ADVENT CHALLENGE IN THE YEAR OF THE WORD OF GOD; Day Nine
11th December 2019
1 He called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases,
2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
3 He said to them, 'Take nothing for the journey: neither staff, nor haversack, nor bread, nor money; and do not have a spare tunic.
4 Whatever house you enter, stay there; and when you leave let your departure be from there.
5 As for those who do not welcome you, when you leave their town shake the dust from your feet as evidence against them.'
6 So they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere.
7 Meanwhile Herod the tetrarch had heard about all that was going on; and he was puzzled, because some people were saying that John had risen from the dead,
8 others that Elijah had reappeared, still others that one of the ancient prophets had come back to life.
9 But Herod said, 'John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?' And he was anxious to see him.
10 On their return the apostles gave him an account of all they had done. Then he took them with him and withdrew towards a town called Bethsaida where they could be by themselves.
11 But the crowds got to know and they went after him. He made them welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.
12 It was late afternoon when the Twelve came up to him and said, 'Send the people away, and they can go to the villages and farms round about to find lodging and food; for we are in a lonely place here.'
13 He replied, 'Give them something to eat yourselves.' But they said, 'We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we are to go ourselves and buy food for all these people.'
14 For there were about five thousand men. But he said to his disciples, 'Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty.'
15 They did so and made them all sit down.
16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven, and said the blessing over them; then he broke them and handed them to his disciples to distribute among the crowd.
17 They all ate as much as they wanted, and when the scraps left over were collected they filled twelve baskets.
18 Now it happened that he was praying alone, and his disciples came to him and he put this question to them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?'
19 And they answered, 'Some say John the Baptist; others Elijah; others again one of the ancient prophets come back to life.'
20 'But you,' he said to them, 'who do you say I am?' It was Peter who spoke up. 'The Christ of God,' he said.
21 But he gave them strict orders and charged them not to say this to anyone.
22 He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.'
23 Then, speaking to all, he said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me.
24 Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.
25 What benefit is it to anyone to win the whole world and forfeit or lose his very self?
26 For if anyone is ashamed of me and of my words, of him the Son of man will be ashamed when he comes in his own glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
27 'I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.'
28 Now about eight days after this had been said, he took with him Peter, John and James and went up the mountain to pray.
29 And it happened that, as he was praying, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became sparkling white.
30 And suddenly there were two men talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah
31 appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.
32 Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they woke up and saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
33 As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, 'Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' He did not know what he was saying.
34 As he was saying this, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid.
35 And a voice came from the cloud saying, 'This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.'
36 And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.
37 Now it happened that on the following day when they were coming down from the mountain a large crowd came to meet him.
38 And suddenly a man in the crowd cried out. 'Master,' he said, 'I implore you to look at my son: he is my only child.
39 A spirit will suddenly take hold of him, and all at once it gives a sudden cry and throws the boy into convulsions with foaming at the mouth; it is slow to leave him, but when it does, it leaves the boy worn out.
40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, and they could not.'
41 In reply Jesus said, 'Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer must I be among you and put up with you? Bring your son here.'
42 Even while the boy was coming, the devil threw him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and cured the boy and gave him back to his father,
43 and everyone was awestruck by the greatness of God. But while everyone was full of admiration for all he did, he said to his disciples,
44 'For your part, you must have these words constantly in mind: The Son of man is going to be delivered into the power of men.'
45 But they did not understand what he said; it was hidden from them so that they should not see the meaning of it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
46 An argument started between them about which of them was the greatest.
47 Jesus knew what thoughts were going through their minds, and he took a little child whom he set by his side
48 and then he said to them, 'Anyone who welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sent me. The least among you all is the one who is the greatest.'
49 John spoke up. 'Master,' he said, 'we saw someone driving out devils in your name, and because he is not with us we tried to stop him.'
50 But Jesus said to him, 'You must not stop him: anyone who is not against you is for you.'
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him to be taken up, he resolutely turned his face towards Jerusalem
52 and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him,
53 but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem.
54 Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?'
55 But he turned and rebuked them,
56 and they went on to another village.
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'
58 Jesus answered, 'Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'
59 Another to whom he said, 'Follow me,' replied, 'Let me go and bury my father first.'
60 But he answered, 'Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.'
61 Another said, 'I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good -- bye to my people at home.'
62 Jesus said to him, 'Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'