April 12 (Year One)
Jesus called his 12 followers together. He gave them power to drive out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and sickness. These are the names of the 12 apostles: Simon (also called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. Judas is the one who turned against Jesus.
These 12 men he sent out with the following order: “Don’t go to the non-Jewish people. And don’t go into any town where the Samaritans live. But go to the people of Israel. They are like sheep that are lost. When you go, preach this: ‘The kingdom of heaven is coming soon.’ Heal the sick. Give dead people life again. Heal those who have harmful skin diseases. Force demons to leave people. I give you these powers freely. So help other people freely. Don’t carry any money with you—gold or silver or copper. Don’t carry a bag. Take for your trip only the clothes and sandals you are wearing. Don’t take a walking stick. A worker should be given the things he needs.
“When you enter a city or town, find some worthy person there and stay in his home until you leave. When you enter that home, say, ‘Peace be with you.’ If the people there welcome you, let your peace stay there. But if they don’t welcome you, take back the peace you wished for them. And if a home or town refuses to welcome you or listen to you, then leave that place. Shake its dust off your feet. I tell you the truth. On the Judgment Day it will be worse for that town than for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Listen! I am sending you out, and you will be like sheep among wolves. So be as smart as snakes. But also be like doves and do nothing wrong. Be careful of people. They will arrest you and take you to court. They will whip you in their synagogues. Because of me you will be taken to stand before governors and kings. You will tell them and the non-Jewish people about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about what to say or how you should say it. At that time you will be given the things to say. It will not really be you speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.
“Brothers will turn against their own brothers and give them over to be killed. Fathers will turn against their own children and give them to be killed. Children will fight against their own parents and have them killed. All people will hate you because you follow me. But the person who continues strong until the end will be saved. When you are treated badly in one city, go to another city. I tell you the truth. You will not finish going through all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
“A student is not better than his teacher. A servant is not better than his master. A student should be satisfied to become like his teacher. A servant should be satisfied to become like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, then the other members of the family will be called worse names!
“So don’t be afraid of those people. Everything that is hidden will be shown. Everything that is secret will be made known. I tell you these things in the dark, but I want you to tell them in the light. I speak these things only to you, but you should tell them to everyone. Don’t be afraid of people. They can only kill the body. They cannot kill the soul. The only one you should fear is the One who can destroy the body and the soul in hell. When birds are sold, two small birds cost only a penny. But not even one of the little birds can die without your Father’s knowing it. God even knows how many hairs are on your head. So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many birds.
“If anyone stands before other people and says he believes in me, then I will say that he belongs to me. I will say this before my Father in heaven. But if anyone stands before people and says he does not believe in me, then I will say that he does not belong to me. I will say this before my Father in heaven.
“Don’t think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to make this happen:
‘A son will be against his father,
a daughter will be against her mother,
a daughter-in-law will be against her mother-in-law.
A person’s enemies will be members of his own family.’ Micah 7:6
“Whoever loves his father or mother more than he loves me is not worthy to be my follower. Whoever loves his son or daughter more than he loves me is not worthy to be my follower. Whoever is not willing to die on a cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever tries to hold on to his life will give up true life. Whoever gives up his life for me will hold on to true life. Whoever accepts you also accepts me. And whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me. Whoever meets a prophet and accepts him will receive the reward of a prophet. And whoever accepts a good man because that man is good will receive the reward of a good man. Whoever helps one of these little ones because they are my followers will truly get his reward. He will get his reward even if he only gave my follower a cup of cold water.”