Remember the great challenge of the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days; sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to humiliations and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way.
For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you accepted with joy being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting.
Do not lose your fearlessness now, then, since the reward is so great.
You will need perseverance if you are to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
Only a little while now, a very little while, for come he certainly will before too long.
My upright person will live throughfaith but if he draws back, my soul willtake no pleasure in him.
We are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faith until our souls are saved.
Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your home in the land and live secure.
Make Yahweh your joy and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit your destiny to Yahweh, be confident in him, and he will act,
making your uprightness clear as daylight, and the justice of your causeas the noon.
Yahweh guides a strong man’s steps and keeps them firm; and takes pleasure in him.
When he trips he is not thrown sprawling, since Yahweh supports him by the hand.
The upright have Yahweh for their Saviour, their refuge in times of trouble; Yahweh helps them and rescues them, he will rescue them from the wicked, and save them because they take refuge in him.
Gospel: (Mark 4:26-34)
He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the land.
Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know.
Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the crop is ready, at once he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say that the kingdom is like? What parable can we find for it?
It is like a mustard seed which, at thetime of its sowing, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth. Yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it.
He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were by themselves.