah had taken a second wife, a younger one, who bore him sons and daughters. 19 “And now my hour is come, and I stand forlorn, a bridegroom without a bride.” For not even his mother understood the will of God concerning him.

20 From Cana, Jesus went with his mother and his brothers to Capernaum, and they remained there for a few days while Jesus taught them how the Son of Man must needs find his mate and restore the family of humankind as children of their Father in heaven. 21 But his meaning was hidden from them, and they did not understand him.

22 Now John’s fame was increasing so that many, hearing his mighty words and seeing his prophet’s mien, wondered if he might be the Christ. 23 And it came to the ears of the priests in Jerusalem, and they sent some scribes to question him. And John agreed to hear them. They asked him, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher sent from God. But tell us, who are you? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 24 And he answered, “I am not.” “What, then? Are you the Prophet like Moses?” He said, “As the Lord lives, no.” And they asked, “Are you Elijah returned?” And he answered, “God forbid!” 25 Finally they beseeched him, “Give us some answer for those who sent us.” 26 And John answered them, “I am the voice crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, and make the path straight before him.’” And they departed.

27 But Jesus heard of it, and he was much dismayed, and he said to one of John’s disciples, named Andrew, “John himself is Elijah the prophet, but he is not willing to accept it. 28 For he has prepared my way. If I am the Christ, as he himself announced, then the course of Elijah falls to him.” 29 And Andrew told him, “John believes Elijah is to appear in the clouds, to be seen by every eye, and he sees him not.” 30 Jesus replied, “Then he who has proclaimed me will soon deny me.”

31 And he took refuge in the wilderness and among the wild animals. And for forty days he ate nothing and besought God in prayer and tears. 32 “O Father, those whom I trusted have failed not me, but you. 33 Like Israel of old, they have hesitated on the threshold of Kadesh-Barnea when they might have advanced your kingdom. 34 And now it is allotted to me to recover what has been lost by your faithless servant John. 35 Strengthen my hand as you strengthened Moses’ hand in the desert, that I may cancel the debts of those before me.”

36 And Satan appeared to him and said, “If you are the Elect of God, command this stone to become bread, even as Moses spoke to it, and drank of the water that came forth, and gave it to his people.” 37 And Jesus replied, “No, but God has humbled me with hunger, that I might learn that man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word of God. 38 As Israel ate the manna in the wilderness, my food and drink is to do the will of him who sent me.” 39 And thus did he restore the rock that Moses had defiled when God told him to speak to it and he struck it instead.

40 Again, Satan took him to the roof of the temple and dared him, “If you are the Elect of God, cast yourself down, so that all may see and believe! 41 For scripture says, ‘He shall put his angels in charge of you, so you will not even stub your toe.’ 42 But Jesus replied, “No, but it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah, but you shall diligently keep his commandments.’” 43 And Satan took him up to the height of heaven and showed him outspread the kingdoms of the earth. 44 And he said, “All this I will give you if you swear fealty to me, even as the first Adam did.” 45 But Jesus said, “Satan, flee! For Moses said, ‘You shall serve the Lord your God, eschewing the gods of the nations among whom you live.’” 46 So Satan left him, and the angels came to feed him, saying, “Where Israel failed for forty years, you have conquered in forty days.”

 

7:1 Jesus was walking on the shore of the Lake of Galilee when he saw Andrew and Simon his brother in their boats, where they sat darning their nets. 2 Now these knew Jesus by sight. And Jesus stopped to speak with them. “Follow me, and I will teach you to fish for the souls of men.” 3 The brothers looked at one another and dropped what they were doing. And they followed him. 4 But Simon said to him, “Lord, let me first say goodbye to my family.” 5 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for I have not enslaved you.” 6 And he went on a little further and found Simon’s co-workers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. 7 He summoned them, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And they left their father with the hirelings. 8 And as they left, Zebedee was heard muttering, “This magician leads our children astray!”

9 As Jesus went from village to village throughout all Galilee and Peroea, many followed him, and he observed them closely. 10 After some days he called twelve to join him and to share the burden with him. 11 He told them, “If anyone would follow me, let him forsake home and possessions, property and family. 12 Whoever has a wife, let him live as if he had none. Whoever has dealings with this world, let him live as if having none. 13 Let those who mourn be as if they did not mourn, and those rejoicing as if they did not rejoice. For the time is short.” 14 He chose Simon, whom he also called Peter, which is interpreted as “the Foundation Stone,” and his brother Andrew, saying, “For he is like unto the man God made in the beginning,” and James and John, sons of Zebedee, whom he called “Sons of the Thunderer.” 15 There were also Matthew, who collected fees at the temple, and Bar-Ptolemy, who was an aristocrat, and Nathanael, a dresser of fig trees. 16 And he chose Simon called the Zealous, for that he was full of zeal for the Law, and Thaddaeus and James of Alphaeus and Thomas called the Twin, and Judas Iscariot, meaning “the False One,” as he came afterward to be known. 17 And a number of women followed him, paying for their food and lodging and listening to his word. 18 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and Miriam, the mother of James and John.

19 Whenever any gave food or clothing to Jesus, he handed it out first to his disciples. 20 Wherever the company spent the night, indoors or out, he saw to it that the women, then the disciples, had the choicest places. 21 When one asked him about this, he replied, “My constant state is hunger, my tunic is fear, and my robe is wool. 22 I warm myself in the winter sun; my candle is the moon; my mounts are my feet. My food and delicacies are the fruits of the earth. 23 Neither at the start of the day nor at its close do I possess a thing, yet no one on earth is a richer man than I.”

24 And Jesus came with his disciples to the house of Simon Peter in Capernaum, where his daughter had long consumed the means of the family with lingering illness, for she was sorely crippled since birth. 25 And Peter had told him about her, hoping he might see fit to heal her. 26 But as they entered the house, Peter’s mother-in-law told him, “Trouble not the teacher the more, for the child is dead.” 27 And she wept much, but Peter only looked at Jesus. 28 And Jesus said, “Where is the child?” And they showed him to the inner room, and he took with him Peter and Andrew and James, 29 and he bent over the girl’s twisted form and said to her, “I tell you, daughter of Simon, get up!” And the girl arose and made to embrace her father. 30 And all rejoiced, save Simon himself, so that Jesus asked him, “What troubles you, Simon?” 31 And Simon Peter replied, averting his gaze, “My master, I hoped you might heal her of her affliction as well, yet she is no better, albeit she lives again.” 32 And Jesus said to him, “Do you think the Son of Man came to make men’s lives easier? Nay, rather, harder, for only so may they learn endurance and compassion.”

33 There was in Bethany a scribe of the Pharisee sect, who was also named Simon, and he lived in seclusion because he had contracted leprosy, so that none dared any more to associate with him. 34 No one convicted him of wrongdoing, yet all deemed him stricken by God for unknown sins. 35 Jesus sought out the house of this man, knocking on his door. His disciples were afraid and stood behind him in the dooryard. 36 When Simon answered the door, Jesus’ disciples cried out, “Lord, touch him not, for he is a leper!” 37 Jesus, turning to them, said, “Moses, too, was afflicted with a leprous arm, but he used that arm to carry the tables of the Law. 38 Likewise, this man, though a leper, has faithfully borne the Law his whole life.” 39 And Jesus touched his hand. From that moment he was clean, and Jesus said, “Be sure to present yourself before the priests, that they may certify you as clean.”

40 And no sooner had they arrived at Bethsaida than some brought him a blind man and begged him to heal him. 41 Jesus led the man away from the village, and he spat on the ground, and spread the mud over the man’s eyes, asking him, “Do you see anything?” 42 And he, squinting, said, “Yes, Lord, I see men, but they have the appearance of walking trees” (for he had not been born blind). 43 So Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes a second time, whereupon he was able to see everything clearly. 44 But as for Jesus, he was much weakened, so that his disciples had to assist him. And one asked him, “Master, how are you weakened, you who command the very power of God?” 45 And Jesus answered, “If you think I rejoice to do miracles, you are greatly mistaken, for power goes out from me, and my soul ebbs. What I give freely to others costs me dearly.”

46 Now a dispute arose between one of John’s disciples and a disciple of Jesus over baptism, 47 and John’s disciple came to him, saying, “Master, that man you baptized beyond the Jordan, he is baptizing now, and it is said, ‘John has baptized his thousands and Jesus his tens of thousands.’” 48 John replied, “Can any man receive more than heaven assigns him? You yourselves can attest that I said I am neither the Christ nor Elijah, but only a voice of preparation. The bride is reserved for the Bridegroom alone. 49 As for the bridegroom’s friend, it is his lot only to listen for the bridegroom’s coming. And when he hears it, he rejoices greatly. Now I have heard it, and my joy is complete. 50 From now on, he must increase and I must decrease.”

 

8:1 These are the generations of Jesus Christ: Abraham fathered Isaac, and Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers, 2 and Judah fathered Peres and Zerah with Tamar, she who disguised herself as a harlot to continue her husband’s line. And Peres fathered Hezron, and Hezron fathered Aram, 3 and Aram fathered Aminadab, and Aminadab fathered Naasson, and Naasson fathered Shalman, 4 and Shalman fathered Boaz with Rahab the harlot of Jericho, and Boaz fathered Obed with Ruth who lay beside him at the feast, and Obed fathered Jesse, 5 and Jesse fathered David the king. And David fathered Solomon with the widow of Uriah, 6 and Solomon fathered Rehoboam, and Rehoboam fathered Abijah, and Abijah fathered Asa, 7 and Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, and Joram fathered Ahaziah, 8 and Ahaziah fathered Jehoash, and Jehoash fathered Amaziah, and Amaziah fathered Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah fathered Jotham, and Jotham fathered Ahaz, and Ahaz fathered Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, and Manasseh fathered Amon, and Amon fathered Josiah, 11 and Josiah fathered Eliakim, and Eliakim fathered Jonam, and Jonam fathered Joseph, 12 and Joseph fathered Judah, and Judah fathered Simeon, and Simeon fathered Levi, 13 and Levi fathered Matthat, and Matthat fathered Jorim, and Jorim fathered Eliezar, 14 and Eliezar fathered Joshua, and Joshua fathered Er, and Er fathered Elmadam, 15 and Elmadam fathered Cosam, and Cosam fathered Addi, and Addi fathered Melchi, 16 and Melchi fathered Neri, and Neri fathered Shealtiel, and Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel, 17 and Zerubbabel fathered Joanan the prince, and Joanan fathered Joda, 18 and Joda fathered Josech, and Josech fathered Semein, and Semein fathered Mattathias, 19 and Mattahias fathered Maath, and Maath fathered Naggai, and Naggai fathered Esli, 20 and Esli fathered Nahum, and Nahum fathered Amos, and Amos fathered Mattathias, 21 and Mattathias fathered Joseph, and Joseph fathered Jannai, and Jannai fathered Melchi, 22 and Melchi fathered Levi, and Levi fathered Matthat, and Matthat fathered Heli, 23 and Heli fathered Joachim, and Joachim fathered Mary, who bore Jesus, the one called Christ.

24 And Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth, the town where he grew up. 25 And when the time came for the scroll of the Prophets to be read, the ruler of the synagogue handed it to him, and he found the passage which reads,

 

26 “The Spirit of the Lord rests upon me,

seeing that he has anointed me to bring a good report to the poor.

27 He has charged me to issue a pardon to all those in debtor’s prison

and to lead them back into bright daylight,

28 to pay the debts the present owes to the past,

and to announce the time of the Lord’s amnesty.

 

29 “This very hour the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. For I am the only-begotten Son of God.” 30 But the crowd began to murmur, “Is this not Jesus, the brother of James, Simeon, and Judas? And are not his sisters Hannah and Ruth and Esther? 31 Is he not the son of Mary and whose father no one knows? How does he now presume to great things?” 32 And Jesus replied, “God is my Father, for I always do the things that please him.” 33 But they only grew the more enraged, saying, “You were born in sin, and you would teach us? Away with him!” 34 But Jesus, unafraid, replied, “You are sons of your father, the devil, and that is why you cannot hear my voice.”

35 The ruler of the synagogue seized the scroll from him and said, “We are the sons of Abraham and have never been slaves to any mortal man.” 36 But Jesus said to them, “In the beginning it was not so. For it is written, ‘He made them male and female and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply.”’ 37 But before the man and the woman had reached due age, the devil came in the form of a serpent and led our mother Eve astray. 38 And she seduced our father Adam, so that, through her sin the race of Adam was founded not upon the Creator but upon the Tempter and owed allegiance to him. 39 And so does sin prevail even to this day. But I have come to take away the sin of the world. 40 I shall strike off the yoke of Satan and turn every one back to his heavenly Father, so that they will all be one, even as my Father and I are one.”

41 At this the crowd rushed from the synagogue, bearing him to the crest of a nearby hill, intending to throw him over headlong, for that was the manner in which they were wont to execute criminals. 42 And he said to them, “I have done many good deeds; for which of them do you condemn me to death?” 43 And they replied, “For no good deed, but for blasphemy, for you, a mere man, make yourself God.” 44 But in the end they did not cast him down the precipice but chased him from the town. 45 As he stood at the border of the town, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 46 His disciples saw it and were astonished. They asked him, “Lord, would you bless those who lately sought your life?” 47 And he said to them, “I had rather accustom my tongue to blessing than to cursing.” They went on to Bethsaida.

48 One Sabbath, as Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, Jesus saw a man in distress. He went up to him and said, “What upsets you so, my man?” 49 The man replied, “I love the scriptures, but I do not trust the elders of the synagogue to read what is written there. 50 It seems to me they add words and take words away to their own advantage, and to deceive the people.” 51 “Then why do you not step forth to read?” Jesus replied. “For any grown man may do so.” 52 “Sir, I am illiterate, and no one taught me.” 53 And Jesus said to those around him, “Blessed is he who will not take God’s word by hearsay.” And he laid hands on the man, and from that moment on he was able to read.

 

9:1 And Jesus led his disciples to a hill where he might be heard by the increasing multitude, and he said to them:

2 “Blessed are you poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

3 Blessed are you who mourn as God mourns, for you will comfort him and he you.

4 Blessed are you meek, for you shall inherit the earth.

5 Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for you shall be satisfied.

6 Blessed are you who show mercy, for you will in like manner receive it again.

7 Blessed are you who are pure in heart, for you shall see God.

8 Blessed are you peace-makers, for God loves you as sons and daughters.

9 Blessed are you who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

10 Blessed are you when men call you zealot and madman on account of my name. 11 Indeed, rejoice in it, for that is how they treated the prophets of old.

12 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its savor, what is it good for?

13 “You are the light of the world. Therefore be torches in the tunnel of this world, along which men pass from birth to death. 14 Let them not stumble in the darkness to their doom.

15 “Solomon built the temple of my Father upon Mount Zion, where all may see it. I tell you the truth: one greater than Solomon is here. 16 You must become temples of God. Then all people seeking the way to God will look to you.

17 “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. I have come not to abolish the scriptures but to fulfill them.

18 “No one who exalts his own righteousness over that of another shall enter the kingdom of heaven. 19 No one who gainsays the worship of another loves his brother or his God. 20 You shall testify to the faith you cherish, but he who blasphemes the faith of another sets his own at naught.

21 “Moses the lawgiver commanded the men of old: ‘You must not murder; and the murderer shall not escape judgment.’ 22 Yet whoever is angry at his brother has already sinned. 23 If he calls him fool, he has incurred judgment, and if he insults him, he is accused before the angels in heaven. 24 But if you refrain from these, you will never murder another.

25 “So if you find yourself standing at the altar, ready to offer your sacrifice, and at once you recall a wrong done to your brother, leave the beast at the altar while you go and make things right with your brother, 26 for had Abel given thought for his brother’s bitterness, he should not have invited his retribution, and Cain should never have murdered him.

27 “Moses warned, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But it was for the hardness of your heart. 28 He who lusts after the wife of another has sinned, even if he lacks the will to do the deed. 29 Like Cain, he may escape the justice of men, but God has seen his heart. If he masters his lusts, he will never commit adultery.

30 “If your covetous eye should entice you, look not upon the thing. If your hand reaches out to steal, tie it behind you. 31 If your aimless foot wanders to the house of another, trip yourself at the threshold.

32 “Again, Moses commanded: ‘If a man will divorce his wife, let him give her the proof of a bill of divorce in case she wishes to marry another.’ 33 But have you not read how the Creator, right from the start, ‘made them male and female?’ 34 And ‘This is why a man shall leave father and mother and shall join with his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.’ 35 This means they are no longer two but one, the image of God who has made them to be one. So then, if God has yoked them together, let no mere mortal divide them. 36 Because of your hard hearts Moses permitted you to send your wives away. 37 But I say to you that whoever sends her away, except of course for impurity, and marries another commits adultery.

38 “Did not Moses command: ‘You must not promise and not perform, lest you invoke the name of God in vain’? 39 And was it not on account of your stubbornness? Rather, let your ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ suffice. 40 For if you are known as a guileful man, no oath of yours will suffice. 41 But if you are known for a true man, no one will require an oath of you.

42 “You know that Moses ordained: ‘Let an eye be the price of an eye, and a tooth the price of a tooth.’ 43 But why should you claim your recompense? You shall overcome your enemy by making peace with him. 44 If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him the left, that all may see his foolishness. 45 If your creditor takes your coat in payment, offer your tunic, too, for his trouble. 46 If a soldier drafts you to carry his pack for a mile, carry it a second mile that he may see your good will and glorify your Father in heaven, for so does he suffer long on behalf of sinners.

47 “You heard that it was commanded, ‘You shall love your neighbor and reserve your hate for your enemy.’ 48 But I command you, Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, 49 so that you may become true sons of your Father in the heavens, for he orders his sun to rise on wicked and good alike, and he rains equally on righteous and unrighteous. 50 For if you love the ones who love you, what reward awaits you in heaven? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 51 And if you give a greeting only to your brothers, what extra are you doing? Do not even the heathen do the same? 52 Therefore be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

10:1 “See that you do not make a laughingstock of your righteousness by seeking the praise of men. For God is not mocked. 2 When you give alms, do not give the more because the eyes of men are upon you, or give less when none sees it, 3 for then it is to yourself that you give, and you only accrue a debt with your Father in heaven. 4 And you shall not enter his kingdom till you have paid the last cent of it. 5 Rather, when you give to the poor be like the juggler who does one thing with his right hand while bidding men to look to his left. 6 So you will make your almsgiving a secret, and God will rejoice.

7 “And do not content yourselves with prayer in the synagogues or on the streets, as if you were a subject grudging to pay taxes to a king as his collectors look on. 8 No, but you must seek a private place to pray in earnest, and to struggle mightily in spirit with God. 9 For good wishes do not advance his kingdom, but only striving with tears against the flesh and against the Evil One. 10 For, though your Father knows what you need before you ask, it may be that you do not know it until you ask. 11 Neither think that he will supply if you neglect to ask, for God does not throw his pearls before swine.

12 “When you pray, say such as this:

Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

13 May your kingdom come.

May your will be done on earth

as it is in heaven.

14 Give us today our daily bread,

And forgive us our debts

As we forgive our debtors.

15 Lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from the Evil One.

16 For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you accordingly. 17 But if you refuse to forgive another his offense, do not suppose your Father will forgive you. For the judge of all the earth is just.

18 Truly I tell you, unless you work to pay the debts of the past, your heavenly Father’s kingdom cannot come. 19 Redeem the time so that God may send upon you times of refreshment from his presence. 20 For those who came before you strayed often from the appointed path, and we can never reach the goal till we retrace their steps in righteousness.

21 “Think not that I have come to put an end to fasting, for the time of celebration is not yet. 22 It is only through tribulation that we must enter the kingdom of heaven, and the way that leads to it is straight and narrow.

23 “Seek not to amass treasure on earth, where moth and rust defile, but seek to amass treasure in heaven, where your good deeds are faithfully recorded. 24 Do not say to yourselves: ‘My treasure is great on earth, but my heart is with God,’ for I tell you truly, wherever your treasure is, your heart will be also. 25 And I tell you, no one who has given up family or livelihood or possessions or home for the sake of God’s kingdom shall fail to receive a hundred fold, for all things are yours.

26 “Therefore, do not worry about your life, what to eat or what to drink or what to wear, as if life were not much more than these. 27 Behold the birds of the sky: do they plant and plow and harvest? They do as God has charged them, and he feeds them from his hand. 28 Who will call the lily a sluggard for that he does not labor at the loom to make his finery? It is God who has made a covenant with him, to array him like King Solomon. 29 Even so, as long as you pursue the kingdom of God and his righteousness, he will supply your needs. 30 So why waste time worrying about tomorrow? 31 Can you turn one hair from white to black by fretting over it? The hairs of your head are numbered, and none falls out save as God has deigned.

32 “Do not be one of those who judges his fellows, for they will be the quicker to judge you when you sin. 33 And how dare you judge another till your own heart is pure? 34 You think to see a plank in your brother’s eye when in truth it is a tiny speck which looms large in your own. When you remove it, you may see the plank is gone as well.

35 “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened for you. 36 Only remember not to give up hope. It is as if a man went to the house of a rich man to beg for alms and knocked at the door. 37 So great were the rich man’s possessions that it took him some time to make a path through them to reach the door. 38 When he got there, he would gladly have given alms, but the poor man, having grown impatient, had already left.

39 “Would any of you men give your son a stone if he asked for a piece of bread? If he desired a fish, would you give him a serpent, saying, ‘Here, eat this’? 40 How much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask? 41 But you may say, ‘I have asked for much, and God has given me nothing.’ Then I ask you, what if your son asked for a snake to play with? Would you give it to him?

42 “Do you bemoan how others mistreat you? How do you treat them? Treat others as you wish they should treat you, and you will see the fruit of it. 43 For this is the wisdom of God, and he has sent many wise men to say it.

44 “The day will come when you will seek admittance to my wedding feast, and to sit beside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 45 Be careful lest on that day I say to you, ‘Friend, how did you get in without a wedding garment?’ 46 For then you shall answer, ‘But Lord, we are your friends of old. In your name we did great deeds.’ 47 And I will say, ‘Alas, you are strangers to me. Go your way, then. Yours is the fruit of a bitter tree.’

48 “These, then, are my words. Whoever shall heed them is a wise builder who raises his house on a firm foundation. No rain, no wind, no storm can overthrow that house on account of its stony base. 49 But he who is ashamed of my words and dismisses them as a dreamer’s prattle, he is a fool having pitched a tent to stand against a tempest, and he shall be swept away with it.”

 

11:1 As Jesus entered Capernaum, he saw a group of men chasing another. They carried stones to stone him at the edge of the village. 2 And Jesus met them and asked, “Men of Capernaum, why do you stone this wretch? What evil has he done?” 3 And their leader replied, “He is Ananias the apothecary, and he shuns the synagogue, spending his days mixing potions and poisons. 4 And now he says he has made some stuff wherewith ailments may be cured that were never cured before. He would deceive us with the sorcery of Beliar.” 5 But Jesus asked, “And has his ointment healed any of your sick?” And at this, more than a few hands went up among the crowd. 6 And Jesus said, “You ought then to glorify God that in his mercy he has given this man such wisdom.”

7 Another time Jesus said to the disciples, “What would you do if you saw your brother asleep, and the wind had blown aside his tunic, leaving him exposed?” 8 They said, “We would cover him up.” He said, “No, you would uncover him.” They said, “God forbid! Who would do that?” 9 He said, “Anyone who hears a rumor about his brother and adds to it, then passes it on.”

10 His disciples asked him, “Lord, why does God allow his elect to suffer persecution?” And he answered them with a parable. 11 “The kingdom of God is like a clever gladiator who circles his opponent, inviting his blows to test his strength. And when he sees that his foe is spent, he drives home his own blows and defeats him. 12 Even so, God and Satan have ever fought one another, each through his agents on earth. God allows the wicked to strike first until they tire, while the righteous absorb the blows, gathering strength through endurance. 13 In the end, they win the day through their patience. And their blows are the righteous acts they do for others. Each good deed bruises Satan anew.”

14 Again he taught them. “There were ten maidens who took their lamps to wait for the bridegroom. 15 Of these, five were fools, five wise. The fools thought not to bring with them a supply of oil in case they should have long to wait, while the wise brought ample flasks of oil. 16 The bridegroom was long delayed, but the maidens kept their post. Finally they fell asleep. At midnight all were awakened when a voice announced: “The bridegroom has come! 17 Arise and welcome him!” The company of maidens rose up, straightening their clothes and hair. 18 Then it was that the foolish maidens saw their lamps had gone out, while the five were replenishing their own. 19 “Give us some of your oil!” they pleaded, but the wise maidens refused. “Then we should all run out. Perhaps you may find a shop in the village where you may buy oil.” 20 And so they ran off. But no sooner had they departed than the bridegroom came with his retinue. 21 And the five remaining bridesmaids went in with them to the feast. The door was shut and locked against the night. 22 At length the other five women returned and pounded on the door, saying, “Let us in!” 23 But the bridegroom told them, “I do not know your voice. Depart from me.” 24 So it will be with every one who does not maintain chastity before his wedding, however long it is delayed.

25 “A man may be compared to a stone mason. What sort of workman would he be if he piled together stones with no mortar to hold them in place?” 26 His disciples said, “Nothing that he made would stand, for as soon as one leaned upon a wall of his design, it should fall into a heap.” 27 “You are right,” he said. “But most men live their lives as if piling stone upon stone with nothing to keep them together. 28 The mortar that they lack is a purpose for living. Lacking that, a man only heaps up his own burial cairn.”

29 And he told them, “Once there was a priest who served at the altar, not because he loved God, but only because he loved the animal flesh allotted to him. 30 Mightily did he exhort the people to bring ever more offerings to present to God, who should then be more willing to answer their prayers. 31 And so did he fatten himself till he must needs widen the seam of his vestments. Things went on this way till the day he fell down at the altar, stricken. 32 The angel of death said to him, “Greedy fool! It is only to yourself that you sacrificed, and now you have become naught but one more dull beast for the slaughter.”

33 A man brought his brother to Jesus and besought him, “Lord, my brother is possessed by an unclean spirit which causes him to steal and to eat until he can hold no more.” 34 And Jesus told his disciples to cast it out, but they could not. So he ordered that the possessed one be brought before him, and he ordered him to speak. 35 “I am Ahasuerus, and I was a rich man, and though I died, I love this world with a desire that cannot be quenched. Hence do I remain in it and seek my fill through others, like this poor fool.” 36 And Jesus told him, “O Ahasuerus, I cast you out! Go now to your due punishment!” And the man fell limp, delivered of the spirit. 37 As his brother helped him on his way, the disciples asked Jesus, “Master, why could we not cast it out?” 38 And he said, “Because you are too much like him, attached to this world rather than the next.”

39 As Jesus was setting out on the road, a young man approached him, saying, “O Teacher of righteousness, tell me what I must do to inherit eternal life, and I will do it.” 40 And Jesus said to him, “That answer is well known. You know the ten commandments, do you not?” 41 And the man, a ruler of the Jews, answered, “Indeed, sir. By the grace of God I have observed them all the days of my life. And yet I feel there must be something more.” 42 And Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, you are by no means far from the kingdom of God! Only sell all you possess, giving the proceeds to the poor, and follow me. Then you will have what you desire. 43 For the kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. It is worth all that a man has to buy that field.” 44 And the man went away sobered, for he had many riches to disperse.

 

12:1Now John languished in the prison of the tetrarch, and his disciples brought reports of the mighty works done by Jesus. 2 For John had proclaimed Jesus as the Christ at the Jordan many months before. 3 But he remembered how Jesus and his mother had been cast out by Elizabeth, and he lost his faith him, saying to himself, “Shall a bastard mount the throne of God’s kingdom?” 4 And at once he abandoned all efforts to win the mighty among the people to Jesus’ side. 5 Instead he turned to castigating the affairs of the household of Herod, and was imprisoned. 6 But now he heard of many miracles wrought by Jesus’ hands, and he wondered. 7 So he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the One who was to come, as John said at the first? Or shall we wait for another?”

8 They found him amid the crowds who had come for healing. 9 Jesus received them, and he said to them, “Go back to John and tell him what you see and hear, how the deaf are made to hear and the blind receive their sight. 10 The dead are raised and the lepers restored. What more evidence does he need? 11 John spoke the truth when he testified concerning me, so let him not now find offense in me.

12 Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, saying, “I tell you, of men born of women there has appeared none greater than John the Baptist, and yet now he ranks below even the least in the kingdom of heaven. 13 What did you journey to the wilderness of Jordan to see? The common reeds swept by every wind? 14 No? Then what did you go to see? Great men clad in silks and linen? Such men are to be found in palaces. 15 And God sent John to summon them to prepare the way for the kingdom of heaven, but he would not. 16 Thus, if you are willing to believe it, John is the sign of Jonah for this generation, for though Jonah fled the will of God, the nobles of Nineveh repented at his preaching. 17 But the great men of this generation waited in vain for their Jonah to emerge from the water and preach to them.

18 “Alas for John, for like Esau of old, he has forfeited his birthright. Alas for him, I say, for he has strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel. 19 For the sins of Antipas were many and well-known. He was a broad target that a blind archer could not miss, 20 and John has emptied his quiver feathering that target. Now he has no arrows left to aim as the hunt begins. 21 But John, once the bowman, has contented himself with a pot of stew, and, sleepy after eating it, he has himself become the prey.”

22 When John’s disciples returned to the prison whence their master had sent them to Jesus, they were dismayed to learn that he had lost his head by the order of Antipas, who had promised it to a flute girl as a present. 23 They buried the body and lamented loudly for him. When word of it came to Jesus, he, too, lamented for John, saying:

24 “Alas, for the kingdom of God has suffered violence,
and violent men seize it.
John was the kingdom’s tall tower,
fortified with many shields,
but now it lies in ruins on the ground.
25 No man toppled it,
but it collapsed from within.
Its greatness was too much for it!
And now its dwellers huddle helpless;
prey to the ravening beasts.

26 John was the colossus that was to guide home the voyagers
leading them to the Son of Man.
But now that it lies fallen, how great the confusion!

27 Its lighthouse beacon has gone out;
and now sailors can scarcely find their way past the rocks
to the harbor of the kingdom of God.”

28 A tax collector asked Jesus, “Why are your disciples the poorest of the land? With such men, little may be accomplished.” 29 And Jesus answered him, “It is like a man who planned a feast. On his guest list were all the leading men of the town. 30 When the feast was prepared, he called his steward and commanded him to summon the guests. 31 He went to each one and told him, ‘The hour is here: my master summons you to his supper.’ But to a man, none thought it worth his while. 32 One said, ‘Alas, I have business affairs to which I must attend.’ Another said, ‘Please have me excused, for I must see to a sick mare.’ A third begged off, saying, ‘My wife will not allow me.’ 33 So the man grew angry, saying, ‘Why do they dishonor me so?’ 34 And he said to his servant, ‘Go into the streets and invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, lest the food be wasted.’”

 

13:1 And when the twelve had journeyed for some weeks with Jesus, he sent them out in pairs to preach the coming of the kingdom of God. 2 “For,” he said to them, “no one can build a great house unless he first lays a broad foundation.” He told them, “Consider your calling. Not many of you are wealthy or powerful or of noble birth. 3 My Father appointed the highborn of Israel as his stewards, to build his kingdom upon the earth, but they would not. And so he has revealed these things unto the simple.

4 “I am sending you out like sheep amid wolves. They will despise you and mock you and call you evil for the sake of my name. 5 But in all this you shall love your enemies, for they know not what they do. 6 He who seeks to preserve his life will forfeit it, but he who yields up his life for my sake and the kingdom’s, that one shall preserve it for eternal life.

7 “You shall journey from town to town, preaching and healing the sick and casting out unclean spirits as you have seen me do, 8 and they will call you Beelzebul, as they have called me. But you must bless those who curse you. 9 Be not ashamed of my name, but be careful what you say, lest you provoke the ignorant to persecute you, for then you will bear the blame.

10 “If any household shall welcome you, invoke God’s peace upon it, and all within shall be protected while you sojourn there. 11 If any town shall hound you to its borders, lament over them for the doom they have invited. 12 For God takes no pleasure in the fruit of men’s sins. 13 Remember, the Son of Man came to save men’s lives, not to destroy them.

14 “I send you out as you came from the womb: without gold or silver, without trade or protection, with neither possessions nor shelter. 15 Hitherto you have hardly trusted your Father for these things, but I tell you, preach his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be provided for you. 16 “For natural Israel has fallen away, and I am raising up, in you, a new Israel; how anxious I am till it be raised up!”

17 And the disciples asked, “When you come into your glory, grant that we may judge the nations from twelve thrones with you.” 18 But Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Many worship God hoping to gain heaven’s favors, while others hope to become his children, but in all the ages God has sought in vain true sons and daughters who desire naught but to be offerings to him. 19 The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. 20 And if you would share his glory, know that it is the glory of service unto others, both those who love you and those who despise you. 21 For if you serve only those who love you, what reward have you? For even sinners will do a favor as a means to an end. 22 But he who loves truly, even as your heavenly Father loves, serves expecting no return. 23 To that I have called you.” And he sent them out.

24 And after some days the disciples began to return to Jesus, two by two. Each recounted the mighty works God had done at his hands. 25 “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 26 Jesus said to them, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say, not only to a demon, but even to this mountain, ‘Be cast out!’ and it would obey you. 27 Nevertheless, rejoice not that the spirits obey you, but rejoice that your places are reserved at my table for my marriage supper.”

28 One day, Jesus’ mother and sisters and brothers, hearing the reports of him, set out to take him in hand, for they said, “He is out of his mind. 29 Let us seize him and confine him, and bring the elders of the synagogue to reason with him till he abandon these fancies and return to the carpenter shop.” 30 So they journeyed to where they heard he was. Now Jesus was surrounded by the twelve and the women and many others, and he taught about the kingdom of God. 31 And one at the edge of the crowd called out to him, “Master, your mother and sisters and brothers are asking to see you.” 32 But Jesus, knowing well their thoughts, said, “Just who are my mother and sisters and brothers? 33 Those around me here, who hear the word of God and keep it, these are my mother and sisters and brothers.” 34 And some were offended. But he said, “I am come to beget a new family that will love God as their Father. 35 And those who do will be counted as his children, and as brothers and sisters of one another.” 36 And lamenting over his family, he said, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

38 And in those days he told his disciples privately, “The Son of Man must wed for the good of all, that all flesh may return to their heavenly Father and form the True Family. 39 From her mother’s womb God had chosen the sister of John the Baptist for my bride. But John would not permit it. 40 So now it has fallen unto me to choose among the women who accom¬pany us, with whom we live as brothers with sisters. 41 I tell you now, so that, when the day of my betrothal comes, you may not be offended on account of me.”

42 He told them another parable. “A farmer had two sons, of whom the younger, tired of farm life and labor, said to him, 43 “Father, you are old, and your money brings you no comfort. Give me now my share of the estate, so that I may get some good from it.” 44 And, against his better judgment, his father did as he asked. When his older brother heard of it, he was enraged. But his brother had already left on his journey. 45 The younger son found it easy to spend money another had earned, and soon he ran out of it. 46 A famine struck the land where he sojourned, and he was reduced to tending unclean swine to eke out a living. 47 When he began to hunger for the meat of the pigs, he awoke as if from sleep, saying, ‘Have I truly come to this? 48 If God will be with me, I shall return to my father’s house as a beggar. Perhaps he will show me mercy.’ After many days the younger son reached his father’s farm, full of shame. 49 But his father smothered his words in a mighty embrace, saying, ‘Come, my son, let us rejoice, for I had given you up for dead.’ 50 But when the elder brother heard it, he called his father aside, demanding of him, ‘My father, am I a slave to be ignored for all my labor on your behalf, while you reward this wastrel for making a fool of you? He deserves to die!’ 51 But his father said to him, ‘My son, he loves more who is forgiven more. 52 Be like Esau, who forgave his brother, rather than Cain who, out of envy, slew him.’”

 

14:1 Word came to Jesus that his friend Lazarus, who was also called Eleazar, was sick nearly to death. 2 Now Lazarus lived with his sisters Mary and Martha in Bethany, some days’ journey away. 3 But Jesus made no haste to depart, and his disciples were perplexed. “Lord, should we not be on our way, lest you arrive too late to save your friend from death?” 4 And Jesus answered him, “To God all are alive. But that you may believe that the Father has sent me, let us go.” 5 When they arrived at Bethany, they were met by a crowd of mourning women, among whom were Lazarus’ sisters, who said to him, “Lord, had you been here, our brother might yet be alive!” 6 But Jesus said, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against me. Take away the stone from the tomb.” 7 Some Pharisees present warned, “It is not lawful to open the grave.” 8 But Jesus answered, “Is it lawful to trap a living man among the dead?” And they removed the stone. 9 Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, awake!” A shadow moved, and then Lazarus fell headlong from the tomb, bound as he was. 10 His sisters hastened to free him from the linen strips in which he had been buried. 11 And Jesus asked him, “Lazarus, whence do you come?” 12 And the man who was dead spoke. “Why have you disturbed my rest? For I was safe in the bosom of Father Abraham. 13 And then I heard a voice afar off, which said, ‘Send Lazarus to my brothers, that they may not come into this place of torment.’ And so I came.” 14 But when the scribes who had come from Jerusalem to mourn heard this, they scoffed, saying, “It is only trickery.”

15 Once, as Jesus was praying alone, James and John came upon him and saw that he was weeping. 16 So they asked him, “Lord, why do you weep so, when most men find ample cause to rejoice?” 17 Jesus said to him, “My Father has planted a crop; we must water it with our tears.”

18 A certain Pharisee, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin named Nicodemus, which means “ruler of the people,” came to Jesus under cover of darkness. 19 It was such as he whom the Baptist should have assembled to welcome Jesus to power. 20 But as it was, Nicodemus dared not voice his belief in Jesus to his fellows. Hence he came by night, and he said, 21 “Master, I know you are a teacher sent from God, else you could not perform the miracles you do. Tell me, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 22 And Jesus answered him, “Unless a man is born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” 23 But Nicodemus was troubled at this answer and said, “How can a man enter his mother’s womb to be born a second time?” 24 And Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 25 The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Unless you are born of the Spirit, you cannot see the kingdom of God.” 26 And Nicodemus said, “It is a hard saying, Lord. Increase my faith!”

27 And Jesus said, “You are a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not grasp what I say? Do you not know how sin came into the world through the first Adam, and with sin came death? What does David say?” 28 Nicodemus answered, “He says, ‘In sin did my mother conceive me.’” 29 Jesus com¬mended him, “You have answered wisely. And why does David say this? Is it not because the archangel seduced Eve?” 30 And he marveled at Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures, for that he had never studied.

31 “The family of Adam should have sprung from my Father, but on account of their sin, mankind springs instead from the Evil One. 32 God would restore the world to his own lineage, but first one must renounce the seed of the serpent and be born again as the seed of the Father. And so shall all flesh at last be God’s lineage. 33 For I am the Second Adam, and I must wed the Second Eve, and we shall become the True Parents. 34 And in that day shall all flesh shall be reborn as God’s true children. Do you understand these things?” 35 But Nicodemus went away downcast, for he had many notions to reconsider. 36 And Jesus said to his disciples, “See how hard it is for the wise and the learned to enter into the family of God! For there are many treasures of belief that they must first cast aside.”

37 Once, when he had finished praying, Jesus said to his disciples, “Seek you to console your Father in heaven, for his heart is forever heavy.” 38 And Thomas said to him, “Lord, how can a man console God?” 39 And Jesus replied, “By ceasing to do that which grieves him.”

 

15:1 They came to Bethany, to the house of Simon the leper, where Jesus had decided to make known his betrothal. 2 Now Mary Magdalene had been beloved of Judas, called Iscariot. But since they had followed Jesus, the disciples had put aside their former partners to live chastely as brothers and sisters. 3 Now Jesus told them, “Behold, I shall show you a mystery. The kingdom of God has come very near. The marriage supper of the Lamb has come upon you. I am the bridegroom, and you are the brides. 4 You call God both king and father, and you are right. He is king of all, even the disobedient, for they cannot escape his commands. But he would be Father of all, and he is not. 5 For since that hour in which Adam and Eve turned away from him in the garden, Satan has been their father, and the father of their seed. 6 Wherefore the repentance of men is not sufficient to establish the kingdom of God. 7 Unless you are born anew, you cannot be of the lineage of God. 8 I am the Second Adam, and my betrothed shall become the Second Eve. 9 As men and women join together in us, the True Family of humankind shall spring once more from the loins of my Father in heaven.”

10 But Judas asked him, “Lord, why must you take the wife of another?” 11 Jesus answered him, “Remember how the Archangel took her who was set apart for Adam. Therefore, in restoration, God must give her back to him. 12 Likewise did David love Bath-Sheba of old, and took her from Uriah, a Gentile. 13 But Uriah refused to yield her to the anointed of the Lord and forfeited his life in battle. 14 In this way did Bath-Sheba pass to David, and the wise Solomon was born to them. 15 These things happened as types of the latter days, when the Lamb should seek his rightful bride, and so he must reclaim her from another.”

16 And Salome did sing,

 

“You are the fairest of the sons of men;

grace is poured upon your lips

therefore God has blessed you for all time.

17 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;

You love righteousness and hate wickedness.

18 Therefore God, your God, has anointed you

With the oil of gladness above your fellows.”

 

19 Then Mary came into the room, clad in her best finery. And she sang,

 

“I am a rose of Sharon,

a lily of the valleys.

20 As an apple tree among the trees of the wood,

so is my beloved among young men.

21 He brought me to his banqueting table,

and his canopy over me was love.

22 O that his hand were under my head,

And that his right hand embraced me!”

 

23 And Joanna took up the song:

 

“Hear, O daughter, and consider well:

Forget your people and your father’s house;

24 And the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow before him.

25 The princess is arrayed with gold-woven robes;

in many-colored robes she is led to the king.

26 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;

Therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever.”

 

27 And Judas stood up beside Mary, but he looked at Jesus and was slow to open his lips. Jesus said to him, “What you must do, do quickly.” 28 And so Judas sang:

 

“No man can receive anything

that heaven has not given him.

29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom;

the friend of the bridegroom who rises at his approach

rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.

30 Therefore this joy of mine is now full.

He must increase,

But I must decrease.”

 

31 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Judas, for you have done the work of Eliezer, steward of Abraham, he who secured a wife for the son of promise.”

32 As he reclined at table, Mary Magdalene came to him with a jar of precious ointment, and she broke it and poured it over his head as a sign of their coming union, 33 as it is written, “For your love is better than wine, your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you.” 34 And Jesus said, “Mary has done a beautiful thing for me, and wherever the kingdom is preached throughout the world she shall be called blessed among women, even the True Mother of mankind.”

35 But Judas murmured, “Could not this ointment have been sold for some three hundred denarii, and given to the poor, as is our custom?” 36 And Jesus, hearing it, replied, “The poor are ever with you, and you can give to them every day and never finish giving. But this is the day that the Lord has made. Shall we not rejoice in it?” 37 At once Judas left Mary with the eleven and those around Jesus and went out into the night. The disciples thought it nothing untoward, as Judas was their steward and often went off to see to their provisions. 38 But Jesus watched him go and said to them, “Now my soul is filled with sorrow; for I fear the vengeance of Uriah is at hand.” 39 And he said to Mary, “The fruit of my Father’s will cannot spring from bitter roots. Only if the man offers you up gladly can you bear the mantle of True Mother. 40 Seek, then, to soften his heart with your words and tears.” And she agreed.

39 But Judas went to the chief priests in order to hand Jesus over to them, and they were glad at the prospect and offered to reward him. 40 And thereafter he kept his eyes open for an opportunity to betray Jesus and to reclaim Mary for himself. But Jesus returned to Galilee.

41 Reports of Jesus, of his words and deeds, spread ever more widely until multitudes left off their labors and came to see him for themselves. 42 And he had compassion on them and taught them many things as they sat on the slope of a hill in Bethsaida. At the end of the day, most of them were still with him. 43 His disciples looked out over the crowds and said to Jesus, “Master, there are far too many for us to feed. There must be above five thousand men, not counting women and children. Yet if we do not feed them, there may be a tumult. What are we to do?” 44 And Jesus answered them, “Are you so sure we are without means?” 45 But Judas told him, “It is even so, Lord, for here are our provisions: a roll and two salted fish. Such is not sufficient even for us.” 46 But Jesus, taking the bread and fish, lifted his eyes to the heavens and gave thanks, saying, “Open their eyes, O Lord, that they may behold your bounty.” 47 And he gave them to Andrew, saying, “Take a bit and pass it on, and as you hand it on, say, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” 49 And they did so, and in the end all were fed. “Lord,” they said, “give us this bread always!” 50 And a great confusion arose, some wishing to take him on their shoulders and make him king by force, saying, “He is the savior! He is the anointed leader of Israel!” 51 But others said, “What? Is he greater than Moses, who fed our fathers in the wilderness?” 52 But Jesus, crying out above the noise, said, “It is not for my Father’s kingdom that you hunger, but only for more bread. And with that he eluded them.

53 He told his disciples to cross the Lake of Galilee while he should remain where he was to spend some days in prayer. 54 So they got in the boat and set out. But a storm arose on the lake, and they were afraid of capsizing. 55 As the lightning flashed, Andrew beheld a lone figure walking toward them upon the surface of the lake, as if a man should walk upon the ground. 56 And they were all terrified, believing they were seeing a ghost, and that it signified they, too, should now perish. 57 But when the form came nearer, they saw that it looked like Jesus. 58 And he called out over the tempest, “Have no fear! It is I!” 59 And Peter replied, “Lord, if it is truly you, a living man, and not some phantom, then why may I not also tread the waves?” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Come, then!” And Peter got out of the boat and took a few steps toward Jesus, who now stood still with his hand extended. 61 But then, as a man waking from a dream, Peter looked about him and began to sink, as into quicksand, crying out, “Lord, save me!” 62 And Jesus seized his hand and the two climbed into the boat. 63 None spoke till they arrived ashore. Then Peter asked him, “Why could I not walk upon the water?” 64 Jesus replied, “Because you look not to the things that are unseen, but to the things that are seen. Scant is your faith!”

 

16:1 In those days the storm clouds began to gather, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Let him who is wise discern the signs of the present time. 2 For Satan will not easily allow my Father to wrest his prize from him. Watch out lest trial and temptation find you unprepared.” But they did not understand his warning.

3 Some scribes heard he was dining with sinners and hid themselves that they might eavesdrop to find something with which to accuse him. And it was the Sabbath. 4 At once they were doused with dish water from the window beneath which they crouched. Hearing the ruckus, Jesus and his hosts came out and asked of their welfare. 5 But the scribes said to Jesus, “Why do you not teach men to walk in the way of the elders and to hold fast their traditions? 6 It is not lawful to throw water out the window on the Sabbath, lest it strike seeds chancing to lie in the soil and cause them to sprout, and you be caught farming.” 7 And Jesus replied, “How blind you are! For you mean well, but in the name of the Law you erect idols of your own making. 8 Have you never read how Isaiah mocked the Gentiles for using half the log for kindling and bowing before the other half? 9 You who would build a hedge about the Law have thereby hidden it from men. 10 Knowing not which laws are from Moses and which you have created, they despair of keeping them all and henceforth keep none.”

11 When the Feast of Pentecost had come, when the Jews cele¬brate the giving of the Law at Sinai, Jesus was in Jerusalem with his disciples, 12 and he taught, saying, “Moses brought the Law, but the Son of Man brings you a greater revelation, that of grace and truth.” 13 Some scribes, hearing him, challenged him, “Take care, fellow, lest you blaspheme!” 14 And Jesus answered, “You search the scriptures, believing that in them you will find the secret of eternal life. And you do well. 15 But it is of me that the scriptures speak, and you refuse to come to me to get that life.” 16 And those who heard him were divided over him. Some said, “Is this not the Prophet like Moses?” But others said, “He is a madman, and he defiles this holy occasion.”

17 A Gentile came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, they say you Jews know the ways of God like no other nation. 18 Tell me, then: can God create a rock so heavy that even he cannot lift it up? If so, then he can by no means be almighty. But if he cannot, again he cannot be almighty. What say you?” 19 And Jesus replied, saying, “You are a clever man. And you are right, for God by no means holds all power. Not even he may turn the perverse heart to love him, and such is your own.” 20 As he went away, Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware lest you harden your hearts like the ground without rain, lest at length, like Esau, you cannot repent though you may wish it. 21 For so does one cast out the Spirit of God. And this trespass has no forgiveness in this age or in the age to come.”

22 It was a Sabbath when Jesus took hold of a lame man’s crooked leg and made it straight again. 23 Now the man was rich, and in his gratitude he gave to Jesus a gift of money to feed his disciples for a week. 24 But the scribes who followed Jesus at a distance objected, “The law permits a man to heal for money, and it permits a man to save life on the Sabbath. 25 but this fellow’s life was in no danger. Why break the Sabbath when he might have waited one more day?” 26 Jesus answered, saying, “I should say he has waited long enough. If God took his rest after six days creating the heavens and the earth, he shall not begrudge this child of his to take his rest after so many years of toiling.”

27 Certain Sadducees who were of the Herodian sect came to Jesus saying, “Why do you speak of the kingdom of God that is coming with power? 28 For it matters not whether a man bear arms; such words are weapons enough, and Rome will not let them pass unchallenged.” 29 And Jesus answered, saying, “Alas for you, lapdogs of Tiberius! For you are like a man with a gangrenous limb; he fears to cut it off, but if he neglects to do so, it will consume him altogether. 30 I tell you the truth: whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever gives his life for the kingdom of God’s sake, that one shall save it.”

31 Another of the Sadducees asked him, “Teacher, you say that God weeps for the sins of his creatures. But is not God that great Power in which all things consist? 32 Surely Moses spoke of the deity rejoicing or weeping as men do because the men of olden times were duller of wit than us.” 33 Jesus answered them, “Your god is not the living God; the God of Israel both loved and wept. Do not ascribe to him your own cold heart.”

34 As Jesus and his disciples were passing along the border of Samaria, he grew tired and sat at the edge of a well. 35 While his disciples slept in the afternoon sun, a woman of Samaria came up to the well to draw water. Jesus asked her, “Will you give me a drink? I have nothing to draw with.” 36 But she took offense, saying, “How dare you, who are a Jew, ask me for a drink?” 37 And Jesus replied, “My sister, I did not ask your tribe or parentage. I asked only for a drink. 38 If only you knew the blessing the Son of Man offers you! For I have a blessing to impart, the Living Water that springs up unto eternal life. 39 And moreover I have come to change the fruit of the vine into the holy wine of God. And thus shall man and woman be made truly one. 40 Tell me, where is your husband?” But she made no answer. And Jesus said, “The truth is that you have had many husbands, but few of them for more than a single night.” 41 And she said, “O man of God, you have come to bring my sin to remembrance.”

42 She returned to the village and brought her neighbors to hear him. 43 And they said to him, “We know that the Prophet like Moses is to come, and that he will make known where Jeremiah concealed the Ark of the Covenant.” 44 And Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am he. Truly I say to you, I am the Mercy Seat, and whether men seek God on Mount Zion or Mount Gerizim, let them come to me to find him.” 45 Thereafter, word passed among the crowds, “He eats and drinks with Samaritans.” And because of it many turned back and no longer followed him.

46 Jesus spoke again to the crowds, saying, “Anyone who has wealth stored up in this world, let him give it to the poor. 47 Anyone who is poor and who thinks wealth will solve his problems, let him refuse to take it. And, come, follow me.” 48 Some were perplexed at this, and others were offended, so that a number left him.

49 A man came up to him and asked, “Teacher, make me your disciple.” And Jesus said to him, “If you call me Lord, will you obey my commandments?” 50 And the man replied, “I will if they seem right to me.” And Jesus answered him, “Then you wish me only for a counselor. 51 Does a man hire a guide to lead him through foreign territory without trusting his direction?”

52 Another approached him and said, “I will follow you, Teacher, so long as you do not pry into my affairs.” 53 But Jesus told him, “Fool! You are like a man who goes to a physician to be healed but will not let him examine him.”

54 Another, named Joseph, who came from Arimathea, said to him, “I will catch up with you, Rabbi, for I must first see to my father’s burial.” 55 But Jesus told him, “Leave it to the dead to bury their dead. You go and spread the message of life!”

56 As the numbers of his followers dwindled, the twelve became alarmed, and Simon Peter took him aside. 57 And he said to him, “Master, can you not temper your words? For behold how many have left us, dismayed at your sayings.” 58 And Jesus said, “Simon, tell me: why does the farmer wield his winnowing fan?” 59 And Simon said, “To separate the wheat from the chaff.” And Jesus said, “And why does he do that?” 60 Simon answered, “Because he cannot make bread with the chaff, but only with the wheat.” 61 And Jesus said, “I am a baker, and I labor over a loaf to present to my Father as an offering. Would that it were of great size to feed many. But it must be pure both of the leaven of evil and of the chaff of the useless. 62 Take care that you be not one of those winnowed out in the judgment.” 63 By this time, only the twelve remained with him.

 

17:1 And they journeyed from there for seven days. 2 He left the nine encamped at the base of Mount Tabor and took with him Peter and the sons of Zebedee. 3 When they reached the peak of the mountain, they saw Jesus transfigured before them. 4 His face and his garments shone like the sun. 5 And beside him stood Moses and Elijah, who in their day had been taken up bodily, while yet living, into the presence of God. 6 And they spoke with Jesus, bearing him a message that he must now abandon hope that the kingdom of God should come at once, and that instead he must give his life to redeem the spirits of many. 7 But Peter’s eyes grew heavy from the road, and he heard nothing of what was said, having fallen sound asleep. 8 And Jesus struck him on the side and said, “Simon, Simon, could you not watch with me one hour?” And he saw no one but Jesus.

9 And, descending the mountain, James asked him, “Is this that which is spoken of by the scribes, who say that Elijah must come first, before the great Day of the Lord?” 10 Jesus answered, “The prophet spoke of another who should come in the spirit and power of Elijah. And if you can accept it, he spoke of John the Baptist. 11 In the same way, I will come back again. But the Son of Man will come in a manner you do not expect, when a man shall come from afar bearing his spirit and his power.” 12 But his meaning was hidden from them, and they understood his words no better than they did the prophets.

13 The disciples went with Jesus to the town of Caesarea Philippi, and while they were lodging there Jesus asked them, “You walk among the people more than I. Tell me, who do the crowds say that I am?” 14 They looked at one another, and they said, “Some say Elijah the Tishbite. Others say you are Beelzebul. John’s disciples say you are their master risen from the dead.” 15 “And who do you say I am?” Jesus asked. “16 At this a dispute arose among them, but Simon Peter said to him, “You are the Lord whose advent was foretold to us.”

17 And Jesus said to him, “Simon, you have answered well. And you know that the Son of Man must soon be handed over to Gentile sinners, who will put him to death. But I will not leave you as orphans. 18 Blessed are you, Simon, for I give you the keys of my kingdom, so that you may bind and loose men’s consciences as seems best to you. Feed my sheep when I am taken away from you.”

19 And Peter, much abashed, rebuked Jesus, saying, “God forbid! Master, this shall never happen to you! If I must die with you, I will prevent it!” 20 And Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, Simon! Satan has your tongue as he once had the forked tongue of the serpent, and you know not what you say!”

21 Then Simon asked him, “Lord, what has happened that you are not going to restore sovereignty to Israel?” 22 And Jesus replied, “Alas! Many prophets and sages yearned to see the thing that transpires among you but did not see it, and when you might have beheld it, you chose to nap instead. 23 Thus you know nothing of the times and seasons which the Father has now decreed. 24 I have chosen you, the twelve, and not one of you understands me.”

25 And he said, “It is that those who were prepared for me were not worthy of me. 26 For John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and men said, ‘He is a demoniac;’ but the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and John said, ‘Behold a bastard and a libertine.’ 27 So now I must bear the sins of the world, and whoever would follow me must bear them also.”

28 Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Lord, will God’s judgment soon fall upon the wicked?” 29 And Jesus answered them, “No one knows the heart of God except for his Son. 30 And I tell you truly, the sins of men call forth not the wrath of their Father in heaven, but rather his tears, just as it was in the days of Noah, when God saw that the wickedness of the human race was great upon the earth and his tears fell from heaven to flood the world.”

 

31 “O that the madness of sinful men might cease!

But it is a demon even I cannot cast out!

32 For now is the saving plan of God thwarted

by those whom he sought to save!

33 Now have the birds abandoned the nest built for them

by one who loved them.

 

34 O Jerusalem, you were destined for greatness,

to reign as queen over the nations,

your sandaled foot on the necks of Rome and Edom.

35 But now you will be given over to them as slave and concubine,

for you have cast away your glory with your own hand!

36 Where the knowledge of God should have dawned like endless day,

now the night deepens in which all evil things stalk.

 

37 O grieve with me for the tears of God,

for his hope is again deferred.

38 The righteous count the days,

as their deliverance is put off to future ages.

And for God each day is as a thousand years,

each moment a sentence in Sheol.”

39 And Jesus told them a parable in the hearing of the elders of the people. “A landowner once undertook to build a vineyard, complete with arbors and winepress. 40 He arranged with tenant farmers to work the vineyard and to give him his share of the harvest in the proper season. Then he went away to his home country. 41 When harvest time came, word came to him that the bounty was great, and with joy he sent a servant to the vineyard to collect his due. 42 But when they saw him, the tenants said to one another, ‘It is we who have borne the sun and the toil of the day. The landlord is like Pharaoh and allows us but a fraction of what we deserve.’ And they sent the servant back empty-handed. 43 The landlord said, ‘Perhaps they misunderstood him and thought he meant to take all the harvest.’ So he sent another servant. But this one they killed. 44 When word reached the landlord, he grew angry and swore to send armed men against the tenants. 45 But his son said to him, ‘My father, let me go and claim your share. We will reason together and make amends.’ Now what do you think the tenants will do when the son arrives?”

 

18:1 And when they came close to Jerusalem, to Bethpage and Bethany before the Mount of Olives, he assigned two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the village yonder, and as soon as you enter into it, you will discover a colt tethered, one on which no one has ever sat. 2 Untie it and bring it back. And in case anyone says to you, ‘What do you think you are doing?’ you shall reply, ‘The Lord requires it, and he means to send it back here at once.’” 3 And they went and found a colt tethered to a door outside on the open street, and they free it. 4 And some of those standing there said to them, “What do you think you are you doing, freeing that colt?” 5 And they replied as Jesus said, and they let them go.

6 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and they threw their garments on it, and he sat on it. 7 And many carpeted the path with their garments, while others scattered switches cut from the fields. 8 And those going before and following shouted out, “Hosanna! Blessed in the name of Adonai be the Coming One! Blessed be the coming kingdom of our father David! Let hosannas ring in the highest spheres!”

9 But Jesus knew what is in the hearts of men; he cherished no false hopes. 10 And so in that same hour he wept, saying, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You murder the prophets and stone the apostles! How often would I have gathered your children unto me as a hen gathers her brood, but you refused! 11 Would that you knew the elements of peace, but they are hidden from your eyes. For you did not recognize the time of your visitation

12 And he went into Jerusalem, into the temple. And, looking around at everything, he started ejecting the sellers and the buyers stationed in the temple, and he upended the exchange tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And, posting men at the doors, he did not permit anyone to carry a single sacrificial vessel through the temple. 14 And he said, “It is written, “There shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.” 15 And the priests and the scribes heard it, and they looked for a way to eliminate him, for they were afraid of him, because all the crowd of pilgrims was enthused at his teaching.

16 And Jesus cried out to the assembled throng, in the manner of the prophets of old:

 

“Thus says the Lord, God of Israel:

17 My soul is cast down within me,

and my heart labors beneath the burden of my sorrows.

18 As there is no limit to my comprehensive love,

spanning the horizons to embrace every creature I have made,

so does the sorrow of my heart know no bounds.

 

19 A man may harden his heart if his pain is too great.

A woman may forget if she weeps more than she can bear.

But the Father of mankind cannot forget;

the unfaithfulness of his children is ever before him.

 

20 “Have mercy,” you say as you lift your hands to me.

But it is you who have my misery in your hands!

21 Oh that you would repent and turn again to me!

Would that my heart might sing again for joy!

 

22 O you who would love me and ease my sorrow:

be mindful: to share my heart is to share my pain.

Does your heart go out to me?

Be ready, then, to share my sorrow.

 

23 And Jesus said to them, “No one can love another unless he feels that other’s sorrows as his own. My Father has wept for the sins of men from the beginning, and I, too, must weep.”

24 His disciples asked him, “Lord, since we have come into the city you have performed no signs. 25 But if you should throw yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple, surely even the scribes and priests must believe in you.” 26 But Jesus answered them, saying, “When the Galileans listened to me but to pass a summer day, I thought to catch their hearts by miracles. 27 But then they cared only for their flesh and paid no heed to my words. 28 Now am I finished with mighty deeds, so that they may believe in my words for their own sake, else reject me outright.” 29 And Peter said, “We have believed in you.” And Jesus answered him, “Have you, Simon? Believe me, the hour is coming when you will not recall having met me.” And he did not know what to say.

30 And he took them with him into the very place of purification and walked about the temple court. 31 And a chief priest named Levi, a Pharisee, joined them and said to him, “Who gave you permission to march into this place of purification and to view these sacred utensils without ritually bathing, or even having your disciples so much as wash their feet? 32 As it is, you have entered the temple court, this place of purity, in a state of defilement, although the rule is that no one may enter and view the sacred utensils without first bathing and changing his garments.” 33 At once, Jesus stood still with his disciples and answered: “How is it then with you? I see you, too, are present in the temple court. Does that mean you are clean?” 34 He answered him, “Indeed I am, for I have bathed myself in the Pool of David, having descended by one stair and ascended by the other, 35 and I have donned white and clean clothes, and only then did I presume to come here and view these sacred utensils.” 36 Then Jesus said to him, “Woe to you, blind man without sight! You have bathed yourself in waste water in which dogs and pigs lie all night and day. 37 You have scrubbed your skin raw, just as prostitutes and dancing girls perfume, bathe, chafe, and rouge their flesh in order to arouse the lust of men. 38 Within, they are full of scorpions and every variety of wickedness. 39 But, as to my disciples and I, whom you charge with failing to immerse ourselves, we have in fact been baptized in the living water that comes down from heaven.”

40 And a party of scribes and elders were passing by, leading a women disheveled and bound. They saw Jesus teaching and came to the front of the crowd. 41 “Rabbi,” they said, “we sought the procurator’s leave to stone this woman, for she was apprehended in the very act of adultery, but he would not. What do you say ought to be done with her?” 42 But he only looked down and began to write in the dust with a stick. When they pressed the question, he looked up and said to them, “Very well. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” 43 And with that he returned to his writing. And, noticing that he was writing the names of the woman’s accusers next to those of divers women and boys, the men hastened to depart. 44 When Jesus looked up again, only the woman was left. And he said to her, “Who is left to bring the charge against you, woman?” 45 And she whispered, “No one, sir.” He said her, “Then I can hardly condemn you, either. Go, then, and remember to keep the marriage bed undefiled.”

46 As Jesus taught in the temple, some Pharisees, together with the Herodians, came to test him, saying, “Master, all know you for a fearless man, who does not mince the truth. Tell us, if you will: is it lawful for us to pay tribute to Caesar, or not?” 47 And Jesus replied, “Am I a bird that you lay a trap for me? Bring me a denarius. Whose image does it bear, and whose name?” 48 “Those of Tiberius,” they said. “Tell me, then, can a man give a denarius at the temple, to buy a sheep to offer?” Jesus asked. 49 “No,” they said, “for it is idolatrous.” And he said, “And that is why they change money in the temple, is it not? 50 What one cannot give to God one may yet give to Caesar, whose name it bears.” And they were astonished.

 

19:1 And as he made his way out of the temple, one of the scribes said to him, “Teacher, have you seen such great stones and buildings?” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Look at these great buildings while you can, for I will destroy this temple made with hands and in three days raise up another, not made with hands.” 3 And once he had taken a seat on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew came to him, saying, “Do you know the scribe was offended by your saying? 4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what is the sign that your kingdom is about to come?”

5 And Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs one may observe. 6 Watch out that no one deceives you in this matter. Many will appear trading on my name, saying, ‘It is I!’ And in this way they will mislead many. 7 But when you hear of wars and ever more terrible wars, such have not plagued the earth heretofore, lift up your heads and gird your loins. 8 For you will see nation pitted against nation and kingdom against kingdom. 9 And the Roman eagle will descend upon Jerusalem and snatch up her people like a hawk seizes the field mouse. 10 Great will be the suffering of Zion in that day. Women will devour their infants out of starvation. 11 Like ill humors raging within a body, the city’s defenders will battle one another till none shall stand. 12 And Jerusalem shall become as Gehenna where the unclean dead are cast. 13 Where once men built the temple of the Lord, heathen altars will rise, as in the days of Antiochus.

14 “You will be taken before governors and kings, in order to testify before them. And when they lead you before the authorities, do not consider beforehand what you will say, but speak from your heart, for whatever fills the heart, the mouth will speak. 16 Brother will betray brother, and father shall seize son to force him to blaspheme. And you will be hated by all on account of my name. 17 But the one enduring to the end without hating his persecutors, only such a one will be saved. 18 I tell you, bear every cross. Strive to be the first to be struck by the stones of the people of the villages. 19 Let their curses and accusations fall upon you rather than another. Do not flee from their fists. For in this way you will compete for the heavenly prize. 20 Blessed are those who have suffered in their hearts from persecution; it is these who have truly known the Father.

21 “I have many things I would say to you now, but, as it is, you have not the ears to hear them. So I will send you another who will guide you into all truth. 22 He will speak, not in his own name, but in the spirit and the power of the one who sent him, even as Elisha bore the mantel and the spirit of Elijah. 23 The Son of Man will come in a manner they will not expect. 24 A woman shall bear a son, who shall rule the nations with a rod of iron, which is the word of God. But first he must be rejected by his generation. 25 Look to yourselves! When he comes, will he find faith on the earth?

26 “The knowledge of his coming will flash from one end of the earth to the other, but not everyone will believe. 27 I tell you: watch, lest he whom you expect shall come to you and you do not recognize him.”

 

20:1 Now the Passover of the Jews was fast approaching. So he sent two of his disciples into the city, to a certain man, and told them to ask, “Where is the room where our Master shall eat the Passover?” 2 And he took them there, to an upper room. And they and the women made ready the feast. 3 And after supper, Jesus took the cup and said, “I swear to you, I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall dawn.” 4 And as they were eating, taking a loaf and blessing it, he broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 5 And taking a cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant being shed for the souls of many. 6 See that you do this till the Son of Man comes in his kingdom, for unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you are bereft of life. 7 But he who makes my flesh his own, and bleeds my blood, he it is who abides in me, and I abide in him, in his very marrow. 8 I tell you, I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 9 I give you bread that one may eat and never die. For the bread of heaven is whatever comes down from heaven to impart life unto the world. 10 And this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

11 “Now is my soul grieved unto the death; for the will of my Father has been set at naught, my labors wasted. 12 For I sought to usher in the kingdom of heaven and to restore the children of men to oneness with their Creator, but you would not. 13 John the Baptizer abandoned me. Judas even now betrays me to the elders, and Simon will shortly deny ever knowing me. 14 Furthermore, all of you will scatter in panic at the trial that is before us. Lo, I have told you, and yet you will be taken aback when the time comes. At least I have not much longer to endure you!” 15 He spoke clearly, but their wits were befuddled, and they imagined he told them a parable beyond their understanding.

16 And they left the place and arrived at a plot of ground called Gethsemane, which means “the olive press.” 17 And he said to his disciples, “We shall keep vigil here tonight.” And he took Peter and James and John with him, going still farther. 18 And he said to them, “My soul is cast down within me. You stay here and keep watch.” 19 And going on a bit further, he dropped to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour of doom might pass from him, and he said, 20 “Father, how I would join you in your glory, and yet how much of your will remains to be accomplished! 21 Those whom you gave me have failed me, and the kingdom of your will shall not now appear. 22 I have sowed the seed of your word, but the greater part has perished. Bring now to fruition what remains, that the salvation of men’s spirits may be gained. 23 Father, all is possible to you: let this cup pass me by for another. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.” 24 And he wept great tears like drops of blood out of pity for his longsuffering Father.

25 Rising, he returned to the place he had left his disciples, and he found them fast asleep. 26 Shaking them, he said, “Simon! John! James! Could none of you watch with me so much as an hour?” 27 And he went back to where he had prayed and called again upon his Father. In the second watch of the night he rejoined the three, only to discover them sound asleep once more. 28 He urged them, “Watch and pray, lest we enter the hour of trial!” They had nothing to say for themselves, but each knelt to pray as he left them a third time. 29 Again he petitioned his Father, and again he returned in the third watch to find that sleep had utterly overcome them. 30 He was angry and said to them, “Have you taken your fill of rest, then? Arise; let us welcome my betrayer.”

31 And at once Judas came near, for he knew the place well, as Jesus often met with his disciples there. With him was a mob with swords and clubs sent from the priests and the scribes and the elders. 32 Now the Iscariot had given them a signal, saying, “He whom I shall kiss on the cheek is the one you want. Seize him and lead him away securely.” 33 And coming at once to the fore, he approached Jesus and said, “Rabbi!” and embraced him. 34 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” And they laid hands on him and seized him. 35 Peter, standing by, drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, missing his mark and only cutting off an ear. 36 Jesus said to him, “Simon, Simon, you mind the things of men but you are blind to the plan of God. 37 Would you deliver the Son of Man? Then drink my cup. That way lies merit for you.” 38 But at these words Simon fled away. And when the rest saw it, they abandoned him and fled.

39 And they marched Jesus away to the high priest, where the whole Sanhedrin was assembling. 40 And Jesus was heard to say, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” 41 And Peter followed him at a safe distance until he entered into the courtyard of the high priest, and he was sitting among the attendants and warming himself by the fire. 42 Now the priests and the whole Sanhedrin tried to marshal testimony against Jesus to execute him. Many indeed lied under oath against him, but their testimonies were not consistent. 43 And some, standing up against him, said, “We heard him saying, ‘I myself will throw down this handmade holy place, and for three days, I will build another, not handmade!’” And even at that, the details of their testimonies did not match up.

44 Finally, standing up in the middle of the council, the high priest put him to the test, saying, “Have you no rejoinder to what these men allege against you?” But he was silent and said nothing in answer. 45 Again the high priest questioned him: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One.”

46 And Jesus said, “So you say. Behold, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide yourself. As for me, I am now in oneness. So do your worst.” 47 But the high priest, ripping his tunic, cried out, “Who needs witnesses? You heard the blasphemy with your own ears! How does the case appear to you?” 48 And they all judged him worthy of death. At this, some started spitting at him and veiling his face and abusing him and saying to him, “Prophesy!”

49 And with Peter below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s serving maids came down from the council chamber and, noticing Peter warming himself, she looked him over and said, “You, too, were with the Nazarene Jesus.” 50 But he denied it, saying, “I have no idea what you mean!” 51 And he left to go back outside, into the forecourt. And the serving maid, noticing him go, started to tell the bystanders again, “This man is one of their ring-leaders.” 52 But again he denied it. And again, a little later, the bystanders said to Peter, “In fact you are one of them! For you, too, are a Galilean!” 53 And he started to damn and to swear: “As the Lord lives, I do not know this fellow you speak about.” 54 And at once the sun came up. And just then the elders came out from the high priest’s house, Jesus coming up behind him, bound and in the midst of the guards. 55 As Peter finished speaking, Jesus, having heard him, turned to look at him. And Peter saw him and turned away weeping.

 

21:1 And at once, early in the morning, they led him away and delivered him to Pilate, who was then Roman governor. 2 And he questioned him: “So you are the king of the Jews.” And, answering, he said, “You say so.” 3 And the priests accused him of many things: “He forbids the people to pay tribute, and he leads our women and children astray.” 4 But Pilate spoke to him, saying, “You offer no rejoinder? See how many things they accuse you of!” 5 But Jesus said only, “Even though Rome opposes me now, it shall receive my mercy. Even though the Israelites oppose me, they shall receive my mercy.” And Pilate was astonished at him.

6 Now at festival time he used to release to them any single prisoner they petitioned for. 7 Just now there was one called Barabbas, chained with the rebels who had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 And the crowd approached and began to ask him to do for them as he usually did. 9 But Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he was well aware the priests had delivered him up out of mere envy. 10 But the priests had bribed the crowd to clamor for the release of Barabbas instead. So Pilate said to them, “What then am I to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?” 11 Again they shouted, “Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “But in fact, what evil did he do?” So they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 12 But Pilate, growing weary of the whole business, released Barabbas to them and delivered Jesus up, having him whipped to be crucified.

13 The soldiers marched him off inside the courtyard which is called the Praetorium, and they called together the entire cohort. 14 And they put the royal purple on him and put a diadem of tree thorns on his head. And they began to salute him, “Hail King of the Jews!” 15 And they hit him over the head with a reed scepter and spat at him, and, bending the knee, they bowed before him. 16 And when they were done tormenting him, they removed the royal purple from him and put his own garments on him again. 17 And they marched him off to crucify him. 18 And, seizing a certain passer-by, Simon, an Ethiopian of Cyrene, coming in from the fields, they laid Jesus’ cross on his shoulders, since Jesus could no more bear the weight. 19 There were also women looking on, among them both Mary Magdalene and Miriam, the mother of James and John. 20 And Jesus spoke to the women weeping for him, saying “Do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children, for in their day, they shall die like me.”

21 And they arrived at the place Golgotha, which is translated “Place of a Skull” because all believed the skull of Adam was buried there. 22 And they offered him wine spiced with myrrh, but he did not accept it.

23 And they crucified him and spread out his garments, casting lots for them to see what each one might take. 24 Now it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the title of his accusation was written above: “The King of the Jews.” 25 And with him they crucified two thieves, confederates of Barabbas, one to his right and one to his left. 26 And the passers-by blasphemed him, wagging their heads and saying, “The one who throws down the holy place to build it in three days! Save yourself!” 27 Similarly, the priests, trading jests with the scribes, said, “Let the Christ, King of Israel, come down from the cross alive, that we may ‘see and believe’!” 28 And of those crucified with him, he on the left insulted him with the rest. 29 But he on the right rebuked his fellow, saying, “Hold your tongue! We knew it should come to this, but this poor wretch only taught the way of God.” 30 Turning to Jesus, he said, “Jesus, remember me, a well-wisher, when you sit upon your throne.” 31 And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him and said to him, “Man, I tell you this day, for this saying you shall join me in Paradise, where none has yet entered in.”

32 And when the sixth hour struck, darkness appeared over the whole earth until the ninth hour. 33 And at the ninth hour, Jesus shouted, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why did you forsake me?” 34 Later his disciples understood that he thus endured the abandonment that God did suffer when Adam abandoned God in the Garden, and that Satan had demanded that Jesus atone for it.

35 But some of the bystanders heard it and said, “Listen! He summons Elijah the prophet!” 36 And one of them ran and filled a sponge with vinegar and, putting it on a lance head, gave it to him to drink, 38 but others objected, saying, “Leave him be! Let us see if Elijah will come to answer him!” 39 But Jesus loved his tormentors to the last, and he said, “Father, stay your hand and judge not mankind as you did in the days of Sodom! 40 Rather, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

41 Thinking sundown had already come, the soldiers, knowing the Jewish custom that those crucified must not hang upon the cross on the Sabbath, drew their swords and struck at the legs of the two men. 42 But the centurion took his javelin and pierced Jesus in his heart. 43 With his last breath, he uttered, “It is finished.” And thus he expired.

44 And at once the earth lurched as a drunken man, and great breaches appeared in the ground. Buildings slid from their foundations, others crumbling outright. In the tumult, even the hanging veil of the holy place was split in two from top to bottom. 45 And Mary Magdalene said to Salome, “Behold the awful grief of his heavenly Father, to lose such a beloved Son, and his kingdom, too! 46 His heart is darkened even as the sky above us! And my own soul is run through with the sword, for the loss of my only beloved!” 47 And the centurion standing by across from him, seeing all that followed in the wake if his expiring, said, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”

48 Evening was coming, and it was Preparation, which is the day before Sabbath. 49 Now Joseph, the one from Arimathea, was a prestigious councilor, who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God. 50 He mustered his courage to appear before Pilate and requested custody of the body of Jesus. 51 And Pilate granted the corpse to Joseph. 52 And having bought a linen sheet, and taking him down, he wrapped him in the linen and laid him out in a tomb cut from living rock, and he rolled a stone up to the door of the tomb.

53 Judas sought out Mary Magdalene and said to her, “Behold how much silver the priests have given me! 54 It is enough for us to leave this place and start anew in another land. Let us hasten to prepare.” 55 But Mary was overcome with grief for Jesus and said to Judas, “Go away from me, for I do not know you.” 56 And Judas was exceedingly dismayed at these words and went off and hanged himself.

 

22:1 And Jesus lifted up his eyes in Hades and cried out, “I am tormented in this flame!” And the smoke of his torment went up before the archangel day and night, for three days. 2 And, whether in the body or in the spirit, he knew not, he was stretched out as on an earthly cross, crucified in Hell. 3 And Satan danced before him and leaped for joy, and he laughed loudly and derided him: “How you are fallen, O Dayspring, Son of the Most High! 4 You said to yourself, ‘I will become like the Most High! I will make my throne at his right hand!’ But you are brought down to the pit! 5 Know this, fool: your death has but secured my own kingdom among men! In truth, I am well pleased with you, my son! 6 Even now you weep for what you have lost, the glory you hoped to gain from the fools who kissed your hair and wiped your feet!”

7 But Jesus answered, “No, O Luciel, I am no common weakling, but I weep for my Father’s grief. 8 In this night of deep darkness, it is he who suffers more than I, though I be in Hell and he in Heaven.”

9 And the angels of God were gathered about the throne where that One sits from whom the worlds flee away. 10 And for the three days they interceded with him on Jesus’ behalf, saying, “Worthy are you, Lord God, for though it was not your will to bruise him, you have put him to grief, so that he should make himself an offering for sin. 11 He was despised and cast out by men: a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief. 12 Like one on whom one cannot bear to look, he was shunned, and all deemed him worthless. 13 Yet for love of others he bore their sins unto death. Let him now see the fruit of the labors of his soul and be satisfied!” 14 And he answered them, “I will allot him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death.15 He was counted as a transgressor, while bearing the sins of the many, and interceding for their transgressions.” 16 And with that, the cross that stood planted in Hell’s nether tar pits was made empty, and Satan made a great cry. 17 And Satan departed, and he betook himself to the heavenly council. And Satan’s wrath was great, 18 and he said, “He who is mine by right has escaped the fowler’s net. Give him to me now.” 19 But Michael drew his sword to half its measure and said to him, “You have already exceeded the leave that was given you. The Lord rebuke you, Satan!” And he departed.

20 But Jesus went in spirit to make proclamation to the spirits who were in prison, all those who had languished there until the day when Paradise should be opened unto them. 21 And he said, “It is written of me ‘Lift up your heads, O gates, that the King of Glory may come in!’” 22 And at this, the bars fell away and the gates opened by themselves. 23 And, the cells being opened, many souls came out, as if newly woken from sleep. 24 And Jesus cried out, “Welcome, O Adam, my father, and David the King, and faithful Abraham, and keen-eyed Isaiah who saw my day and rejoiced. 25 And mother Eve, and Sarah, and Rachel, Tamar, Rahab, Deborah, and all the rest. Comfort! Comfort, I say, for the time of your exile is ended.”

26 And Sheol, which is translated “the tomb,” was opened, and the spiritual bodies of the saints were raised, and they entered into the holy city and appeared to many before they rose heavenward.

 

23:1 At dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came with flowers to place at the door of the tomb where Jesus had been laid. 2 As she wept, a man came up to her, and he said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?” 3 And, supposing him to be the caretaker of the place, she said to him, “My beloved lies within, and I shall see him no more till the resurrection at the last day.” 4 And Jesus, for it was he, said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. 5 And whoever believes upon me while yet living shall never die. Do you believe this?” 6 And her eyes were opened, and she answered him, “Lord, if it is you, give me leave to embrace you.” 7 And Mary sought to touch him, but he said to her, “Seek not to touch me, my sister, my beloved, for flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven. I must ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. 8 Henceforth I am betrothed to the Spirit of God. But know this, my dove: my heart I leave on earth in your keeping, for I would not take it with me if I could.” 9 And Mary wept. Jesus bade her farewell, saying, “Now my flock is scattered, and I must go in search of them.” 10 And he vanished from out of her sight. But she braced herself and went to seek out the disciples, to tell them what had transpired.

11 Now it was the first day of the week, and of the disciples there were gathered Thaddaeus, Bar-Ptolemy, James of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealous, as well as Salome, Miriam, Joanna and some more of the women. 12 Mary Magdalene knew where they were meeting, and she came and told them how Jesus had appeared to her. But the men dismissed it: “She is mad with grief!” And she departed.

13 Now they were met behind locked doors for fear of the rulers, for it was being noised abroad that the disciples of the Nazarene Jesus would set the temple afire. 14 As they mourned and wept, he appeared in their midst. But they were frightened and terror-stricken, for they knew they beheld a spirit. 15 And he said to them, “Peace be with you, brethren. Satan demanded to thresh you like wheat, but I have overcome him because I loved my enemies unto the death. 16 Remember my words which I spoke to you when I was still with you in the flesh? That all the predictions of me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled?” 17 Then he opened up their minds to understand the hidden meaning of the scriptures. “I will strike down the shepherd, and the flock will be scattered” and “On the third day he will raise us up.” 18 And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 19 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins must be proclaimed in his name among the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 20 You are witnesses of these things coming true.”

21 On the same day two more of them were fleeing Jerusalem, journeying to a village some sixty stadia hence, called Emmaus, and they discussed with each other what had happened. 22 And it happened that, as they were walking and discussing, Jesus himself approached and journeyed with them, but he had taken on a form unknown to them, and they did not recognize him. 23 And he said to them, “What troubles you men so?” And they halted, downcast. 24 And one, Cleopas by name, answered him, “You must be the only pilgrim in Jerusalem unaware of what happened there these past days!” 25 And he said to them, “What happened?” And they said, “The tumult surrounding Jesus the Nazarene, who was deemed a prophet powerful in deed and word by God and all the people. 26 Both our priests and our rulers handed him over to the death sentence and crucified him. And we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel from oppression.” 27 And he said to them, “Take courage. God knows that men are wont to fail, and he prepares aforetime another path forward. And only when it becomes needful for men to journey upon it can the signposts in scripture be seen for what they are.” 28 And beginning from Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted all the references to himself. 29 “Isaiah spoke well when he said, 30 ‘Indeed it was our griefs he shouldered, our sorrows he endured, while we considered him the object of God’s wrath. 30 But he was wounded for our trespasses, punished for our iniquities; he received the punishment that restored us to wholeness, and his flogging meant restoration for us. 31 All of us have gone astray like sheep, each one wandering off by himself; but it was he on whom God piled the punishment we all deserved.’ 32 And ‘I gave my back to the smiters, my cheeks to those who yank the beard.’”

33 And they drew near the village where they were headed, and he said he must go on to Galilee. 34 And they urged him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening, and the day has now declined.” And he went in to stay with them. 35 And it came about as he reclined at table with them, taking the loaf, he blessed it and, having broken it, he handed it to them. 36 And their eyes were opened up, and they recognized him—and at once he vanished. 37 And they said to each other, “Did not hope begin to rekindle inside us as he spoke to us on the road, as he disclosed the hidden meaning of the scriptures to us?”

38 After these things Jesus manifested himself again by the Sea of Tiberias. And this is how he manifested himself. 39 There were together Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, Thomas called the Twin and Nathaniel the tree-dresser and Matthew, and the brothers James and John. 40 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going back to fishing.” They said to him, “We will come with you.” 41 They went out and embarked in the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 42 It was now becoming early morning, and Jesus himself stood in the surf. The disciples, however, did not know it was Jesus. 43 Therefore Jesus said to them, “Lads, do you have any fish at all? They answered him, “No.” 44 He said to them, “Throw the net over the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they threw it, and they were no longer able to drag it on account of the sheer number of fish. 45 So John whispered to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Simon Peter, hearing it, tied his coat around himself, for he had stripped, and launched himself into the sea. 46 But Thomas said, “I shall not believe it till I see his wounds for myself.” So they came in the boat, for they were not far from land, only about two hundred cubits, dragging the net full of fish. 47 When they stepped out on land, they saw a coal fire spread there and a fish lying on it as well as bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have now caught.” 48 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, over a hundred, and even so, the net was not torn. 49 Jesus said to them, “Come, break your fast.” But he himself ate nothing. 50 None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” knowing it was the Lord. 51 And Jesus stretched forth his hands and said to Thomas, “Behold! It is I myself. See where they wounded me.” And Thomas dared not touch him but only bowed before him, saying, “My Lord and Master.” 52 Then Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and the fish likewise.

53 So when they had broken their fast, Jesus said to them, “Many sorrows beset the Son of Man in the days of his flesh, 54 but of them all none struck so deep as this, that his friends should desert him in his hour of trial.”

55 And he said to Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 56 Again, he said to him, “Simon, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you must know that I love you.” He said to him, “Shepherd my lambs.” 57 He said to him the third time, “Simon Peter, do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know all things: surely you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

58 And for forty days Jesus appeared to them to instruct them. And as the word spread that “God has raised him from the dead,” more and more joined their number, until one day he appeared to more than five hundred at one time. 59 And at the end of the forty days, he told them. “Take the words I have spoken to you and carry them forth among the nations. 60 And I tell you, you will not have finished going through the nations until the Son of Man comes to bring his Father’s kingdom. 61 But return now to the Holy City and tarry there till the Feast of Weeks, when you will be clothed with power from the heights of heaven. Farewell.” 62 And with that, he disappeared from their sight. They lifted their eyes to the heavens, but at once a pair of men robed in white appeared at their side, saying, “O Galileans! Why do you look among the birds of the air for a man like yourselves? 63 For the Son of Man will come again in the same way he left you, a man born of a woman, born in the likeness of men, in the form of a servant.”

64 The disciples returned to Jerusalem full of joy and glorifying God. And for another ten days they met together to study the scriptures and to pray. And saints from Paradise appeared to many as they fasted. 65 At last, when the Day of Pentecost had arrived, and the city was again full of pilgrims, the disciples gathered again in the upper chamber where they had observed the Passover with Jesus. 66 And suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the room. 67 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting upon each one of them. 68 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, praising God as the Spirit gave them utterance.

69 And Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said, “Now you see and bear witness that the Spirit is poured out on us. 70 This is to confirm that God has indeed exalted Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Christ, as was spoken by the prophets. 71 What was prophesied by our Lord Jesus has come to pass. 72 He is risen, and he has joined with the Spirit of the Lord as the True Parents.” (For the Jews hold the Holy Spirit to be female.) 73 “And every one that is begotten of Christ and born of the Spirit shall be called the children of God. This promise is for you and your children, and all who are afar off. May the Heart of God rejoice!”

74 Now the words and deeds of Jesus Christ would fill a multitude of books should anyone seek to write them all. But these should suffice to cause you to believe that he is the Son of God, 75 so that when he comes, he may find faith on the earth.

 

Notes

1:9 Reverend Moon in Korean gives the archangel the name Luciel, not Lucifer. The former means “Light of God,” whereas the latter means “Light-bearer.”

2:3 Reverend Moon so designates him in his Christmas message for 1977, “The Participants in Celebrating Christmas.”

2:13-16 If, as in Luke 1:17, John’s father heard the angel say this, how could John later have been ignorant of his role as Elijah? All such hymns, which no one would have remembered in such detail, are narrative embellishments interpreting the significance of the events for the benefit of the reader. Typically they go right over the heads of the characters in the story, who are not their intended audience anyway

3:9 Reverend Moon teaches that Christ comes to redeem humanity from Satan who had stolen them away from God, and to lead Israel to establish God’s Kingdom even overcoming Rome. Edom, an hereditary enemy of Israel, joined both Babylon (Psalm 137:7-8) and Rome in conquering Israel.

3:12 Replacing Luke 1:34, “How can this be, since I know not a man?” which is likely enough an interpolation anyway, reading in an anticipation of the virginal conception doctrine, otherwise not suggested in the Lukan nativity. It can have been no surprise to Mary that she should soon bear a son if she was engaged to be married!

3:13 Neither unprecedented nor immoral. The Alexander Romance replaces Plutarch’s literalistic account of Alexander’s miraculous begetting by Zeus in the form of a serpent with a nocturnal visit by the old Egyptian priest Nectanebus, and the result was the belief that Alexander was the son of Zeus-Amun. The priests of ancient Egypt used to impregnate the Queens (who were actually the sisters of their royal husbands), the result being the divine parentage of the Pharaohs, denoted by their names: “Thutmose” = “Thoth has begotten him.” “Ramses” means “Ra has begotten him,” etc. The priest could pass on the seed of the god, however literally that was understood. It no more involved adultery than a visit to a fertility clinic would today.

3:21 Our gospel attributes the Magnificat not to Mary but to Elizabeth, in accordance with some old Syriac manuscripts. After all, the hymn, based on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, deals with deliverance from barrenness, which is Elizabeth’s affliction, not Mary’s.

3:25-27 These prophetic words foreshadow God’s hope for John and Jesus to work together as brothers, which would require them to overcome a situation of enmity like Jacob and Esau. Alas, it was not to be.

3:30 For this understanding of Jesus’ parentage, see Sun Myung Moon, True Parents and True Family: The Inauguration of the Family Federation for World Peace in 185 Nations (np., nd.), p. 19.

4:1 See note at 4:19.

4:12 The Arabic Infancy Gospel explicitly says the Magi from the east were acting on specific prophecies made by Zoroaster about the birth of the Jewish messiah. Jews identified Zoroaster with Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch, also a great seer.

4:19 The present gospel seeks to obviate the difficulties introduced by Luke and Matthew in their nativity stories. Both evangelists presupposed that Jesus must have called Nazareth in Galilee his home town, since he was known as Jesus the Nazarene,but that he must have been born in Judean Bethlehem on account of Micah 5:2. Luke and Matthew each tried to harmonize the conflict, but in very different ways. In Matthew, Mary and Joseph live in Bethlehem (where Jesus is born, at home) from the start until, to escape Herod’s pogrom, they flee to Egypt, and finally to Nazareth up north. In Luke, Mary and Joseph live in Nazareth but have to go to register for a taxation census in Bethlehem because Joseph’s ancestors lived there a thousand years before. Jesus is born while they are there; then they return home, and Jesus grows up in Nazareth. Luke’s version is impossible: Romans did not tax Jews during the reign of Herod the Great, a client king, but not a subject from whom taxes were collected. Quirinius, named by Luke (2:2), was indeed Roman governor of Syria Province, but only ten years later as Luke knows very well (Acts 5:37). Luke pictures Palestine united as under Herod but subject to Roman tribute as in Quirinius’ day. And no census in history has ever required people to register where their remote ancestors lived! What would be the point? The IRS wants to know where you live, not your forbears, so they can come and collect the money from you.

Reverend Moon’s revelations and haggadah oblige us to accept both the Bethlehem birth in a manger/cave and Luke’s location of Mary and her relatives in Galilee. But we have available a better harmonization that the ancients used. As it happens, there was another Bethlehem up north in Galilee, actually called “Bethlehem of Nazareth.” If Jesus were born there, all difficulties vanish.

4:20 But does not the Micah 5:2 prophecy demand that the Scion of David be born in Judean Bethlehem? Perhaps, perhaps not. Keep in mind the New Testament’s penchant for subverting, reinterpreting, and deliteralizing prophecy. Our version of the Micah 5:2 passage rewords it slightly, just as Matthew reworded it in a different way. The original says, “you, O Bethlehem Ephratha, who are little to be among the clans of Judah,” which Matthew changes to “you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah” (Matt. 2:6), quite a change! Our version reads: “You, O Bethlehem Ephratha, too little to find a place among the clans of Judah,” implying that the Bethlehem in which the heir of David will be born is not the Judean Bethlehem, but a much smaller hamlet altogether, the town-size equivalent of a manger. This sort of recasting of prophecy to make it fit the event was common in early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is all a matter of literary allusion anyway, not clairvoyant predictions.

4:23 Eliminating the moving of the star in the sky so low that it could come to rest over a single house. Clearly, Matthew has garbled an earlier version of the story in which the wise men interpreted the appearance of a new star (or stellar alignment or nova or whatever) as heralding the royal birth among the Jews, to whom the astrologers assigned Pisces, then went to the logical place to find a newborn king: Jerusalem, the Jewish capitol. When they found he had been born elsewhere, it was not the star that guided them thereto like a modern laser pointer, but rather simply information learned from the scribes. We have restored that version, removing an embarrassment to the narrative.

4:30 Matthew (2:16-18) unwittingly created a scandal of theodicy by having God alert only Joseph, and not the other Bethlehemite parents, to the imminent danger of Herod’s massacre. Why did the other infants have to die? Our version eliminates that problem.

5:4 See Reverend Moon’s “The Participants in the Celebration of Christmas” (1977).

5:5 Reverend Moon so characterizes Joseph’s bitter suspicions in “The Participants in the Celebration of Christmas” (1977).

5:12 The strife between Mary and Joseph on this occasion reflects Reverend Moon’s “The Participants in the Celebration of Christmas” (1977).

5:18 Isaiah 42:2; Matthew 12:19.

5:22 Judges 6:14. This scene is based on Reverend Moon’s “The Participants in the Celebration of Christmas” (1977).

5:24ff. Story based on a fanciful childhood miracle in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

5:30-31 See Genesis 37:5-11. Also, Reverend Moon’s “The Participants in the Celebration of Christmas” (1977).

6:2 Adapted from the Gospel According to the Hebrews, where it reads: “Behold, the mother of the Lord and his brothers said to him, ‘John the Baptist baptizes for the remission of sins. Let us go and be baptized by him!’ But he said to them, ‘Wherein did I sin that I should go and be baptized by him? Unless perhaps this very saying be judged a sin of ignorance!’"

6:12 We presume that Jesus served John for a time and sought to teach him of his mission, by analogy with Reverend Moon’s experience at the Israel Monastery, and by inference from the comment in Exposition of the Divine Principle (p. 127) that Jesus testified to John about his mission as the return or Elijah.

6:14ff. Cf. John 2:1-11 This passage (6:15-19) combines John 2:1-4; 7:5, and Mark 2:18-20. Raymond E. Brown correctly saw that the Cana wedding story (John 2:1-11) must have originally formed part of the childhood of Jesus tradition, in which his parents know he is a miracle-worker and in which he rescues doltish adults from the results of their poor planning. John has placed the story in the public ministry of Jesus, albeit at the very beginning. In our version, Jesus is an adult, but he has not yet called the disciples. And it supposes that portions of both the Johannine and Markan traditions might have had an independent prior existence with very different implications. Such recombination of gospel passages and elements of passages is common in gospel composition within the canon and beyond it.

6:17 Reverend Moon tells us that Jesus had by this time asked his mother three times to arrange for his betrothal to the sister of John the Baptist. He explains that Jesus had a providential reason for requesting the hand of his half-sister. But Mary remembered her struggle and shame while with Zechariah’s family, and this was presumably why she never honored Jesus’ request that she arrange the marriage.

6:18 The Lukan version of the story leaves no room for Elizabeth, far beyond child-bearing age, to have had another child after John. One cannot suppose there was a second miraculous birth. But the problem would disappear if we speculate that Elizabeth died shortly after John’s birth. Zechariah, at a loss without wifely companionship, would remarry, this time a much younger woman. And it would have entailed nothing out of the ordinary for even an elderly Zechariah to father a daughter.

6:22-26 This passage combines John 1:19-27 and Luke 22:67; John 10:24.

6:27 Matthew 11:14.

6:29 No doubt this was the expectation of most Jews, though events contradicted it. And of course the same expectation for the Second Advent of Christ prevails among Christians, and Unificationists believe that Christ returns, as Elijah did, as a man born among men and women.

6:33 Cf Numbers 13:26-14:4. The point of the wilderness temptation, as all recognize, is to have Jesus successfully undergo a symbolic version of the forty-year wandering of Israel in the Sinai desert. Everything he says to ward off the Tempter is a quotation from Deuteronomy, showing that Jesus already knew each lesson old Israel failed to learn.

6:37 Deuteronomy 8:3

6:38 John 4:34.

6:39 Numbers 20:2-13

6:41 Psalm 91:11-12.

6:42 Deuteronomy 6:16

6:45 Deuteronomy 6:13.

7:5 1 Kings 19:20.7:8 This charge occurred in Marcion’s text of Luke at Luke 23:2.

7:11 Luke 14:26, 33.

7:13 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.

7:18 Luke 8:3.

7:20 “Therefore, Jesus sacrificed and served to raise up disciples to take their place. Through the three years of his ministry he searched for them, forgetting food and drink. If he acquired new clothes, he gave them to his disciples and was content with his rags. If he found a comfortable place to sleep, he let his disciples sleep there and sat in an uncomfortable place.” (Reverend Moon, in a speech from February 1, 1959)

7:21-23 A Sufi saying ascribed to Jesus in Abu Nu’yam al-Isbahani, The Adornment of the Saints 6:314. See Tarif Khalidi, ed. and trans., The Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), p. 159.

7:32 This scene is loosely based on the Nag Hammadi text, The Acts of Peter. It conveys well Reverend Moon’s distinctly unsentimental view of Jesus’ mission: he did not walk a path of roses, nor should his disciples expect to do so.

7:33 Mark 14:3 sets the anointing of Jesus at “the house of Simon the leper.” They cannot have been dining with someone thus afflicted, implying Jesus had previously healed the man. Our gospel supplies that earlier incident.

7:42 Cf Mark 8:22-26. How did a blind man know what walking trees should look like? Hence our gloss.

7:45 Based on a remark by Reverend Moon in a speech dated February 21, 1959: “Jesus did not delight in performing miracles. If you think he performed miracles in comfort and joy, you are greatly mistaken. When he felt compelled by a painful situation to show mercy upon the people, he raised his hands and cried out, ‘Father!’ This is when the miracles took place. They took place when Jesus cried out in excruciating sadness, as if his bones and flesh were melting.”

7:47 Cf. 1 Samuel 18:7. Just as similar words to Saul began to eat away at him, replacing his affection for David with envy, so we may imagine these words to have planted a seed of resentment in John, one of the factors that led to his erroneous disillusionment with Jesus.

7:50 See John 3:25-30.

8:2-5 Reverend Moon lays great store by the providential role of the four women named or implied in Matthew’s genealogy in preparing for Jesus’ sinless birth.

8:6 Correcting Matthew’s “Asaph” (1:7).

8:8 Restoring Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah, omitted, probably by accident, either by Matthew or an early copyist of Matthew.

8:12 Correcting Matthew’s “Amos” (1:10).

8:17 Correcting the error of Matthew or his source which misread “Rhesa” (Hebrew for “prince,” “head,” or “chief”) as a proper name.

8:23 Some Unificationists note the difficulty that the Matthean genealogy ends, not with Mary, but with Joseph, and so they adopt the speculation of Annius of Viterbo (ca. 1500), adopted by a few modern commentators (e.g., J.M. Heer, Die Stammbäumme Jesu nach Mattäus und Lukas, 1910, and P. Vogt, Der Stammbaum bei den heiligen Evangelisten Matthäus, 1907) that the Lukan genealogy is somehow that of Mary (though it, too, culminates in Joseph!). Therefore it seems best to harmonize the two gospel genealogies (themselves pieces of theology more than history). We assume the identity of Luke’s Eliakim (Luke 3:30) with King Josiah’s son Eliakim, renamed Jehoiakim, in 2 Kings. Matthew traces the Messianic line down through Jehoiakim’s son Jehoichin (Coniah), apparently having forgotten Jeremiah’s oracle that no descendent of this king should ever rule (22:28-30). To obviate this difficulty, we have traced the line through Jonam, a son of the Eliakim mentioned in Luke 3:30 and, on our reading, another son of King Jehoiakim, all the way to the generation before Mary. We have supplied the name of her father, Joachim, from early Christian books like the Gospel of the Nativity of Mary and the Infancy Gospel (“Protevangelium”) of James.

8:24 Luke 4:16-30.

8:29 Reverend Moon attributes this self-revelation to Jesus in two speeches, dated February 21 and 28, 1972. This seems like an appropriate context for it.

8:32 Cf John 8:29; 10:17.

8:33 John 9:34.

8:34 John 8:44; 10:26-27.

8:35 John 8:33

8:43 John 10:32-33.

8:47 This saying comes in a different context in al-Ghazali, Revival of the Religious Sciences 3:116. See Muslim Jesus, p. 123.

8:48-53 This new gospel anecdote reflects the vital Unificationist emphasis upon intellectually autonomous education, so surprising to some outsiders, as well as the boldness of Reverend Moon in reexamining age-old readings of the Bible in a new light. “I met Jesus. Jesus himself showed me these truths… After these extraordinary spiritual experiences, when I returned to the reality of this world, the same Bible I had been reading took on a whole new meaning.” Moon, The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ, p. 37.

9:1 What follows is based on Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount.

9:8 “Being sons of God means being loved by God,” Moon, The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ, p. 45.

9:15 Matthew 12:42.

9:16 In 1974 in Chicago, while attending a Divine Principle workshop, I heard the instructor say, “Jesus said, ‘You must become a temple of God.’” At the time I thought he must be misattributing 1 Corinthians 6:19. But I now believe that he was quoting Reverend Moon, who takes it as a teaching of Jesus.

9:21 Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17.

9:26 Genesis 4:8.

9:27 Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18.

9:29 Genesis 4:7.

9:31 Omitting the infamous amputations of Matthew 5:29-30 in favor of what actions the traditional metaphors seem to signify. See George M. Lamsa, Gospel Light: Comments from the Aramaic and Unchanged Eastern Customs on the Teachings of Jesus (Philadelphia: A.J. Holman, 1936), pp. 36-37.

9:32 Deuteronomy 4:1-4.

9:33 Genesis 1:27

9:34 Genesis 2:24

9:36 Matthew 19:8.

9:38 Leviticus 19:12.

9:42 Exodus 21:23-24.

9:47 Leviticus 2:18.

10:17 Genesis 18:25.

10:18-20 The mission of Jesus (and of his followers) may be viewed as an epic attempt to undo the damage done to the providential plan of God for the human race. Since humanity got off on the wrong foot, grafting itself into Satan’s lineage instead of God, the principle objective is to undo the cascading damage following from the Fall. This means, somewhat as Saint Anselm suggested, paying a massive debt owed to God. God , being just, cannot simply sweep the debt of sin under the rug and let bygones be bygones. But, being compassionate, he has required that humans pay but a token amount of the debt. He sets us conditions, challenges to be overcome, and the completion of these tasks erases more of the debt. Unfortunately, people, even one-time heroes of faith, have erred and sinned, disobeying God and setting back the process they should have been advancing. Their retrogression amounts to new debt that their successors must strive to repay as well. The result is a frustrating process of one step forward, two steps backward. Finally, since humanity leagued itself with Satan, any attempts to forsake him in favor of God amount to sins against Satan, and he, too, requires payment. But, lacking God’s compassion, Satan demands payment in full. He exacts his due in the form of persecutions, adversities, illnesses, etc. Thus the struggles of the righteous and the difficulty of the path to restore oneself, and humanity as a whole, to divine favor. The Unification doctrine resonates well with the Rabbinical teaching of the Zakkuth of the Fathers, whereby the merits (or demerits) of one generation sets the terms for the blessing or judgment of subsequent generations, as well as the Karma doctrine of all Asian faiths: every deed sets in motions repercussions that must be managed, without setting off still more, before final redemption may be accomplished. C.f. Acts 3:19.

10:22 Acts 14:22.

10:33 Matthew 10:29-30

10:39-40 Mark 4:26-29.

10:45 Matthew 22:12

10:47 This verse combines imagery from both Matthew 7:23 and Koran 44:43 and 88:6, thus representing a teaching universal among religions: there is a limit to God’s patience or at least to the human opportunity to take advantage of it.

11:1-6 This new passage reflects Reverend Moon’s urgency to unify science and religion, or, better, to clarify their unity. Science does not have to be couched in religious terms to reveal God’s truth, and when it is not, religious people ought not refuse to learn its lessons just because of that.

11:7-9 A Sufi story of Jesus quoted in al-Ghazali’s Revival of the Religious Sciences 2:175. See Muslim Jesus, Ibid.

11:10-13 Based on Reverend Moon’s remarks: “Human history has been a history of struggle—a fight between God and Satan, or good and evil, over humanity standing in the middle. Because human history started with the Fall, evil got a head start. Therefore, throughout history the evil side has always taken the offensive and been the aggressor. Good has been passive and defensive; yet, God is on the side of good. In the end, the good side always wins the victory. The good side always begins as the underdog; yet, it comes out victorious and expands.” (September 18, 1976)

“God’s strategy is to be struck and then be compensated, including an additional amount for damages, while Satan’s strategy is to strike first, for which he must pay compensation in the end. That is why Satan falls after striking, while God is struck and yet prospers. By following that strategy and taking up the course of persecution, I could continue to prosper and build an ever-stronger foundation of victories. Isn’t it mysterious? You cannot fathom this mystery without going the way of persecution yourself.” (October 8, 1993)

11:14-24 Cf. Matthew 25:1-13, though with a wholly different application. The traditional New Testament books have virtually nothing to say about chastity, no doubt taking for granted traditional Jewish scruples on the matter.

11:25-28 The point of this parable is similar to 10:31: we must realize life has a greater purpose than mere survival. During a bit of free time at a Unification conference at Washington I happened to be reading Bernard Brandon Scott’s Hear Then the Parable, and I felt moved to open my mind and ask what other parables might Jesus have given? A list of titles came to mind, and the parable of the Stone Mason was one of them.

11:29-32 The parable of the Greedy Priest is warning against “religious profession¬alism” as a money-making gimmick. This one had the same origin as the parable of the Stone Mason.

11:38 Loosely suggested by a couple of exorcism stories in Philostratus’ Life of Apollonius of Tyana (3:38; 4:20) with a dose of Sufi otherworldliness, this story assumes one of the gospel-era theories of the origin of demons: they were ghosts (perhaps also underlying the story of the Gadarene demoniac of Mark chapter 5: did the unclean spirits not want to leave the district because their bodies were buried in the cemetery where the demoniac holed up?).

11:42 Mark 12:34

11:43 Matthew 13:44.

11:44 Mark 10:17-22. Though it is seldom noticed, Mark does not say the rich young ruler declined Jesus’ advice. After all, Jesus did tell him to go away and put his affairs in order. His crestfallenness by no means proves he had decided not to go through with it. Jesus points to him as an example of how hard it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom, implying he is doing it, and that it hurts. Surely the reason we are not told explicitly what decision the man had reached (as in the story of John the Baptist’s emissaries to Jesus) is that the evangelist means to pose the same challenge to the reader.

12:1-7 See Matthew 11:2-6//Luke 7:18-35. Reverend Moon teaches that John, although he initially endorsed Jesus, quickly lost faith and parted ways. Instead of supporting the Jesus movement, he busied himself in the affairs of the Herods. Here as he languished in his cell, like Bonheoffer in the Nazi prison, he began to have second thoughts. Was Jesus the Coming One after all? His message to Jesus would be a last-ditch plea for some encouragement.

12:25: Reverend Moon teaches that John’s pride and status as a respected spiritual leader blocked him from following Jesus.

12:34 Here the parable of the Great Supper (Matthew 22:2-10//Luke 14:16-24) is used to explain why Jesus’ mission failed: John, understood as the son of the high priest, had great clout and could have rallied the mighty to Jesus’ cause, but he did not, leaving Jesus to make what he could of the powerless poor.

13:3 Combining Matthew 11:25-26//Luke 10:21-22) with 1 Corinthians 1:26-27.

13:13 Luke 9:55.

13:15 John 16:24; Matthew 6:33.

13:18 From a speech of Reverend Moon, dated November 9, 1958.

13:25 Luke 10:17.

13:26 Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6.

13:27: Luke 10:20; Revelation 19:9.

13:29 See Mark 3:20-21. Jesus himself thus would have been the first target of “deprogramming” by his obtuse relatives.

13:33 Mark 3:31-35.

13:36 Matthew 8:20.

13:42-52 A retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32.

13:51 Luke 7:42-43.

13:52 Genesis 33:4; 4:8.

14:1-14 A retelling of John 11’s story of the raising of Lazarus. D.F. Strauss suggested that the Lukan parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man was somewhere along the line taken literally and transformed into John’s story where Jesus actually raises a man named Lazarus from the dead. And, just as Father Abraham warned, the miracle convinced nobody to repent.

14:4 Luke 20:38.

14:6 Matthew 16:18.

14:12 1 Samuel 28:15; Luke 16:23.

14:13 Luke 16:28.

14:17 Reverend Moon envisions Jesus bearing the sorrow of the Heart of God, a depth of anguish blithely unsuspected even by the most ostensibly religious. See The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ, pp. 17-19, 106-108, 116-168.

14:18-36 See the Johannine original at John 3:1-15 ff.

14:21 The Nicodemus story would seem to be another version of the episode of the Rich Young Ruler. In fact, if we plug in the aspirant’s question from Mark 10:17 just before Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus in John 3:3, it makes more sense of John’s version, as if he (or some early copyist) left out the question by accident. It is restored here.

14:35 John 5:39.

14:37-39 This pronouncement story is another new coinage, teaching that we must share and seek to alleviate the sorrow of God for the world.

15:1 Our interpretation of the Bethany anointing (see Mark 14:3-9) follows that of those scholars who see in it a quasi-official, albeit informal anointing of Jesus as messianic king, only the present version elaborates on the significance of the messianic mission as that of the True Parents of humankind.

15:3. Reverend Moon quotes Jesus as saying to his disciples, “I am the bridegroom, and you are the brides” in a speech dated January 9, 1971. On Mary’s relation to Judas and Jesus, see Michael L. Mickler, “The Da Vinci Code and the Divine Principle,” Journal of Unification Studies 6 (2004-05):p. 10: “A manuscript of Wolli Wonbon, written in Rev. Moon’s own hand, states that Mary Magdalene was Judas Iscariot’s wife or lover and that Jesus ‘planned to accomplish the Principle will by taking Judas’ wife,’ choosing her as ‘Eve.’ This subsequently was the underlying motivation for Judas Iscariot’s action in selling his teacher for thirty pieces of silver.”

15:12-15 2 Samuel 11. Reverend Moon explains the plan of God on this point in speeches given October 13, 1970 and January 24, 1971.

15:18 Psalm 45:2, 6-7.

15:19-22 Song of Solomon 2:1, 3a, 4, 6.

15:23-26 Psalm 45:10-11, 13b-14a, 17.

15:28-30 John 3:27, 29-30.

15:31 Genesis chapter 24.

15:33 Song of Solomon 1:3.

15:36 Psalm 118:24.

15:43 Mark 6:30-44.

15:46 2 Kings 6:17.

15:48 Revelation 19:9.

15:50 Reverend Moon ascribes these acclamations to the crowd on this occasion, in a speech dated February 1, 1959.

15:64 2 Corinthians 4:18.

16:5 Mark 7:5.

16:6-10 The rabbinical tradition lampooned here is an excellent specimen of the casuistry whereby the Pharisees sought to “build a hedge around the Torah” in order to shield it from violation. If people could be persuaded not even to dump dishwater out the window for fear of “farming on the Sabbath,” what are the chances they would ever be tempted to go into the fields and plough? And yet we must ask, with Jesus: is such legalism for the sake of security the mark of genuine faith?

16:17-21 This new story follows the pattern of old rabbinic tales in which skeptical Gentiles approach Hillel, Shammai, or Yochanan ben Zakkai with a trick question. The point of our version is to illustrate the Unification concept of God’s omnipotence. God is theoretically “all-powerful.” There is nothing he cannot do—but what’s the point? What God really wants from his creation is love, and therefore he has condescended to make the power of his divine principle subordinate to the power of love. If he were instead to preempt human freedom with irresistible decrees, he would deprive humanity of the opportunity to mature and to prepare themselves for his love. Where it really counts, then, God’s power lies in persuasion, not in compulsion. And in persuasion there are no guarantees.

16:20 Hebrews 6:4-8; 12:16-17.

16:21 Matthew 12:31-32

16:22-26 Several of the controversy stories that focus on Jesus healing on the Sabbath tend to oversimplify and to distort the views of the Pharisees, making it appear they valued strict legal observance over life and limb. The opposite was true. They practiced casuistry in order to ease the burden of the law in such cases. But Jesus is shown defending the setting aside of Sabbath laws as if it were “now or never.” To be fair and historically accurate, at least the issue deserves to be brought up explicitly and addressed, as our gospel does here.

16:27-30 That Jesus aimed to topple Roman dominion and to sit enthroned in Caesar’s place is clear from Reverend Moon’s 1979 Christmas message, “The True Meaning of Christmas.”

16:31-33 Pascal reminded Christian theologians how wide a chasm separates “the God of the philosophers” from “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The former is a static concept, rather like an abstract law of nature, while the former is the living God, a divine person with a will and emotions. The more we consider God in abstract, philosophical terms, the less room there will be for prayer and miracle, for God’s love to humanity, for acts of God in history. The more we veer toward personalism, the greater the risk we take of making God into an idol in our image.” But Unification theology sides squarely with the God-picture of the Bible, its prophets and its patriarchs: God is a mighty King and a loving Father. The Mishna characterizes the defunct Sadducee faction as “Epicureans,” implying they were known to embrace a more arid, speculative view of a deity indifferent to human affairs.

16:37 The Buddhist original of the Samaritan Woman episode (John 4:1-42) extends this far, making this point. For the original, see Jack Kornfield, ed., Teachings of the Buddha, Revised and Expanded Edition (NY: Barnes & Noble Books, 1999), pp. 105-106.

16:41 1 Kings 17:18.

16:42 Our version corrects the confusion in John 4:25, where Samaritans are erroneously said to await the (Davidic, Judean) Messiah. Actually they expected the Prophet like Moses, a different sort of eschatological figure.

16:47 Here, much in the spirit of the Sufi sayings of Jesus, we ascribe to him the belief that wealth is equally idolatrous whether one hoards it when others are starving, or one places all one’s hopes on money as a longed-for savior. Both rich and poor must seek God as their chief asset.

16:49 Luke 6:46.

16:51 Suggested by a passage from a fictive source called The Book of the Sayings of Tsiang Samdup in Talbot Mundy, Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley (NY: Bobbs-Merrill, 1924, rpt. Avon Books, 1967), p. 41.

16:52 This anecdote, like the one before it, is based on the discipleship paradigms of Matthew 8:19-22//Luke 9:57-62. Actually, the third exchange in Luke’s set seems to be his own addition, as it is not found in Matthew and was thus probably not present in their common Q source. In modeling a new saying on the older ones, Luke provides us with an instance of “homologous formations,” one of the means by which the gospel tradition grew. I have followed that precedent here.

16:56-63 Jesus has no use for popular support that is a mile wide and an inch deep. The kingdom of the Father is not coming by majority vote. Neither, to Jesus’ bitter disappointment, can it come if too few enlist, but to do that they must sincerely repent and believe. Jesus never discourages sincere recruits, but, like Gideon, he must slough off the dead wood, too.

17:6 Reverend Moon’s understanding of Jesus’ mission changing mid-course (as he learned at the Transfiguration, as Reverend Moon explains in a speech dated September 18, 1974) is much like that of Albert Schweitzer in his The Mystery of the Kingdom of God and The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Schweitzer thought Jesus fully expected to usher in the eschatological victory, the kingdom of God, and the final judgment within a year’s time, before his disciples returned from their preaching tour. But two things persuaded him otherwise. First, the mission of the twelve did not catalyze national repentance as he had expected. Second, the fact that John the Baptist died in a mundane fashion, and not in some apocalyptic tribulation, signaled to Jesus that the same fate might await him. However, such a death would be salvific and redemptive, for he would in effect be taking the horrors of the end-time tribulation on his own shoulders in behalf of everyone else.

17:11 Reverend Moon quotes Jesus as saying, "I will come back again" in his “The Participants in Celebrating Christmas” (1977).

17:17 Matthew 16:21; John 14:18.

17:18 Matthew 16:19; John 21:17.

17:19 Matthew 16:22; Mark 14:31.

17:21 John 14:22

17:22 Matthew 13:16-17.

17:23 Acts 1:7.

17:24 John 6:70, plus: “On this earth, who knew the heart of Jesus?
Not a single person recognized Jesus, filled with apprehension,
who experienced and felt keenly Heaven’s sorrow,
who felt Heaven’s lament over humanity.
Jesus did not have even one disciple who exclaimed, ‘My Lord!’
intimately feeling God’s heart…” (Reverend Moon, January 11, 1959)

17:26 Matthew 11:18-19//Luke 7:33-34.

17:27 Jesus says this to Barabbas in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1977 TV miniseries Jesus of Nazareth.

17:30 This new pronouncement story includes elements of Luke 17:26 and 10:22.

17:31-38 This lament of Jesus reflects the sentiments of Isaiah chapter 1, though more in sorrow than in righteous indignation.

17:39-45 Parable of the Vineyard based on Mark 12:1-9. But, since the Markan version already presupposes the crucifixion of Jesus, it reflects a post-Easter setting. As Andrew Wilson suggests, we offer a version consistently reflecting the situation Jesus would have faced, in which he defines is enemies’ situation for them and challenges them to meet it rightly.

18:14 Zechariah 14:21b.

18:17-22 Inspired by Reverend Moon’s teaching of the anguish of God over his estranged creation, this lament draws upon Isaiah 1:12-18; 44:21-22; 49:15-16; 65:1-2; Hosea 11:8.

18:23 This new passage depicting how Jesus shared the sorrow of God draws upon John 5:17.

18:40-45 This passage is based on that now appearing as John 7:53-8:11 (plus a bit of Hebrews 13:4). The story was added to copies of John there and at the end of chapter 21 as an appendix, as well as at Luke 21:38. Something very much like it, featuring “a woman accused of many sins,” appeared in the Gospel according to the Hebrews as well.

18:46-50 See Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 840.

19:2 Though it is introduced in a context of false testimony in Mark 14:58 and Matthew 26:61, many scholars take it as a genuine saying of Jesus. Note the theological language of an earthly versus a heavenly temple, which does not seem likely if the saying arose as a mere slander making Jesus into some kind of terrorist. By Mark’s time, the saying had become dangerous and controversial in Roman eyes, so Christians denied Jesus could have said it. John admits he did (John 2:19-21) but reinterprets it.

19:3 Matthew 15:12.

19:18-19 Based on the words of Reverend Moon: “Bear every cross. Willingly be the first one to be hit by the stones thrown by people in the villages. Be the foremost target of all their curses and accusations, and the first to receive their beatings.” (January 2, 1978)

19:20 Gospel according to Thomas 69a. Notice the close parallel to this prayer of Reverend Moon: “Persecution is not persecution, but rather acts to connect thy heart with ours.”

19:21 John 16:12-13.

19:24 Revelation 12:5; Luke 17:25.

19:25 Luke 18:8.

19:27 Cf Gospel according to Thomas 51: “His disciples say to him, ‘When will the repose of the dead begin? And when will the new world come?’He says to them, ‘What you look for has already come, but you fail to recognize it.’"

20:5 Our version specifies “the souls” of those for whom Jesus dies, since, according to Unification theology, the death of Jesus did not accomplish the physical salvation of humanity, since events had prevented his marriage to either the Baptist’s sister or Mary Magdalene—the Bride with whom, as the True Parents, he should have restored the race to kinship with the Creator.

20:14 Mark 9:19.

20:37 In Islamic tradition, Jesus offers great merit to any of the disciples who will take his place. There are various Islamic versions of the crucifixion in which one or another character does take Jesus’ place on the cross. Nominees include Judas, Pilate, Satan, and Sergius (a Sanhedrin spy), but not Peter. Some within the Unification movement have long speculated that Peter should have replaced Jesus on the cross, while others have reasoned that, had Peter joined Jesus on Golgotha, crucified alongside him, the ensuing course of Christian suffering might have been cut short, hastening the Second Advent by many centuries. Our text is amenable to either of these fascinating theories, while requiring neither.

20:14 Mark 9:19.

20:37 In Islamic tradition, Jesus offers great merit to any of the disciples who will take his place. There are various Islamic versions of the crucifixion in which one or another character does take Jesus’ place on the cross. Nominees include Judas, Pilate, Satan, and Sergius (a Sanhedrin spy), but not Peter. Some within the Unification movement have long speculated that Peter should have replaced Jesus on the cross, while others have reasoned that, had Peter joined Jesus on Golgotha, crucified alongside him, the ensuing course of Christian suffering might have been cut short, hastening the Second Advent by many centuries. Our text is amenable to either of these fascinating theories, while requiring neither.

20:46 Our version stays closer to the narrative prototype of the scene in 1 Kings 22:24-25. Jesus’ saying, “I am now in oneness” is attributed to him by Reverend Moon in a speech dated June 5, 1983.

20:51 Acts 24:5.

21:1 We omit the trial before Herod, as it appears to be a Lukan creation on the basis of the Markan trial before Pilate. Luke borrowed details from Mark (the mockery of the guards, the dressing in royal finery, etc.) in order to fill out the tradition he had from one of his sources that said, like the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, that it was Herod who condemned Jesus to death. Luke tried to harmonize Mark’s Pilate version with this other Herod version, creating insurmountable problems: if Pilate handed the decision off to Herod, and Herod acquitted Jesus, why did Pilate not release Jesus? We think it better simply to go with the majority tradition and have Jesus tried only before Pilate.

21:3 The charges against Jesus include these in Marcion’s version of Luke 23:2.

21:5 Reverend Moon so quotes Jesus in his Christmas Day 1976 message, “God’s Will and Christmas.”

21:18 Reverend Moon teaches that Simon of Cyrene was a black man, and that his willingness to carry Christ’s cross foreshadows the leading role black people will play in God’s providence in the future. Thus the Christ-like sufferings of African slaves in America and the vital church life of African Americans today, as well as the enthusiastic conversion of Africans to Christianity.

21:21 A belief attested in the Middle Ages, but perhaps much earlier.

21:31 We render the words of Jesus as Adventist exegetes suggest, placing “this day” with “I tell you,” not with “you shall be with me in Paradise.” The usual reading, in which Jesus is thought to promise the man that he will enter Paradise, along with Jesus, in just a few hours, is inconsistent with Jesus’ descent into Hell before his resurrection on the third day. The repentant thief would be the first to enter Paradise, but Jesus would not arrive till Sunday.

21:34 So says Reverend Moon in a speech delivered March 30, 1958.

21:44 Isaiah 24:20.

22:1 Revelation 14:11; Luke 16:24; 4:3.

22:2 2 Corinthians 12:2-3.22:4 Isaiah 14:12-15.

22:7 Based on an autobiographical musing by Reverend Moon in a speech dated June 12, 1977. During his confinement in the Heungam concentration camp in North Korea, “I lost so much blood that I was more dead than alive. How did I survive? I did not pray to God asking, ‘Father, please let me live.’ I was determined not to show weakness even at the point of death. I am not a common weakling. I prayed, ‘Father, even if I die, I die for thee. Do not worry about me.’ Not even once did I pray asking God to deliver me from suffering. God already knew my suffering.”

22:9 Revelation 20:11.

22:13 Isaiah 53:3, 10-11.

22:15 Isaiah 53:12.

23:17 Revelation 12:12.23:19 Jude 9.

22:20 1 Peter 3:19.

22:21 Psalm 24:7-10.

22:25 Gospel of Nicodemus 5:1-8:2; Isaiah 40:1-2.

22:26 Matthew 27:51-53.

23:4-5 John 11:25-26.

23:7 1 Corinthians 15:50; John 20:17; Song of Solomon 4:9.23:8 “After the resurrection of Jesus, Mary Magdalene was in the position of the bride. Yet when she tried to touch him, Jesus could not help stopping her. This was because she did not have the bridal qualifications through which Jesus could receive her. Satan’s accusations will be dropped only when the bride stands in the position where she indemnifies all the historical grudges” (Sun Myung Moon, “God and Humanity Should Live Together,” Sermons of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, vol. 5. NY: HSA Publications, 1995, p. 106; quoted in Michael L. Mickler, “The Da Vinci Code and the Divine Principle,” Journal of Unification Studies 6 (2004-05), p. 11), namely, “the grief and suffering caused by the cross” (Moon, “Jesus Is Searching for Us in This Way,” Sermons of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, vol. 1. NY: HSA Publications, 1994, p. 40, quoted in Mickler, p. 11.).

23:9 “After his death, Jesus was concerned about his scattered disciples. Even during the three days in the tomb, he was determined to protect them for eternity. Hence, he went to the shores of Galilee after his resurrection and searched for them.” Reverend Moon in a speech delivered on May 15, 1956.

23:13 Gospel of Peter 7:26.23:15 Luke 22:31; Revelation 12:11.

23:17 Zechariah 13:7; Hosea 6:2.

23:31 Isaiah 53:4-6.

23:32 Isaiah 50:6.

23:46-51 Why does the Doubting Thomas episode occur here, folded into the appearance at the Sea of Tiberias? Simply because the latter story was originally supposed to be the first appearance of the Risen Jesus to his disciples. Peter and the others had abandoned discipleship and gone back to their pre-Jesus, secular livelihood. They have no thought of ever seeing Jesus again. Thus these men cannot have been present at the appearance related in John 20:19-23. Our gospel, according¬ly, adopts the expedient of having the disciples variously fleeing and hiding, not all as one group, after the crucifixion. Two (not members of the twelve) are heading home for Emmaus. Seven have gone back to Galilee (only these are mentioned in John 21:2), and five, plus the women, remain in hiding in Jerusalem. Thus the John 20:19-23 appearance is not vouchsafed to all the disciples in a body. Since, in the resultant scenario, Thomas is with the six others in Galilee the first time any of them sees Jesus, his “private audience” with his Lord cannot have occurred in Jerusalem. Hence it occurs here, alongside Peter’s private interview with Jesus. Finally, why does Thomas not touch Jesus’ wounds? Despite his vow in John 20:25 not to believe till he has touched the wounds, when the opportunity comes he does not. Resolving the confusion of the gospels, which seem to want to have it both ways, Reverend Moon affirms a consistent Pauline view of a spiritual resurrection of Jesus. Then why retain any talk about the wounds at all? That actually presents no problem: in classical and Hellenistic stories of spectral visitations, if the visitant died by violence, he may confirm his identity by showing off his wounds, even though he is a ghost, since the spirit body, albeit intangible and weightless, is assumed to look just like the fleshly original, as in the case of Jacob Marley. See Gregory J. Riley, Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995), p. 67.

23:53-54 “His greatest sorrow came when his beloved disciples—some who had followed him for as long as three years—lost faith when he needed them to believe, and ran from death when he needed them to face death.” (speech, October 18, 1957)

23:58 1 Corinthians 15:6.

23:60 Matthew 10:23.

23:61 Luke 24:49.

23:63 Acts 1:10-11; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7.

23:65-69 If it seems odd that a gospel should extend to cover the Day of Pentecost, remember that John, too, includes it, merging it with Easter Day in John 20:22-23. And Reverend Moon says, “There is no Christianity at the place of Jesus’ cross. Christianity began on Whitsunday. You must know that the cross was the victory of Satan, not of God. God’s victory came at the resurrection.” (73:220-21, September 18, 1974) In this passage, what he means by “resurrection” is the spiritual elevation of the saints upon their rebirth through receiving the Holy Spirit.

23:70 Acts 2:32-34

23:74-75 John 20:30-31; 21:25; Luke 18:8.

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