The Song Of John


A Verse Rendering




The Gospel According To St. John







Jabez L. Van Cleef


© 1996-2005, Jabez L. Van Cleef






About the Text


The text of this work is adapted from “The Song Of John” first appearing in the book Gospels In Verse, A Text Resource for Musicians and Composers, (0712-VANC, Xlibris Corporation, It has been changed as follows:


1. I have attempted to remove from the story all false and sinful condemnations of Jews which have historically contributed to the practice of eliminationist anti-semitism. The crucifixion of Jesus is shown as the assertion of Roman power, with the collusion of certain religious authorities, within the context of a cosmopolitan and polyglot community.


2. The conventional notion that Jesus was followed by a band of twelve men has been modified to include occasional references to women among his followers. Because Judas is often considered to be a personification of the supposed betrayal of Christ by Jews, some references to Judas have been deleted. The group referred to as “disciples” is construed to include both women and men.


3. Narrative which includes masculine pronouns and other gender-specific terms has often been modified to allow interpretation as descriptive of either sex.


4. References to God or Jesus which would favor one form of human government over another, e.g. ‘king’, have often been deleted.


In all other I have attempted to create a text for singing that is “congruent” with holy scripture, as advised in The Book of Common Prayer (pg. 14). I welcome any suggestions to change the text in accordance with the above guidelines if a reader discovers the need for such alterations. 


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In the beginning was the Word,

The Word, the same as God.

God was heard in the beginning;

All things through God were made.


Without the Word there was nothing,

And nothing was yet made.

In God was life, and life was light,

And light all things displayed.


The living God that was the light

Shines in the darkness yet;

And darkness has not overcome

What was born into it.


There was a man sent forth from God,

And this man was called John.

He bore a witness to the light

That is God’s only Son.


He bore a witness so that all

Might see the light through him:

A true Light, born for ev’ryone,

Would call our world his home.


So the Light from which God was made

Would come, and not be known;

Would call the dust of earth his home,

And yet He would be shunned.


But, if people did receive Him,

Believing He was God,

Then they would have such pow’r, they would

Become Children of God.


Children who were not born of blood,

Nor born of passion’s seed,

Nor will of flesh, nor wish of man,

But children born of God.


From God the Word became the flesh,

And lived among us here,

A Word so full of grace and truth,

We saw his glory clear.


It was John who said of the Light,

“He who comes after me

Still ranks before me, for He comes

Out of eternity.”





From the fullness of God we all

Receive grace upon grace.

Then we saw through a darkling glass,

Now we see face to face. 


No one had seen the face of God,

Yet here God’s only Son

Manifested his Father’s being,

And He became human.


John lived out in the wilderness.

Th’authorities came out

From the temple, and found him there.

“Are you the Christ?” they asked.


“I am not the Christ,” he told them.

They asked, “Who are you, then?

Are you Elijah?” but he said,

“No, I am not,” again.


“Are you a prophet?” they asked him.

And he answered them, “No.”

But they asked of him yet again,

“Tell us then, who are you?


Answer us now so we can tell

The ones who sent us here –

What do you say about yourself?”

Then John gave his answer:

“I am the voice of one who cries

Out in the wilderness:

‘Make straight the way so that our Lord

Among us all should pass!’


So did Isaiah say to us

And so I say to you.”

Still, they wanted to ask again;

They all wanted to know.


“So then, if you are not the Christ,

And don’t make prophecies,

Why are you in this wilderness?

And why do you baptize?”


John answered these authorities,

“I baptize with water,

Somewhere among you there is one

Who comes from the Father.


You do not know who this one is,

But he comes after me;

The strap of this one’s sandal I’m

Not worthy to untie.”


Now this took place in Bethany,

By the river Jordan,

Where John took the men and women

And plunged their bodies in.

Soon after this he saw Jesus

And said of him, “Behold,

The Lamb of God, who takes away

The sin of all the world.


This is the one of whom I said,

‘After me there will be

A man who ranks above me, for

He was here before me.’


Myself I did not know him, but

For him I wash their sin

With water; his name will be known

To all of God’s children.”


And then John testified to them,

“The Spirit descended,

It came down as a dove from heav’n,

And it shone from his head.


Myself I did not know him, but

The One who sent me here

Said, ‘When you see the dove descend,

Look for the Spirit there,


The Spirit will come down on him,

And there it will remain.’

I know this is the Son of God

For all this I have seen.”

The next morning, John the Baptist

Came, followed by a crowd,

And when he looked at Jesus, said

“Behold, the lamb of God!”


Two of John’s disciples heard this,

And left after he spoke.

They followed Jesus, and he turned

And asked, “What do you seek?”


And they said to him, “O Teacher,

Can we stay at your house?”

He said, “Yes, you may come with me,”

And so they joined his cause.


As the shadows lengthened that day

And the red sun went down,

Andrew, John’s disciple, followed

With his brother, Simon.


Simon came over to Jesus,

And Jesus spoke to him:

“So you are Simon, son of John?

You shall take a new name –


Now people will call you Cephas,

Or Peter, in the Greek,”

And thus was Simon, son of John,

Giv’n his new name, the rock.

The next day Jesus decided

To go to Galilee.

He found Philip, and said to him,

“Follow along with me.”


Now Philip came from Bethsaida,

Andrew and Peter’s home.

He found another friend of his,

And said, “Nathaniel, come;


We have all seen the one of whom

They prophesied and wrote:

Jesus of Naz’reth, son of Joseph.

Come with us, leave your boat!”


Nathaniel cried, “From Nazareth?

What good thing could there be?”

Philip smiled at him and he said,

“Nathaniel, come and see.”


When Jesus first saw Nathaniel,

Recalling Philip’s smile,

He said, “Behold, an Israelite

In whom there is no guile.”


Then Nathaniel said to Jesus,

“Do you recognize me?”

Jesus said, “Long ago I saw

You, under a fig tree.”

Nathaniel answered him, “Teacher!

You are the Son of God!

You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus stopped him and said:


“Because I spoke of that fig tree

You render me such praise!

Follow along with us! You shall

See greater things than these.


You will see the heav’ns opened up –

Believe this if you can –

Angels of God will rise and fall

Upon the Son of Man.”






Then on the third day of the week,

As the day was dawning,

They came to a town called Cana

To go to a wedding.


At the wedding, his mother said,

“The host has no more wine.”

But Jesus answered his mother,

“The wedding will go on,


But what has that to do with me?

My hour is not at hand.”

And she said to all the servants,

“Obey Jesus’ command.”


Six big stone jars were standing there,

Each one thirty gallons.

“Fill all these jars up with water,”

Jesus commanded them.


They filled the jars up to the brim.

He said, “Now draw some out,

And take it to the steward there;

That way he can serve it.”


The steward tasted what they brought

And with joy he exclaimed,

“I thought the wine was gone!  Tell me,

Where did this wine come from?”


The servants who drew the water

To fill the six stone jars

Knew what Jesus had done that day,

But did not tell others.


The steward called to the bridegroom,

Saying, “This is a sign:

Through all your days of wedded bliss

You shall not want for wine –

Ev’ryone serves the good wine first,

And all the people drink;

Then they pour the second-rate wine,

Hoping the guests are drunk –


But you have saved the best till last!

The party did not fail!”

And this, the first of many signs,

Was his first miracle.


Then Jesus, Mary and the rest,

Who followed him always

All went down to Capernaum

To stay for a few days.


The Passover Feast was coming,

So then he went with them

Up to the temple on the hill,

Above Jerusalem.


There, in the temple grounds, he saw

Money in ev’ry hand,

Where people brought sheep and pigeons,

Waiting to get and spend;


So Jesus made a whip of cords,

And he drove them all out,

With all their goods and animals

Into the busy street.

The moneychangers’ coins scattered,

Their tables overturned.

“Take these things away now!” he cried,

With righteousness he burned.


“You shall not make my Father’s house

A house of trade,” he said;

Zeal for that house consumed him then;

So the Word was fulfilled.


Th’authorities said, “Why have you

Destroyed this property?”

He said, “Destroy this temple now!

I’ll raise it in three days!”


They answered, “Forty six long years

We laid up stone on stone;

And now you claim that in three days

You’d build it all again?”


But, when Jesus told them these things,

He spoke of his own death:

When he would die and rise again,

Again to live and breathe;


When his disciples would recall

That he had said, ‘Three days;’

And they would finally believe

That he was the Messiah.

When he was in Jerusalem

Observing Passover,

Many people who saw these signs

Thought he was their leader.


But Jesus did not trust himself

To lead them, for he knew

Th’authorities would capture him,

And he had work to do.






There was a righteous citizen,

Nicodemus by name;

This man came to Jesus at night,

When darkness concealed him.


He said, “Jesus, we know you are

Sent here to us from God.

Unless God was working in you,

You could not do these deeds.”


Jesus said to Nicodemus,

“Unless you’re born again,

You will not ever see  God’s face,

Nor enter into heav’n.”


But Nicodemus said to him,

“Now my old age has come.

Shall I then come a second time

Into my mother’s womb?”


Jesus said, “Unless you are born,

Of water and the spir’t,

You will not enter into heav’n,

And see the truth of it;


All of these things born of the flesh

Are flesh; they waste away.

The things that come from the spirit

You have eternally.


So do not marvel that I said,

‘You must be born anew,’

The wind wanders where’er it wills

And comforts me, and  you.


You don’t know where the wind comes from,

Or where the wind will go;

And so it is of ev’ry one

Who has faith as I do.”


Then Nicodemus asked of him,

“How can all these things be?”

Jesus said, “You are a good man,

Don’t you have faith in me?

The truth is, when I speak to you,

I speak of what I know.

I tell you only what I see;

You think it isn’t so.


If I have told you earthly things,

And you do not believe,

What then could ever bring you to

Believe what I call heav’n?


Many of you won’t go to heav’n

Unless you follow me;

The Son of Man is born on earth

But lives eternally.


As Moses lifted high the snake

Out in the wilderness,

So must the Son of Man be raised

High above believers. 


For God so loved the world that He

Offered his only Son,

That all those who believe in him,

When mortal life is gone,


Shall not perish, but they shall have

An everlasting life.

God sent his Son into the world,

Into this world of strife,

Not to condemn, but to save them:

I will redeem the world. 

They who believe the Son of God,

Hear when their names are called,


They shall not ever be condemned;

If their belief does fail,

They are condemned already, and

The slaves of their own will:


They are condemned because they spurn

The only Son of God;

They are also condemned because

They have not repented.


We see their sin because my light

Has come into the world –

They love the dark with all their might,

Where they do evil deeds.


They do not want to see this Light:

Evil in secret feeds,

In the dark it flourishes, and

Enslaves them to its needs.


But those who cleave to what is true

Are brought into the Light,

And in the Light they clearly see

Their way to perfect faith.”

Then Jesus and his followers

Went into Judea;

There they baptized all the sinners

They met along the way.


John was also baptizing them

At Aenon near Salim.

There was abundant water there,

And people came to him.


Although John preached rebellion,

Herod let him go free;

Yet he must have known that one day

They would take him away.


Now there arose an argument

Among John’s followers,

And th’authorities, who asked them

What their intentions were.


And John’s followers said to John,

“Jesus is here with us;

His disciples preach repentance,

Confusing you with Jesus.”


John said, “Not one of us finds truth

Except as it is giv’n

By him, the Son of Man, who comes

Down to us here, from heav’n.

You have understood my witness:

That I am not the Christ,

But I am sent before the Christ,

Into the desert waste.


The one who will marry the bride,

That one is the bridegroom;

The bridegroom’s friend, who rejoices,

Stays in another room.


Therefore with all this joy of mine

I must be satisfied,

For his followers will increase,

And mine will find me dead.


The one who comes from up above

Is still above us all;

But now I belong to the earth,

And there is where I fall.


The one who testifies from heav’n

Of what he’s seen and heard,

Will find few who see what he is:

The flesh which is the Word.


On those who do receive the Word

He sets his holy seal:

He is the one true Son of God;

Now his truth is revealed.

The Father loves his Son, and gives

All things into his hand;

Believers will live forever,

And know life without end;


Many of those who don’t believe,

Won’t know eternal life;

They will continue on in sin,

And they will end in grief.”






Jesus himself did not baptize;

But his disciples did.

Word of his many followers

Went out across the land. 


Th’authorities feared rebellion,

And chased Jesus away;

He left Judea and he went

Down towards Galilee.


Into Samaria he came,

To Sychar, near the place

That Jacob granted to Joseph

As his inheritance. 


Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus

Went into the green glade.

He was weary from his journey,

And he sat in the shade. 


A young Samaritan woman

Came over to the well.

Jesus said, “Please, give me a drink,”

And this is what befell:


She said, “How can it be that you,

A Jew, would ask of me,

A woman of Samaria,

To serve you in this way?”


For Jews thought of Samaritans

As unclean common folk,

They would not eat or drink with them,

Nor engage in such talk.


Jesus said, “If you only knew

The gift of God, and who

Says to you now, ‘Give me a drink,’

Then this is what you’d do:


You would ask for some water, too,

And I would give you some,

But mine would be living water.”

So then she said to him,

“Sir, you have not brought a vessel,

And the well is quite deep.

Where will you get this living water?

May I please have a sip?


Are you more holy than the one

Who gave us all this well?

Who drank this water with his sons,

And then called his cattle?”


Jesus said to her, “Ev’ry one

Who drinks this water here 

Will thirst again; but living water

Will quench thirst forever.


The water that I give to them

Will be in them a font

Welling up to eternal life,

Freeing from any want.”


Then the woman said to Jesus,

“Sir, give me living water,

So I  may never again thirst,

And follow you hereafter.”


Jesus said to her, “Go and call

Your husband, and come here.”

“I have no husband,” she said to him.

Again, he spoke to her:

“It’s true you have no husband now,

You have had five of them;

Your husband now is just the man

With whom you make your home.”


The woman said, “Sir, I perceive

You are a great teacher.

Our Fathers worshiped in this place;

And your people, elsewhere. 


If prophets in Samaria

Are so easy to find,

Why do they go to Judea

To worship their own God?”


Then Jesus answered the woman,

“Soon you will see the day

Neither Jews nor Samaritans

Will worship diff’rently.


If we worship what we don’t know,

Or worship what we do,

Soon the day will come when we both

Will worship what is true. 


We will all worship the Father

In spirit and in truth,

The Father who always loves us,

And will guide us past death.”

“I know the Christ will come,” she said,

“And when He comes, I know

He will show us all of these things,

In heav’n and here below.”


Then Jesus said to the woman

“You seek your Messiah,

And sitting here, beside this well,

Is the one you search for.”


The woman left her water jar

And ran into the town,

Where she said to all the people,

“Come out and see this man:


He told me all I ever did!

Can this man be the Christ?”

And many came out from the town

To see him and be blessed.


Meanwhile, all of his disciples

Had also come from town,

They brought some food, and said to him,

“Let’s eat, and then move on.”


But Jesus said to all of  them,

“Here I have food to eat,

Some food you do not know about,

So we will not leave yet.”

Then they said to one another

“Who has brought him this food?”

He said, “It is my food to do

As God says that I should.


Would you not say, ‘Now in four months

Earth will her harvest yield’?

Lift up your eyes, and see the grain

Gleaming there, in the field!


The ones who reap it will be paid

For all the grain they gather;

And those who sow, and those who reap,

Will all rejoice together.


And never were these words more true:

‘One sows, another reaps.’

You did not labor much to get

This yield of grain and grapes.


Though you did not sow, I sent you

Out to harvest the grain;

And thus you have the advantage

Of all their laboring.”


Many people who came from the town

Listened to what he said,

For they had heard the woman say,

‘He told me all I did.’

The Samaritans wanted him

To stay there in the town,

And so he lingered  there two days,

And many said of him:


“Woman, we believe in him now,

Not just from what you said,

But what we have heard for ourselves;

He will save us indeed.”


And when he came to take his leave,

Jesus said to them all,

“A prophet is not so honored

Among his own people.”


He came at last to Galilee

And they came to hear him.

Many of them had been feasting

Up in Jerusalem,


Where he had shown them miracles

During the Passover.

And many, seeing what he did,

Followed him to know more.


They traveled again past Cana,

Where he had made the wine;

And at Capernaum a man

Was grieving for his son:

The boy was at the point of death.

The man knelt before them,

And begged Jesus to heal his son,

And Jesus said to him:


“Unless you see signs and wonders,

You will never believe.”

The man said, “Come, before he dies!”

Jesus said, “Go, he lives.”


The man believed what Jesus said,

And made his way back home,

And as he went along the road,

He saw his servants come.


“Your son’s alive,” they said. And he

Asked when the fever left.

“Yesterday, at the seventh hour.”

The man knew in his heart


That hour when Jesus said to him,

‘Go, he lives,’ was the hour

He and the rest of his household

All became believers.


This was the second miracle

Jesus showed the people,

When he came down from Judea

And into Galilee.



In those days, in Jerusalem,

Next to the Gate of Sheep,

Were gathered all the invalids,

And there they ate and slept;


And they were such a multitude —

The blind and sick and lame —

They sat by the Pool of Mercy,

Bethesda was its name.


Ever and again from the pool

Water gushed up to them:

And all the beggars clamored then;

They raised a fearsome din.


They fought to find salvation in 

The water gushing up—

They thought healing was in the pool,

There by the Gate of Sheep.


One man lay there at Bethesda

For thirty eight long years—

He strove to reach the water’s edge

But held back in his fear.




Now Jesus saw him lying there

As round the others milled,

And Jesus said to the poor man,

“Do you want to be healed?”


The crippled man answered Jesus,

“I can’t reach the water;

When it boils up they all go first,

And I must go after.”


Then Jesus spoke to the sick man:

“Stand up, and take your bed,”

And as He spoke the man stood up,

His affliction was healed.


As this was on the Sabbath day,

Th’authorities complained:

For him to tote his bed away

Was a violation.


But the man answered them, saying,

“The One who healed me said,

‘Stand up and take your bed’ to me,

So here I have my bed.”


Later Jesus saw the same man,

And said to him again,

“Be well!  May nothing worse happen!

May you stay free from sin!”

Then the man told many people

That he’d broken the law.

Because Jesus had told him to,

He’d carried the bed away. 


And when they came to challenge him,

They heard Jesus reply,

“My Father labors ev’ry day—

He works, and so do I.”


All th’authorities said to this,

“Let us put down this pride,

He breaks the holy Sabbath, and

Now claims that he is God!”


Jesus answered them, “It is true,

The Son will do nothing

But what He sees the Father do,

Then He does the same thing.


We know the Father loves the Son,

And shows him all his deeds,

And you may marvel at the work

That from this love proceeds;


For as the Father raises those

Who die, to give them life,

So also will the Son then raise

All those who may believe.

The Father judges sin, and lets

The Son mete out judgment,

So people will praise the Son’s Word,

And try to do what’s right.


Those who do not honor the Son

Do not honor the Word.

They revel in dishonor, and

They will find their reward.


Truly, all those who hear my Word,

They will find their true worth,

They will not come to judgment, but

Be delivered from death.


And so I say to you truly,

The hour will soon arrive

When all the dead will hear my voice.

Those who believe will live.


Life itself will be the Father,

And life itself the Son;

The Son brings judgment to them all

For He is born of man.


Do not marvel at all these things.

The hour of judgment comes,

When all of them will hear my voice,

Even down in a  tomb. 

Those who believe in me shall come

To enter into heav’n,

And those who have done evil will

Be judged for all their sin.


You will find justice measured out

By God’s authority;

Such justice comes not from my will,

But God’s, and speaks through me.


If I bear witness to myself

Then who would believe me?

But others may bear my witness,

And live this righteously.


You asked John about his witness

And he told you the truth:

The man and the Holy Spirit

Both brought his witness forth.


O people, I say this to you,

To help keep you from sin:

John was a burning, shining lamp,

He gave a glimpse of heav’n—


Then you were willing to rejoice,

To wait within his light,

And then you thrilled to hear his voice,

And feel within, its heat—

Hear this: My own testimony

Is far greater than John’s,

For my Father has giv’n me

Greater works to be done:


These very works to which I now

Bear witness. I am sent,

And my Father, who sent me here,

Witnesses what I want.


If you have never heard his voice,

And never seen his face,

My Father’s word has never been

Your source of saving grace.


For you may not believe in me

Whom the Father has sent;

You search the scriptures, thinking there

To grasp your own intent.


The scriptures bear the witness of

Eternal life in me,

Yet you refuse to see it there,

And you see what you may.


I have received no glory from

The ones who can’t believe;

But I know that down within them

Is an absence of love.

Though I came in my Father’s name,

They would not receive me;

Another one, with an earthly scheme,

They treat honorably.


You think glory comes from others,

Who answer you with praise;

Glory will never come from them,

But only from God’s grace. 


Do not think I will accuse you

To my Father in heav’n.

It’s Moses who indicts you now,

Whose laws you have broken. 


If you believed Moses truly,

You would believe in me;

He saw my coming long ago,

But now you blind your eye.”






After this Jesus crossed over

The Sea of Galilee,

And many people followed him,

To see what he would do.


He climbed up the side of a hill

Along with the others.

Because he meant to speak to them,

And all eat together.


When he saw how many were there,

Such a great multitude,

He said to Philip, standing by,

“Do we have any food?”


“No,” said Philip, “All our money

Would not get enough bread

So that all these people could have

A little bit to eat.”


But Jesus had asked the question

To measure Philip’s faith,

For he himself knew what to do

To get something to eat.


Andrew suggested to Jesus,

“Over there is a lad.

He has five loaves and two fish –

But that won’t feed this crowd.”


Jesus said, “Tell all the people

That they should sit and eat.”

There were five thousand of them there.

They all sat down to wait.

Jesus took the loaves and the fish,

And gave thanks for the food.

He broke it then into pieces

And all of them were fed;


And when the whole crowd had eaten,

Jesus stood up and said,

“Gather up what is left of these

Pieces of fish and bread.”


So they gathered the crusts and bones

And filled twelve baskets full;

And when the people saw this sign,

They called it a marvel.


“This man is indeed a prophet,

Come here to make us free!”

They would have forced him to be king,

But then he went away,


Into the hills, all by himself.

It started to get dark,

And the twelve went down to the shore

So they could all sail back.


Jesus had not returned with them;

The wind blew up a gale,

The sea was rising, and the men

Had to tie down the sail. 

They had rowed three or four miles out,

And were fighting the wind,

They saw Jesus walk on the sea,

And then they were afraid. 


“Don’t be so afraid,” Jesus said,

“I’m here.” And he climbed in.

At that very moment, their boat

Touched solid land again.


In the morning the word had spread

In the town where they’d been,

That the twelve men had sailed away,

But Jesus had not gone.


Some people went to look for him

Up on the grassy place

Where they feasted on fish and bread

After he said the grace.


But they didn’t see him up there,

So they took their own boats,

And sailed them to Capernaum

And found him in the street.


When they saw him they said to him,

“How did you cross the sea?”

He said, “You’re not asking because

You saw a miracle,

But because you filled your stomachs

At the feast yesterday. 

Do not labor for earthly food

Which perishes away,


Labor instead for heav’nly food

Which gives eternal life.

I set my seal on all of you,

And it will keep you safe.”


They asked, “What do we have to do

To do the works of God?”

He said, “This is the work of God:

That you believe my words.”


They said to him, “What sign have you

To show us who you are?

What works can you perform for us,

To make us all believers?


Our mothers and fathers ate bread

That fell down from the skies;

‘Moses gave them the bread of heav’n;’

This is what scripture says.”


“Moses did not give them heav’n’s bread!”

Jesus exclaimed to them,

“My Father gives them the true bread,

That gives life to the world.”

Then they said to him, “Jesus, Lord,

Give us this bread always;

Forgive us all our debts, as we

Release all our debtors.”


Jesus replied to all of them,

“I am the bread of life,

With me you will never hunger,

And all those who believe


In my word will not  thirst either.

What I have said to you,

What you have heard and seen me say,

And all these things I do,


Should lead you to believe in me. 

My Father entreats you –

All of you who repent your sins –

I will not reject you –


I have not come down here from heav’n

To follow my own will,

But the will of God, who sent me.

I’ll walk  among you all,


I won’t lose any of God’s gift

That has been giv’n to me.

And when the day of judgment comes,

We will all be ready.

All of those who listen to me,

All who believe in me,

They shall all live eternally,

And they shall never die.”


Th’authorities said, “Who is this?

Does he know what he says?

How can he say to us, ‘They shall

All live eternally’?”


Jesus answered, “Don’t stop people

If they come to hear me;

Unless my Father draws them here,

They will all stay away.”


‘And they shall all be taught by God’

This is what scripture says:

Ev’ryone who hears and learns this

From God, then comes to me. 


None of them have seen the Father.

I come to you from God.

I will give you eternal life.

I am eternal bread.


Your Fathers ate of mortal bread,

And so your Fathers died –

If you eat my eternal bread,

You will stay by my side.

I am the living bread which comes

Down from God’s heav’n on high;

If you all partake of my flesh,

Then you will never die.”


People argued among themselves,

Raising a great dispute:

“How can this man claim to save us,

And give his flesh to eat?”


Jesus said, “If you do not eat

My flesh and drink my blood,

You shall not be mine forever,

Nor will you be redeemed.”


When they heard this, many of them

Said, “Who can accept this?

This is very hard for us to do,”

Even his disciples.


But Jesus, knowing what they thought,

Said, “Are you offended?

What if you all could see me

Rising up into heav’n?


The Spirit is what gives us life –

Our flesh is no avail.

My words are both life and spirit,

But some reject me still.”

From the very first Jesus knew

Which ones did not believe,

And he knew which ones would be true,

And which be first to leave.


And He said to them, “This is why

Those who believe in me

Believe also in the Father.

Who lives eternally.”


Many disciples left him then

For they did not approve.

He said to the ones remaining,

“Will you not also leave?”


Peter exclaimed to him, “O Lord,

Where would we ever go!

Your words in us are eternal!

You are all that we know!


You are the Holy One of God!”

Jesus answered him, “Yes,

But I chose ev’ry one of you,

Even one who betrays.”


For he knew God had determined

Judas would betray them,

By bringing the Roman soldiers

So they could capture him.





Jesus decided he would stay

Awhile in Galilee –

Because he knew in Judea

Were many enemies.


The Feast of the Tabernacles

Was coming, so his men

Said, “Let’s go back to Judea,

So your works may be seen –


We should not do things in secret.

Don’t you want our works known?

To make some diff’rence in the world,

These great deeds must be shown.”


“My time has not yet come,” he said,

“Your time is always here.

The world cannot quite hate you, but

I rouse their hate and fear,


Because I say th’authorities

Exploit all the people.

You can go to the feast yourselves,

And not meet with trouble.”


Jesus stayed by himself at home,

And when they had all gone,

He followed them, not openly,

But traveling alone.


At the feast, people were asking,

“Where is he? Where is he?”

And there was great disappointment

He was not there that day.


Some said, “He is good, and righteous.”

Others said, “He is evil;

He leads the common folk astray!”

But among these people,


No one would speak out openly

To praise or condemn him,

Because they feared the Romans would

Hear it, and arrest them.


Jesus, paying them little mind,

Appeared in the temple;

While they celebrated the feast,

He spoke to the people.


And the people marveled at him,

“We never heard this teaching!

Since he has never studied here,

Who taught him all these things?”

“My teaching is not mine,” he said,

“But comes from my Father;

If you would try to do his will,

Listen, and He is there:


For the one who teaches from pride

Only glories in pride;

The one who reaches from glory

Gives you glory inside.


Didn’t Moses bring down the law

Sent by the one on high?

Yet now none of them keep this law,

Else why would they kill me?”


The people said, “We won’t kill you!

We don’t want you to die!”

But Jesus said, “I healed one man,

They raised this hue and cry—


Moses gave them circumcision,

(Really, my Father did),

They circumcise on Sabbath days,

Call it the will of God;


Why is healing on the Sabbath

Such a cause for their anger?

I heal the poor and lame and sick

In the name of the Father.

They  should not make moral judgments

From technicalities,

But they should judge by what is right,

And love their enemies.”


In the temple some of them said,

“We know him!  This is he

Whom th’authorities sought to kill,

Here, speaking openly!


Why don’t the Romans do something?

Can it be they don’t know

That this teacher claims to be Christ,

Telling us what to do?


Yet we all know who this man is,

And who his fam’ly is;

When the Christ comes to us at last

He won’t look like this Christ.”


“You all know me!” Jesus proclaimed.

“You know where I come from!

But I tell you, here on this earth,

I did not choose to come:


The one who sent me is the Truth,

You do not know the Truth.

I know Him, for I came from Him:

He sent me to this earth.”

Seeking at once to end this speech,

The crowd had him surrounded,

They could not lay their hands on him:

The hour had not yet sounded. 


Yet, many who had heard him teach

Believed in him, and said,

“If the real Christ had not taught this,

What else could we have heard?”


The Romans, hearing how the crowd

Argued insistently,

Sent soldiers out to arrest him

Quietly, secretly.


Jesus said, “I shall be with you

Now just a little more,

Then I go back to my Father,

The One who sent me here.


You may still seek to find me here,

But you will not find me;

Where I will be,  you cannot come.”

The crowd spoke violently,


And cried out to one another,

“Where does he mean to go?

Will he join the diaspora?

Or sail across the sea?

Will he live among the Gentiles,

And teach the word in Greek?

What does he mean, ‘You won’t find me’?

Tell us, where would we seek?’”


Then, in the last hour of the feast

Jesus stood up and spoke,

“If any one of you has thirst,

I’ll show you what to drink:


All those who now believe in me,

They will all drink my blood,

‘Out of this one’s own heart shall flow

The living water’s flood.’”


He spoke then of his Spirit, which,

For all those who believed,

Would be their spirit forever,

The spirit of his love.


Some said he was a true prophet;

Some said he was the Christ;

But some of them spoke foolishly

Who did not know his past:


“The Christ can’t come from Galilee!

The words of God proclaim

The Christ must be of David’s house,

And be from Bethlehem!”

And so the people divided.

Some of them condemned him,

But they left him alone instead

Of taking his freedom.


And the soldiers all went back to

The religious police,

Who asked them, “Where is this Jesus

We sent you out to seize?”


They answered, “No one ever spoke

As we heard Jesus do!”

Th’authorities protested, say’ng,

“Have you lost your minds, too?


We, who have studied the scriptures;

We, who are in authority;

We say this crowd must be accursed!

We must enforce the law!


Then Nicodemus, a wise judge,

Who secretly had gone

To speak to Jesus, long before,

Said to them, ev’ry one:


“Does the law seek to judge a man

From whom we have not heard?

Let us go, and ask his beliefs;

Let us hear all his words.”


They answered him, “Nicodemus,

Are you from Galilee?

You may search there, both high and low,

And hear no prophecy.”






On the Mount of Olives, Jesus

Went out to spend the night.

In the morning, at the temple,

He came again and taught.


All the same people had returned.

Outside he stopped with them;

They brought before him a woman

Who had known many men.


Th’authorities asked him to judge

Whether she ought to die.

They argued the just thing would be

To stone her publicly.


They were attempting to test him,

To lure him into sin:

If he refused to punish her,

Then they could bring him in.

Jesus, bending low to the ground,

Wrote letters in the sand;

But they pursued their question, so

He stood and raised his hand,


And faced them, saying, “If you are

Completely free from sin,

You be the first to throw a stone,”

And then cast his eyes down.


Beginning with the oldest one,

They left him, one by one,

Till Jesus and th’adulteress

Were left there all alone.


Jesus raised his head, say’ng to her,

“Woman, where have they gone?

Have none of them cast stones at you?”

She answered, “No, Lord, none.”


Then Jesus said to the woman,

“I do not condemn you. 

Go, and do not sin any more.

God tells you what to do.”


He went back into the Temple,

Where he had come to teach;

Many came in,  following him,

And others just to watch.

“I am the light of all the world,”

He said in the Temple.

“You will never walk in darkness

If you follow my call,


But you will have the light of life.”

Th’authorities said, “No,

Now you bear witness to yourself,

Which you said not to do.”


Jesus said to them, “Even so,

What I am say’ng is true,

For I know where I come from, and

Where I’m going to go. 


You cannot know of either place –

You only see my flesh --

I do not judge you, but God would

Judge all of you harshly –


For I alone do not decide

Your fate, but also He

Who sent me here, among you all,

So two would testify.


When I bear witness to myself

My Father speaks through me.”

They said, “Where is your Father?

Is he inside of you?”

“You don’t know either me or Him,

And if you did know me,

You would know who my Father is,

And follow us gladly.”


Again he said, “I’ll go away

And you will look for me;

But unless you search honestly,

You will all surely die;


Unless you believe, you’re condemned.”

Then they speculated:

“Does this mean he will kill himself?”

They analyzed his words,


And he said, “You are from below,

And I am from above;

You are part of this mortal world,

I am eternal life.


I told you all that in your sins

You would certainly die;

And you will die, unless you can

Repent and come to me.”


Then they asked him, “But who are you?”

And Jesus disputed,

“Why do I speak to you at all?

I have too much to say.

The One who sent me here is God;

I come to you from God;

I make here an offering of

Ev’rything you have heard.


When you raise up the Son of Man,

I think that you will know –

You’ll know that I do nothing from

My own authority.


From the first, the One who sent me

Has always been with me;

He has not left me; with his help

I make all people free.


If you understand all these words,

Follow me honestly;

Then all of you will know the truth –

The truth will set you free.”


They said, “The sons of Abraham

Are not in bondage now.

When you say we will be made free,

Explain this to us:  How?”


Jesus answered them, “I tell you

Sin makes you into slaves;

And if you do as sinners do

It’s you I come to save.

Slaves do not own their own houses

Nor do they inherit;

But a slave sometimes finds freedom

If he would ask for it.


If your asking could make you free,

And make you clean of sin,

I would help fulfill God’s promise

To Abraham’s children.


And yet now you seek to kill me,

You will not hear my words.

My words are not truthful to  you,

And you think I have lied.


I speak to you of what I know

About what you have been;

My Father speaks also through me,

And knows what you have done.”


 “We’re sons of Abraham,” they said.

To this, Jesus answered,

“If you were Abraham’s children,

You would do as he did.


Through the bright angel from on high,

God spoke to Abraham,

And told him not to kill his son,

For his faith redeemed him.

But now people seek to kill me,

Because I tell the truth.

The truth which you have heard from God

Brings to you only wrath.


This is not what Abraham did!

Your own blood lust inspires you,

It makes you slaves to your own blood,

It is the  flame that fires you.”


“We were not born of this blood lust!

We worship God!” they said.

“Tell me why you do not love me

When I hold out my hand?


I come not of my own accord,

But God has sent me here.

Why do you not understand me?

I teach, and make it clear –


It is because you cannot bear

To hear this lesson taught;

You are filled with earthly desires,

That twist and strain your thought;


You are all creatures of desire,

Driven by your own will,

You’re strangers to the realm of truth,

All born to die and kill,

Your Fathers were all murderers,

They lived and breathed falsehood,

They lied, and Fathered yet more lies,

And you are all their seed.


But because I tell you the truth,

The fire in your blood burns!

The only truth that you believe

Is threat and violence!


Which of you then comes to bind me?

Who comes to tie my hands?

If you were really men of God,

You would ask forgiveness.”


Th’authorities said, “Aren’t we right

In assuming that you

Are really a Samaritan,

And a demon also?”


Jesus said, “I am no demon;

According to the law,

I honor my Father in heav’n;

Yet you dishonor me,


And I seek no glory from you,

But there is One who does:

This One will be the judge of all

That is and ever was,

I speak the truth when I tell you,

That those who follow me

Will conquer death and come to heav’n ,

And live eternally.”


Th’authorities said, “Now we know

That you are a demon;

Abraham and the prophets died,

And so does ev’ryone.


But you say, ‘Those who follow me

Will never taste of death.’

Are you then greater than Abraham

And the prophets both?


Who do you think you are?” they said.

“My own glory is nothing,

Because my Father glorifies me,

The One you call your God;


But you have never known Him, while

I know Him as his Son.

If I said any diff’rently

His will would not be done.


I cannot lie to you, for I

Must keep His word always.

Your Father Abraham rejoiced

That we would see this day:

Abraham sees this and is glad.”

Then people understood

That Jesus was not telling them

About some promised good.


They said, “You are still a young man,

And you’ve seen Abraham?

He answered, “Truly, I tell you,

Before he was, I am.”


Then they took up stones to kill him,

They understood it all;

But Jesus had left the temple;

There was no one to kill.






In the street, Jesus saw a man:

All his life he’d been blind.

His disciples said to Jesus,

“What caused this affliction?


Did the blind man do some great sin,

Or did his parents sin,

That he was born without having

The gift of his vision?”


Jesus answered, “No person’s sin

Made this man’s sight go dim;

His blindness shows the works of God

Made manifest in him.


We all must work the works of God

While we still have the day;

Night comes, and then we cannot work,

For then no one can see.


As long as I am in the world,

I will be the world’s light.”

And as he said these words to them,

Into the dust he spat,


And with the spit and dust he made

A little clump of mud

And rubbed it on the blind man’s eyes.

After this, Jesus said,


“I send you to wash in Siloam.”

(Siloam means to be sent.)

The blind man felt his way along,

And that is where he went.


He washed there, and came back seeing

As well as anyone.

So then his neighbors all came out,

All those who knew the man,

And they asked, “Wasn’t he the one

There, holding out his hand?”

Some said, “Yes,” and the others said,

“He just looks like that one.”


The man himself said, “I am the one!

I was blind!  Now I see!”

“How were your eyes opened up, then?”

He said, “Jesus made clay;


With it he rubbed both of my eyes,

And sent me to Siloam;

I went, and washed, and got my sight;

And then I came back home.”


They asked him, “Where is Jesus now?”

He answered, “I don’t know.”

They brought him to th’authorities,

To see what they would do.


Because it had been the Sabbath

When Jesus made the clay

Which opened up the blind man’s eyes

When it was washed away.


Th’authorities all asked the man

What had happened that day;

He said, “He put clay on my eyes,

I washed, and now I see.”

Some of th’authorities spoke out,

“Jesus does not know God;

He does not keep the Sabbath day!”

Then once more they argued,


For some of them would not accept

That it could be a sin

To render such a miracle

As what had healed this man.


So they asked the man to tell them,

“What do you have to say

About this Jesus, since he did

Open your eyes that way?”


“He is a prophet,” said the man.

Then, they would not believe

That the man had been blind from birth.

They went to where he lived,


And called his parents out, and said,

“Is this your son?  You say

He was born blind?  How then has he

Come to see in this way?”


They said, “We know this is our son,

And he was always blind.

We don’t know how he came to see.

Why don’t you just ask him?

Though he was blind, he is of age,

He can speak for himself.

Tell him the answer that you want

And that is what you’ll have.”


They called the man a second time

And said, “We’re sure of this:

That Jesus is a great sinner,

And rebels against us.”


The man said, “If sins or not,

That I cannot tell you.

I know only one thing: that is,

I was blind, now I see.”


They asked him, “What did Jesus do?

How did he make you see?”

The man said, “I have told you once,

What more now can I say?


Didn’t you hear me the first time?

Why do you ask again?

Why don’t you join his disciples,

And follow him, and learn?”


They all disparaged him, saying,

“He has cast spells on you;

We have all been taught by Moses,

Whom God has spoken to;

As for this man Jesus, we don’t

Know where he has come from.”

The man answered, “What a marvel!

How can such a thing be?


You don’t know where Jesus comes from

Yet he has healed my eyes!

I think that God may not listen

To sinners, with their lies!


If anyone does worship God

And does God’s will, each day,

I think God will listen to him;

And God will hear me say


That never, since the world began,

Has it ever been seen

That someone opened up the eyes

Of a person born blind.


If this man were not sent from God,

He could not have healed me.”

They answered, “You were born in sin,

We don’t care what you say!”


Then th’authorities cast him out,

So Jesus asked of him,

“Though you were blind, do you believe

Now, in the Son of Man?”

The man answered, “Who is he, sir?

I will believe in him.”

Jesus said, “Now you have seen him;

And felt his mercy come.”


The man said, “Yes, Lord, I believe,”

And he worshiped Jesus,

Who said, “I came into this world

To show truth in God’s ways,


That those who are blind can still see,

And those who see are blind.”

Those who heard this rebuked Jesus,

For they were offended.


“Are judges also blind?” they asked,

And Jesus said to them:

“If you were blind, you would be free

Of any guilt or stain.


But now you say, ‘We see all things,’

And so your sin remains.”

Then Jesus left them standing there.

Their taunts were all in vain.










At the Feast of Dedication

When wintertime had come,

Jesus walked into the temple;

The people came to him.


The portico of Solomon

Was where he stood and taught,

And he spoke to them carefully

To help them interpret:


This is what I will teach today:

Each of us has a choice:

To enter the sheepfold by the gate,

Or through some other place.


If you don’t enter by the  gate,

But come in somewhere else,

You will be treated like a thief,

Who sneaks under the fence.


The one who enters by the gate,

That one is the shepherd.

The gatekeeper opens to him,

And the sheep hear his words.


He calls his own sheep, each by name,

He takes them out to feed,

And they all follow after him,

For they know he is good.


They know his voice, and they would not

Follow a  stranger so;

They would run off from the stranger,

Whose voice they would not know.”


As Jesus told them this story,

They did not understand,

So they all asked him what it meant,

And again he explained:


“I’m by the sheepfold’s gate,” he said,

“The ones who were first there

Were thieves and robbers, and the sheep

Knew them only with fear.


I’m by the gate, where they enter,

Where they go to be safe;

By day they go into the field,

To the pastures they love.


The thief comes in only to steal,

To kill, and to destroy;

I come in so you may have life,

And live abundantly.

I am the shepherd, kind and good;

Who will lay down his life

So that the sheep will all be safe,

Not stolen by a thief;


Someone who is not the shepherd,

May not protect the sheep,

He fears the wolf and leaves the sheep

And the wolf eats them up;


The wolf chases and scatters them,

And they have no defense;

But the good shepherd and his flock

Know each other as friends.


I the shepherd know my own,

And you, my own, know me.

As my Father in heav’n knows me,

So I know all of you.


And I will sacrifice my life

To guard this flock of mine,

And other sheep, in other folds

Will come with us and join,


And all of them will heed my voice,

And come into my fold,

In one great flock, and I shall be

The  shepherd of them all.

For this my own Father loves me,

That I lay down my life,

That I may take it up again,

And keep my flock all safe.


No one can take my life from me,

By choice I lay it down;

This is what God has done for me,

And now I make it known.”


Some still said, “He’s like a disease;

He may infect us all.

Why stay here and listen to him?”

Yet others heard his call,


And said, “These are not the sayings

Of one who is possessed –

Can demons open blinded eyes?

We’ll set for him a test.”


So then they gathered round and said,

“How long must people wait?

If you’re our savior, then tell us,

So we can celebrate.”


Jesus said, “I told all of you,

But you did not hear me.

What I do in my Father’s name

Shows all of you the way.

But none of you follow the way

You are not in my fold.

My sheep hear me, and they know me,

They are the ones I hold.


I know them, and they follow me,

They have eternal life,

They shall never give up the spir’t,

And they shall not know grief,


They are held in my Father’s hands:

They have been his, always,

He knew of them before all time,

And they hear what He says.


My Father is greater than all,

And therefore nothing can

Snatch them from my Father’s hand.

Now all of us are one.”


Th’authorities still threatened him,

But Jesus answered them,

“Many good works are done for you

By my Father’s strong arm.


So tell me, which of these good works

Is cause for killing me?”

They said, “You should be stoned because

You lead people astray.

You are a man; and yet you try

To make yourself a God.”

“Is it not written in your law

That ‘You are Gods,’?” he asked.


“The Word of God came down to men,

And if God is human,

This Word cannot be broken, and

You should not say it can.


My Father blessed me and sent me

Among you in this world,

And you say I should not tell you

I am the Son of God?


If I don’t do my Father’s works,

Then don’t believe in me;

But if I do my Fathers works,

Then let these works display


The love my Father has for you,

The love He has for me,

For He and I are one in love,

As from these works you see.”


Then when they tried to capture him

He went away again,

Across the Jordan, to the place

Where John had baptized him;

And many more came there and said,

“John did not leave a sign,

But what John said about this man

Was true.  We follow him.”






In Judea, in Bethany

Lived three friends of Jesus,

They were called Mary, and Martha,

And their brother, Laz’rus.


Word came to Jesus that Laz’rus

Had become very ill;

But Jesus said, “He will not die,

But manifest God’s will.”


He went out across the Jordan

And stayed there for two days.

Then he took his disciples back,

To visit Bethany.


They said, “Only the other day

They wanted to kill you;

Why then go back among that crowd?

Don’t you know what they’ll do?”


Jesus answered them, “Aren’t there still

Twelve hours in ev’ry day?

We walk at noon in the sunlight,

So we can see our way;


But if a person walks at night

By light of moon and star,

He stumbles, and perhaps will fall;

His path is not so clear.”


Thus He spoke to his twelve foll’wers;

Of Laz’rus then, He said,

“I go to wake him from his sleep,

To raise him from his bed.”


They answered, “Lord, if he sleeps now,

Then he will wake up soon.”

But Jesus meant to give new breath

To one whose breath had gone.


“For your sake I am glad,” He said,

“We did not save his life,

But let’s go there, and wake him now,

So that you may believe.”


Then Thomas, who was called the Twin,

Said to them secretly,

“Let us all go with Jesus, that

With Laz’rus we may die.”

Four days Laz’rus had been interred,

And many mourners came,

There with Mary and with Martha,

To praise the dead man’s name.


As Jesus and his followers

Came into Bethany,

Martha was running down the road,

And she cried out wildly:


“Lord, if you had only been here,

Then he would not have died;

And even now, if you would ask,

I know God would provide.”


Jesus said to his friend Martha,

“He will rise up again.”

She said, “I know he will at last,

When God will raise all men.”


But Jesus said to her, “I am

Resurrection and Life.

They who believe in Me may die,

Yet live, beyond all grief;


Whoe’er lives and believes in me

Shall never die again.

Do you believe this?” Jesus asked,

And Martha said, “Amen,

Surely, Lord, I believe that you

Are Christ, the Son of God;

He who is come into the world

So all sins are redeemed.”


Then Martha went back to her house,

And she said to Mary,

“The teacher comes; He calls for you.”

Mary went out quickly,


And when the mourners saw her leave

They ran out after her,

For they thought she would shame herself,

Distraught, tearing her hair,


And she fell down at Jesus’ feet

Out on the road, and said,

“Lord, if you had only been here,

Laz’rus would not be dead!”


When Jesus saw her weeping, and

Mourners chasing after,

It moved him to feel her grieving;

Softly, he spoke to her:


“Where did you bury Lazarus?”

They said to Him, “Come, see.”

Jesus wept.  And some of them said,

“He shows such sympathy.”

But others, when they saw Him weep,

Said, “Why is Jesus crying?

Could not the one who healed the blind

Have kept this man from dying?”


Then Jesus, deeply moved again,

Came to the tomb and said,

“I will open it and go in,”

So he could see him dead.


But Martha said, “Lord, by this time

There will be an odor;

Four days ago inside that tomb

We buried my brother.”


Jesus cried, “I just said to you,

When I saw how you grieved,

If you believe me, you may die,

Yet live, beyond all grief!”


So they removed the heavy stone.

He turned his eyes to heav’n,

He said, “O Father, I thank you

For the love you have giv’n;


I know that you hear me always

So now I say to you

Let the people standing here see

What you have done today.”

When He had said this, Jesus called,

His voice was loud and clear:

“Lazarus, come out!” It echoed,

And so they waited there.


Out the dead man came: face, hands and

Feet bound, his steps made slow.

Then Jesus cried to all of them,

“Stand back now, let him go.”


Some people who came with Mary

Saw the risen Laz’rus,

And believed in Jesus, but went

To find th’authorities.


They told what Jesus had done there,

His raising of the dead,

And so a full council gathered,

And among them they said:


“This man does all these miracles;

What are we going to do?

If we let him continue this,

All the people will know.


So many will believe in him –

Romans will hear of it;

Our nation and our great temple

Will surely be destroyed.”

And Caiaphas, the highest judge,

Said, “Soon we will take him;

But first, we understand, it is

Expedient for Rome


That one man should be sacrificed

And die, so all we cherish,

Our temple, and our nation, and

Our people, shall not perish.”


He did not say this of his own

Accord, but prophesied

That Jesus, for the nation,

Should be the one who died;


It was not just for the nation,

But to create a time

When he thought the diaspora

Would gather all back home.


Jesus, knowing this, went no more

Among his enemies,

But out into the countryside,

Near to the wilderness.








The great Feast of the Passover

Would soon be upon them.

Many came up from the country

Into Jerusalem.


They came to purify themselves

Before the feast began;

They  gathered inside the temple,

Seeking the Son of Man.


They all said to one another

As they stood in the temple:

“What do you think?  Will he come here?

Will he lead the people?”


The chief priests and th’authorities

Gave orders people should

Tell if they knew where Jesus was

So he could be caught.


Six days before the Passover,

Jesus came to Bethany.

Mary, Martha and Lazarus

Made supper there for him. 




Martha served them, and Lazarus

Sat down at the table;

And Mary rubbed a rare ointment

Into Jesus’ sore feet.


The ointment of pure nard she rubbed

And wiped clean with her hair,

And so the house was fragrant with

A smell of spice and flow’rs.


Judas Iscar’ot, one of them,

Was sitting by the door,

And said, “Why was this nard not sold

So we could feed the poor?”


Now Judas kept the money box

That did for all of them,

And sometimes took money from it

To buy himself something.


So he questioned them, not because

He cared much for the poor,

But knowing, less spent for the nard

Would in his box be more.


Said Jesus, “Let her keep this nard

For when you bury me,

The poor you always have with you,

But I’m going away.”

Then there was a great crowd coming

To stand outside the house,

Not only to hear Jesus teach,

But to see Lazarus:


The one he raised up from the dead,

Whom now th’authorities

Planned to put to death again,

Because they said he was


Calling them out of the temple

To believe in Jesus,

To follow the teaching of Jesus,

And offer him praise.


Next day an even greater crowd

Came into the temple

For they heard Jesus was coming

To speak to the people.


The crowd went out to meet him, with

Palm branches waving high.

“Hosanna! Blest is he who comes,”

All of them cheered and cried,


“He comes in the name of the Lord,

The King of Israel!”

And Jesus rode a little donkey;

The scripture was fulfilled:

“Fear not, O daughter of Zion,

Behold, here comes your king,

He’s coming on an ass’s colt,

To make his offering.”


At first his faithful followers

Stood watching, mystified;

But they remembered it again

When he was glorified:


They remembered then from this text,

What was done to Jesus;

The people who saw Laz’rus raised,

They also bore witness;


The crowd that came out to meet him,

They also saw the sign;

And they all said to each other,

“Behold, he is our King!”


Th’authorities then said, “You see,

Nothing more can be done;

This imposter, this sorcerer,

Now takes all of them in.”


Among those inside the temple

There were several Greeks;

Philip and Andrew said that they

Wanted Jesus to speak.

Jesus said, “Now the hour has come

To take the Son of Man,

To be raised up and glorified;

And now I say to them,


Unless a grain of wheat falls down

Into the earth, and dies,

It remains alone, and in its

Season, it atrophies.


But if it dies, it bears much fruit,

Swelling the earth’s new breast,

Thirsting down through the patient stalk,

Bringing whiter harvest.


He who loves his life, loses it,

And he who loves it not,

Trades it for an  eternal life,

And so bears plent’ous fruit.


If any want to serve me now,

Then come and join with us;

For where I go, my servants will

Stay in my Father’s house.


Now my soul is troubled; and yet

What can I tell of this?

‘Father, save me from this dark hour’?

This hour is my purpose.

Father, I glorify your name!”

Then came a voice from heav’n,


A great silence came down.


The crowd, standing in the temple,

Cried out, “It was thunder!”

Other people said, “An angel!

An angel was right here!”


Jesus proclaimed, “This heav’nly voice

Persuades your soul, not mine;

Now is the sure judgment of heav’n

Come down to refine man,


Now shall the rulers of this world

Be scattered like the calf,

And as I’m  lifted from the earth,

Draw all men to myself!”


He said these things to show the crowd

He knew how he would die,

He knew they would crucify him,

And so the crowd replied:


“How can you say the Son of Man

Will be lifted up on high?

Who is this Son of Man? Tell us!”

He said, “Walk carefully,

The light will show your way for you

For just a little time;

Walk while it shines, lest the darkness

Makes your vision dim.


The one who must walk in darkness

Does not know where he goes;

While you have light, believe, and walk,

Even to paradise.”


After Jesus had told them this,

He stood up and left them,

Leaving the divided crowd,

Still disbelieving him.


Though he had done so many signs,

Still, many scorned his word;

So the scripture might be fulfilled

As Isaiah had warned:


“Lord, who has believed our reports?

Who has seen your strong arm?

He blinded eyes, and hardened hearts,

Lest they should understand.”


Isaiah wrote these words because

He saw Jesus in glory,

He spoke to them of what would be

And wrote it in his story;

Though many elders believed him,

They kept their own counsel,

For if they spoke the truth, they’d be

Banished from the temple,


These elders loved the praise of men

More than the praise of God,

And for fear of what others thought,

They kept their own thoughts hid.


Then Jesus cried aloud and said,

“He who believes in me,

Must believe not only in me,

But in my Father also!


Who comes to me, sees my Father!

I have come as his spir’t!

Whoever now believes in me,

Walks in a brilliant light!


If any of you hear these say’ngs

And still do not believe,

I do not judge you, for I come

Not to judge, but to save!


If you reject me, and the things

That I may do and say,

The words that I have spoken here

Will sound  on Judgment Day!

For I have never spoken from

My own authority;

My Father has commanded me

What I should do, and say,


And I know that his commandment

Is our eternal life;

So as my Father asks of  me,

I quicken your belief.”






In those final few days before

The Passover Feast came,

Jesus called all his disciples

Together in a room.


For Jesus knew the hour had come

To leave this world behind,

And with the love of all his friends,

His earthly life would end.


And as they sat down to supper,

The devil came to them

And put a thing into the heart

Of Judas, Simon’s son.


For this Judas had been chosen

To help capture Jesus.

Jesus knew it, but for awhile

He would not speak of this.


Jesus already knew that all things

Were held in his own hands,

That he had come from God, and he

Would follow God’s commands.


Jesus got up from his supper,

Laid his garments aside,

He wrapped a tow’l around himself,

He kneeled, and bowed his head;


He poured water in a bowl, and

Started to wash their feet;

He held their feet in his hands, and

Wiped them with linen cloths.


Then, when he knelt before Peter,

Peter cried out to him,

“Lord! How can you wash off my feet?”

But Jesus answered him:


“What I am doing, you don’t know,

But afterward, you’ll see.”

“Lord, you will never wash my feet,”

Peter answered proudly.

“If I don’t wash them,” Jesus said,

“We must leave each other.”

“Why just my feet?  Why not my hands

And my head?” said Peter.


Jesus told him, “If you are clean,

You have no need for me.

But your feet may still be dirty,

So I wash them this way.


Peter, I know you will be clean,

But not all of you are.”

(For Jesus saw in Judas’ heart

And knew he was a liar.)


When Jesus finished with their feet

He put his clothes back on,

Sat down again, and said to them,

“Do you know what I’ve done?


You all say to me, ‘Teacher, Lord’;

And you’re right about this,

If I, your Teacher, wash your feet,

You ought to do likewise:


Kneel down and wash each others’ feet

And live this example

And do as I have done for you,

And serve other people,

For the servant is never greater

Than the master he minds;

Nor is the One who has been sent

Greater than He who sends.


And now if you know all these things

Then you’ll do as I say;

I know the ones I’ve chosen, and

I speak to all of you;


I say this so that you and I

Fulfill the word that said:

‘He lifts his heel up against me,

The one who ate my bread.’


I say this now, before I die

So that when they kill me

You may believe that I serve you

Through all eternity.


Truly, truly, if you receive

Any one whom I send,

You have me, and Him who sent me,

World without end, Amen.”


Then his spirit was troubled,

And they all heard his cries,

“Friends, believe me, one of you will

Call in th’authorities.”

So they looked at one another,

Wond’ring which one he meant,

And they all knew that his friend, John,

Had Jesus’ confidence;


Peter beckoned to John, saying,

“Tell us who will do it.”

So John came and embraced Jesus,

And asked, “Lord, who is it?”


Jesus said, “It will be the one

To whom I give some bread,

That I have dipped into the wine;

He will take it and eat.”


So Jesus dipped the piece of bread,

And gave it to Judas.

After he took it in his hand,

His fear showed in his face.


So Jesus admonished Judas,

“What you do, do quickly,”

But none of Jesus’ disciples

Thought that this meant he was guilty,


Because he had the money box,

They all thought Jesus meant,

‘Go and buy more food for the feast,’

Or ‘Give to those in want.’

After this Judas ate the bread

That was dipped in the wine;

And he was quick to leave them there,

With ev’ning coming on.


When Judas left them, Jesus said,

“Now is the Son of Man

Glorified, and in Him, our God

Is glorified!  Amen! 


God glorifies Himself in me,

I glorify Him now!

My friends, I will be here with you

Only till tomorrow!


You will try to find me, and I

Can’t say where I will go.

Now there is a new commandment

Which I will give to you:


You should all love one another,

As I loved all of you;

You have been my disciples:  this

Is how people will know.”


Then Simon Peter said to him,

“Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus said, “Where I am going

Now, there is no foll’wing;

But you will follow afterward.”

Peter said, “Why not now?

I will follow you now; I will

Lay down my life for you!”


He said, “Peter, will you really

Lay down your life for me?

Before the rooster crows again

You’ll deny me three times!”






Jesus declared, “Don’t let your hearts

Be troubled, but believe:

Believe in God; believe in Me;

And you’ll  receive great gifts.


In God’s house there are many rooms;

And if this were not so,

How could I tell you that I go

To make a place for you?


When I prepare your resting place

I will come back to you,

And I will take you to myself,

So you may be there too.”


Hearing about their resting place

Prompted Thomas to say,

“We don’t know where you are going;

How can we know the way?”


“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,

You come to the Father

By loving Me; if you know Me,

So should you all know Him.”


“Show us the Father,” Philip said,

“And we’ll be satisfied.”

Jesus said, “For all this time,

Haven’t I been by your side?


Yet you do not know me, Philip.

The one who has seen me,

Sees the Father. There is no more

Of the Father to see.


Philip, tell me, don’t you believe

That I am in the Father

And that the Father is in me?

And I am not the Author,


I speak my words at His behest;

He sent me here to live,

He dwells in me and does these works

For any who believe.

Now is the time I say to you,

If you believe in me,

You will do all the things I do,

And see the things I see.


Even greater works will appear,

For I go to my Father.

Whatever things you ask of Him

In my name, I will gather,


And I will give these things to you,

All to be glorified.

The pray’rs you offer in my name

Will all be satisfied.


If you love me, then you will keep

My commandments; and there

will come to you from my Father 

Another Counselor,


To be here with you forever:

One called the spir’t of Truth.

Many can’t believe in this Spir’t,

They follow their own path,


But you will know this Counselor,

And you will see him, too;

The Spir’t will dwell among you all

And it will be in you.

I will not leave you desolate,

And I will come to you.

Then in a little while I will

Meet with you up on high.


Here on earth you will still see me;

I will come back to you,

And you will see my wounded hands,

My blood upon my brow.


My love is in my Father’s eye,

Just as yours is in mine.

And if you keep my commandments,

All your love will be known


By the Father and by the Son.

Love will be manifest,

And I, too, will be manifest;

All this will come to pass.”


Then Jude (the other one) asked him,

“How is it that you will

Be manifest only to us,

And not be known by all?”


Jesus answered, “If you love me,

Then you will keep my word,

My Father will always love you;

And draw you heavenward.

If you do not love me, you will

Not recognize my call;

My Father sends his love to you

And may you love him well.


I have said all these things to you

While I am still with you;

The Father sends his Holy Spir’t

Teaching you in my name;


This spirit, your own Counselor,

Will teach you what to do,

And will bring to your remembrance

All I have said to you.


My peace I leave with you, dear friends,

My peace I give to you:

It is a swift, unsettled peace,

Mixed with dream and shadow.


But let your hearts be placid now,

And do not live in fear.

‘I go away, yet I will come,’

You find me ev’ry where.


And if  you love me, then rejoice!

My Father cleaves to me,

A Father greater than I am,

How holy and mighty!

I speak these words to care for you,

Before death cares for me,

I pray you still believe in me,

Even after I die.


The world with all its rulers has

No power over me.

As my Father has commanded,

Let us believe, and see:


See what the Father has prepared,

So that this world may know

That love beyond understanding.

Rise up, then.  Let us go.”






Jesus still spoke and prayed with them,

For he knew He would die:

“I am the vine, the true grapevine,

My Father husbands me.


Ev’ry branch that bears no fruit,

My Father takes away.

And ev’ry stem that swells with grape,

He turns to the sun’s ray.


And still he prunes that fertile one

To make it bear yet more,

While cutting off the fruitless branch

To let the vine spread further.


Now, I tell you, my dear children:

You have all been made clean

By hearing the word I’ve spoken.

Such harvest there has been!


Abide in me, and I in you;

For when the branches die

They are all cut from off the vine;

Hear me! Abide in me!


You cannot bear fruit by yourselves,

No matter what you do.

I am the vine, you are the branch,

Together we will grow.


If you do not abide in me,

The pruner will cut and gather,

And cast you out into the fire,

There to burn and wither.


If you abide in me, my words

Also abide in you;

Ask of me then whate’er you will:

I will already know.

So then you too will bear much fruit,

Glorifying the Father.

You will all be my disciples;

And you will live forever.


As my own Father has loved me,

Likewise I have loved you;

Abide in my eternal love:

Do what I ask of you.


I have told you part of  these things;

Now I will tell you all:

That all my joy shall be in you,

And your joy may be full.


This is my greatest commandment:

That you all love one another

As I have loved you; greater love

Has not sister, or brother,


Than they who lay down their own lives

To protect those they love;

All of you are in the shadow

Of my wings, and will live


Eternally, for I love you,

And I will protect you,

And  you will know the greatest love

It’s possible to know.

You did not choose me, I chose you,

To grow, and bear harvest;

That your fruit should be abundant,

With all the heav’nly host.


If you ask my Father to give

In my name, he will give;

But first, follow this commandment:

Share one another’s love.


If the world hates and reviles you,

You’ll know it hated me

Long before I came into it,

To be its enemy.


The world will always love its own,

But you are not worldly;

For I chose you from all the world,

To come to heav’n with me.


So if the world does reject you,

You should remember this:

A servant is not rejected

More than his master is.


However they persecute you,

They will persecute me;

However they deny your word,

They will deny mine  too.

They will do all these things to you,

Trying to do me harm;

They don’t know Him who sent me here,

They have never known Him.


If my virtue were there with them,

They would not have seen it;

They are enthralled with their own pride, 

Blinded by rage and spite.


They who hate me, hate my Father;

They see I am like Him:

These works, which no one else could do,

Have aroused them to sin.


They have all seen and hated me,

Hated my Father, too.

And all of this fulfills the word

Written down in their law:


‘They hated me without a cause.’

But when the Couns’lor comes,

The one whom I shall send to you,

He will proclaim your cause.


The Spir’t of Truth bears your witness,

And you testify too,

So from the beginning, now,

And always, it will be.”




“I have shown all these things to you

To keep you beside me;

Soon the Roman authorities

Will drive you all away.


Indeed, the time is coming when

They’ll put a price on you;

They will kill you to collect it

And think they show virtue.


None of them has known the Father

Or me.  Yet now I say

These things, so that when the hour comes

You will all be ready.


When we first went forth together

In our great ministry,

I did not say these things to you,

Because I was with you;


But now I will not be with you,

I’ll be with my Father,

And even so now you ask me,

‘Where are you going, where?’



Now, because I tell you these things,

Sorrow fills all your hearts.

Nevertheless, I speak the truth:

You have the better part.


If I don’t go and leave you here

The Couns’lor will not come.

But when I go, He will come here

And you will befriend Him.


And when He comes, He will unearth

The source of all your sin,

He will show you his righteousness,

You will understand Him.


And you will see that others sin

Because they don’t know me;

And they don’t know my righteousness:

They follow their own ways.


The Couns’lor’s judgment shall be giv’n

Over your mortal ends.

And rulers of this world be judged

As my Father commands.


I have many more things to say,

You cannot bear to hear;

So seek your way in all the words

Of  the  Spirit’s Couns’lor.

He will speak as the Father does,

He will foresee your ways.

And He will glorify my Name

To light you on your way.


A little longer and you will

Not see me any more.

And yet again a little while,

And you will see me here.”


Some of his disciples pondered;

They said to one another,

“What does he mean when he tells us,

‘I go now to my Father’?”


He answered them by asking them:

“Don’t you know what I mean?

I’m telling you that I will die,

And you will weep in pain;


And all the world will then rejoice,

While you wail and lament,

But there will come another day

When your tears have been spent,


As when a woman, great with child,

Knows that her hour has come,

She weeps till there are no more tears,

And calls upon my name;

But when this baby sees the world,

And its eyes are open,

She celebrates the baby’s birth

And no more feels the pain;


So may you all feel sorrow now,

But soon I will return,

And you will celebrate the life

You have so dearly won.


In that day you will neither have

Nor want for any thing;

I say to you and all who pray,

The Father is giving:


Ask for something from the Father,

And that you will receive.

The only thing your Father wants,

Is for you to believe.


I spoke before using figures,

And examples, and signs;

But soon the hour is upon us

That you will see it plain.


In that day, that hour, that minute,

Ask a thing in my name;

I need not speak for you, you will

Ask my Father, alone,

For He loves ev’ry one of you

Because you have loved Me,

And you believed I came from Him,

And in my name you pray.


I came to you from our Father,

And we have been together.

But soon I will be leaving you

To be with Him forever.”


Then they said to him, “Now you speak

As clearly as you can;

And now we know what is coming,

And have no more questions;


Now we know that you  have come down

From God in heav’n above.”

But Jesus stopped them and asked them,

“How much do you believe?


The hour is coming, it has come,

When you will all be scattered;

When ev’ry one of you goes home,

And forgets what I have said.


My spirit will be forgotten –

This is a certainty.

Still, I will not be all alone:

My Father will be with me.

I have said all these things to you

So soon you may know peace,

When your tribulation may end,

And your sorrow may cease.






He stood gazing at their faces,

Then lifted up his eyes,

Say’ng, “Father, now the hour is come,

Show us the way to grace.


Now Father, glorify us all,

As you are glorified,

Because you grant us now the pow’r

Our flesh to lay aside.


Let us all have eternal life:

All who truly believe

Find eternal life in knowing

You are the God of love.


We know you are the One true God,

And that I am your Son,

Sent by you here, to do your works:

A new thing under the sun.


O Father, we glorify  you

Here on the earth below,

And I have now done all the work

You granted me to do.


So now, Father, glorify me;

In glory let me hide;

The great glory where glory was,

Before the world was made.


I spoke your name to ev’ry man,

Woman, and child, and beast.

They were all yours, now they are mine;

I hold them in my breast.


Now they all know that ev’rything

Came down to them from You;

For I have giv’n them all the Word

That you have giv’n  me too.


And they have all received this Word;

They know I came from you;

They know I have come down from heav’n;

So let them all now pray.


Let them now pray for all people

Who may come to believe.

They are yours; all of mine are yours,

To glorify and save.

I will be in this world no more,

But this is still their home.

I ask you to keep them, Father,

Nurture them in my name:


Give grace, as you gave it to me,

That they may all be one;

Even as all of us will be,

When earthly things are done.


When I was here, they followed in

The way where I have been;

I guarded them, and none were lost,

But now this life is gone.


All this fulfills the Word of God.

Soon I will come again,

And then their joy will be fulfilled:

They will be more than men.


I have giv’n them all your true Word;

The world has hated them,

Because they are not of the world

But they are as I am.


Sanctify them in your own Truth.

As you sanctified me,

So I may send them forth again

To be my ministry.

For their sake I now consecrate

Myself and all their work,

That in your Truth they may be blest,

And conquer o’er the dark.


I do not pray only for them,

But all who hear them speak,

And hearing, believe in my Word,

As their own ways they seek.


Even as you, O my Father,

Are one person in Me,

And I in You, may all these people

Be here in us today. 


The world will know how you sent Me,

They will know your glory.

We will make an eternal light

To show all souls their way.


The world will know how you sent Me,

Your love will bind us all.

So my Father, now I ask you,

Hear me now when I call,


For these few you have giv’n to me,

That when their time has come,

That they may all remember me,

And see me where I am.

They may behold all my glory,

Which you have giv’n to me;

That was from the world’s foundation,

And that ever shall be.


O righteous Father, Father mine,

The world has not known you;

But I have known. As these few know,

All of them will follow.


I have made manifest your name,

And shown your steadfast love;

Now we show this love forever,

Here, and also above.






After Jesus had prayed with them,

He went outside again,

And with a few of them he came

To an enclosed garden.


Now Judas knew where Jesus was,

And he procured soldiers,

And he led them out to this place,

To serve th’authorities;


And the soldiers came with weapons,

By torch and lantern light.

Jesus knew what would happen next,

So he came to the gate.


“Who are you looking for?” he asked.

“Jesus, the Nazarene.”

“I am he,” Jesus answered them,

And they tried to get in.


“Who do you want?” he asked again.

“Jesus!  Isn’t that you?”

“I told you, yes, I am.  Take me,

And let these others go.”


(This happened to fulfill the word

Said when He had begun:

‘Of all those whom thou gavest to me,

I shall not lose one.’)


Then Peter drew his sword and struck

Malchus, the high priest’s slave,

But Jesus said to Peter, “Stop it!

Your violence is not love!


Put your sword into its sheath.

Shall I not drink the cup

My Father has prepared for me?”

So he was yielded up.

They brought him to Jerusalem

Where they would try his case.

Then they chained him and brought him to

The religious police.


The high priest Caiaphas had said,

“Only one of us has to die,

So that the Roman lust for pow’r

Is fully satisfied.”


Peter followed after Jesus;

And so did John, who was

Able to go inside the court,

Because he had their trust;


But Peter stood outside awhile,

And then, when John came out,

He asked the maid beside the door

To bring Peter inside.


The maid turned and said to Peter,

“Aren’t you here with Jesus?”

But Peter said, “No, I am not.

I don’t know who he is.”


The slaves and soldiers made a fire

For it was cold that night,

And Peter stood and warmed himself

Basking in the fire’s light. 

Th’authorities questioned Jesus

To discern his teaching;

Jesus answered them all readily,

So they might learn something:


“I have preached and taught openly

For all the world to hear,

In the temple, and in the schools

Where’er the faithful were.


I have said nothing secretly;

Why do you accuse me?

Ask all those who have heard me teach:

They will all testify,


They all know what I said to them.”

As he was saying this,

One of the henchmen, standing by,

Struck at him with his fist,


And snarled, “Is that how you answer

Those who are your masters?”

And the henchman lifted his fist

To hit Jesus harder.


Jesus said, “If I speak falsely,

Then tell me I’m mistaken;

But if I have spoken the truth,

Why then should I be beaten?”

The police did not answer Him,

But sent him still shackled

To stand before another judge

And explain what he’d said.


Out by the brazier, Peter stood

Warming his face and hands;

Once again someone said to him,

“Aren’t you here with that man?”


He denied that he knew Jesus,

But Malchus’ kinsman came

And said, “Didn’t I see you there

In the garden with him?”


Peter once again denied it,

Saying it wasn’t so;

And so three times Peter had lied.

Suddenly the cock crowed.


Then the religious officials

Led Jesus from the court

Into the great Praetorium

To meet Pontius Pilate.


Pilate, the Roman Governor,

Came outside to see them.

He asked them, “What accusation

Do you bring against him?”

They answered, “This man is evil;

If he were not, then why

Would we have brought him before you?”

Pilate said, “Why don’t you


Take him yourselves and judge his guilt

By your religious law?”

They said, “Though we may judge his guilt,

You have authority;


For you can bring your soldiers here,

And you can have him killed,

While it would be against our law,

For us to shed his blood.


Pilate went back inside his house,

And spoke to Jesus there.

“Are you King of the Jews?” he asked.

Jesus said, “Did you hear


This said about me, or did you

Surmise it on your own?”

Pilate said, “Am I one of you?

Just tell me what you’ve done.


Your authorities captured you,

And brought you here to me –

They want me to execute you:

What should my answer be?”

“My kingship is not of this world,”

Said Jesus. “If it were,

Then my servants would fight for me,

And take me out of here.”


Said Pilate, “So you are a King?”

Said Jesus, “You say this;

I say, I came into the world

To tell you what truth is.


Who hears me speak of any thing,

Beggar, king, sage, or youth,

They will only attend my voice

If they are of the truth.”


“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus,

And then he went outside.

Where th’authorities were waiting.

Silencing them, he said:


“Finding no crime in this Jesus.

I will observe your ways,

And, in honor of Passover,

Name someone to release.


Will you have me release for you

This man who says he’s king?”

“Not this man!  Release Barabbas!”

With rage their voices rang.



So Pilate released Barabbas,

A thief who’d been condemned,

And Roman soldiers took Jesus

And they whipped and beat him.


The soldiers jammed a crown of thorns

Down into Jesus’ head;

They dressed him in a purple robe,

And taunted him, and said:


“Hail, Hail, Great King of All the Jews!”

And struck him with their clubs.

Out came Jesus, wearing the crown,

Blood on his purple robes;


“Crucify him!  Crucify him!”

The crowds and soldiers cried.

“You can kill him then,” said Pilate,

“I wash my hands of it.”


The people said, “We have a law

By which he ought to die;

He claims to be the Son of God

And this is blasphemy.”




When Pilate heard them saying this,

He thought they would riot.

He entered the Praetorium

Where Jesus stood silent.


He asked Jesus, “Where are you from?”

But Jesus would not answer.

Pilate therefore said to him,

“You know that I have pow’r


Either to set you free to them,

Or to crucify you.

Why then will you not speak to me?”

Jesus answered him so:


“You would not have pow’r over me

Lest it was giv’n to you:

They who do your foul work for you

Therefore have greater sin.”


Pilate may well have released him,

But the crowd cried again,

“If you choose to release this man,

You are not Caesar’s friend.”


So Pilate, after all these things,

Paraded Jesus out,

And in the place called Gabbatha

He sat and gave judgement;

People had prepared for the feast,

And the midday hour rang;

Pilate said to the raging crowd,

“Here now behold your King.”


“We have no King but Caesar!”

At last the crowd prevailed.

So Pilate gave Jesus to them

To hang upon the nail.


“Away with him!  Away with him!

Crucify him!” they cried.

Finally Pilate conceded,

For he feared a riot.


Soldiers drove Jesus through the streets,

Dragging a heavy cross;

To Golgotha, the place of skulls,

The mount of miseries.


And there they crucified Jesus,

Hanging between two more;

Over him Pilate placed a sign,

That all who passed saw there:


“Jesus of Naz’reth, King of Jews,”

In Greek and in Hebrew:

Ev’ry one in Jerusalem

Saw the sign there, and knew.

Some people said, “Do not write this,

‘King of Jews.’  Instead, write,

‘I claimed to be King of the Jews,’

That is what this man said.”


But Pilate answered them, saying,

“Don’t bother me with this,

I’ve written just what I’ve written,

You know what the truth is.”


And when the nails were in the wood

And Jesus’ hung on high,

Some soldiers laid claim to his robe

And they all disagreed:


The tunic was without a seam

Woven in one cloth wide,

So instead of tearing it up

They let the dice decide:


And thus the scripture was fulfilled,

“They parted my garments;

And for my clothing they cast lots,”

Foretold by the prophets.


Soldiers stripped all his clothing off,

To cut and flay his skin.

And coming to weep by the cross

There approached three women:

There was Mary, Jesus’ mother,

Mary, wife of Clopas,

And also Mary Magdalene,

Who came in great anguish.


Jesus cried out to his mother,

Who was standing by John,

“Woman, now behold, here I am,

I am your only son.”


Then he turned and said to John,

“Henceforth you are her son,

And she has become your mother.”

And so John took her home.


Then Jesus, to fulfill the word,

Knowing his end was near,

Said, “I’m thirsty.” And they gave him

A sponge with vinegar,


Vinegar flavored with hyssop,

They held it to his lips;

And when Jesus had received this

Dry juice of bitter herbs,


He said to them, “It is finished,

Now I will drain the cup;”

His wounded head fell to his breast,

And gave his spirit up.

Then the people said to Pilate,

“These bodies, hanging here:

Let your soldiers break all their legs.

That way we can be sure;


For tomorrow is the Sabbath,

We must keep ourselves pure.

So let’s be sure they are all dead,

Then take them out of here.


So the soldiers did break the legs

Of the other two men;

Seeing Jesus dead already,

They wondered about him:


“Let’s not break the King’s legs,” they said,

“We’ll stick him with this spear.”

And when they thrust it in his side,

It spouted blood and water.


I, John, saw this with my own eyes,

So I bear this witness,

And I know that I speak the truth

And you should believe this.


For these two things I saw that day

Were prophesied before:

“Not a bone of him was broken;

They pierced him with a spear.”

Joseph of Arimathea,

(A secret disciple,)

Asked Pilate’s leave to take Jesus

Away, to a stone tomb.


He came there with Nicodemus,

Who had been born again,

They brought with them myrrh, and aloes,

About a hundred pounds.


They took the corpse and bound it up

In linen with the myrrh,

As was the custom in that place,

When corpses were prepared.


There in a garden, in the tomb,

They laid his lifeless flesh;

Where none had ever been buried,

Jesus came in to rest.






Now on the first day of the week

Mary Magdalene came;

And though it was still dark, she saw

Someone had moved the stone


That had been set to seal the tomb.

Back down the path she ran,

And came into the hiding place

Of Peter, and of John.


She said to them, “Jesus has been

Taken out of his tomb!

Where else could they have taken him?

Come out there with me!  Come!”


John and Peter came out with her,

And they ran toward the tomb;

And John, arriving first, stooped down

And saw the shrouds within,


But he would not go in the tomb.

Peter passed the tomb’s door,

And he saw the cloth and spices

Lying there on the floor,


The napkin laid on Jesus’ face

Was rolled up by itself,

And tucked away for safekeeping

There on a little shelf.


Then John came in, and when he saw,

Then he trusted himself;

He believed Jesus was not dead,

But had come back to life.

For neither of them believed yet

What the scripture had said,

That Jesus must go in the tomb,

Then rise up from the dead.


The two men went back home again,

While Mary stayed and wept,

But, glimpsing something in the tomb,

Dim through her tears, she stopped.


She saw two white angels inside;

The quiet angels sat

Where the corpse of Jesus had been,

At the head and the foot.


“Woman, why do you weep?” they asked,

Answering her bright stare.

“Because my Lord’s body is gone,

And I do not know where.”


As she said this, she turned around,

And there she saw Jesus,

And she did not know who he was,

Though he was very close.


“Who are you seeking?” Jesus asked,

 “And why are you weeping?”

But she thought he was the gardener

And so she said to him,

“If you have taken him somewhere,

Please tell me where he is.

I’ll take him to a better place.”

“Mary,” answered Jesus,


“Teacher!” she cried out in her joy,

Coming to embrace him,

But Jesus said, “Do not hold me,

For I have not yet gone


Up to heav’n where my Father is.

Now go to my brothers,

And tell them about all of this.”

And then he disappeared.


Mary went and said to them all,

“I have seen the ris’n Lord.”

She told them what he said to her

Repeating ev’ry word.


And on the ev’ning of that day,

The first day of the week,

Locking all their doors to keep safe,

Watchful, softly they spoke,


For they feared religious police.

Jesus appeared in the room.

“Peace be with you,” he said gently,

And showed his wounds to them. 

The disciples all cried aloud,

When Jesus came again,

Never before had such a joy

Come to women and men.


Jesus said to his foll’wers,

“May peace be with you all,

From this small room I send you forth,

As my Father has willed.”


When he had said these things to them,

He breathed on them, and said,

“Receive now my Holy Spirit

In heart and hand and head.


If you forgive these people’s sin,

May all their sinning end;

If you take their sins on yourselves,

May they not sin again.”


Now Thomas, who was called the Twin,

Was not there with them then,

But later when he came to them,

They said, “He lives again.”


Thomas said then, “Unless I see

On both his hands, the print

Of nail, and place my finger in

The hole made by the point,

And thrust my hand inside the wound

The spear made in his side,

I will not believe he still lives,

When he so surely died.”


Eight days later when they all came

Together, Thomas too.

The doors were shut; and Jesus came,

And he said, “Peace with you,”


And showed himself to Thomas, say’ng

“Put in your finger here,

See all these holes, and put your hand

Into my side, right there.


Do not be so faithless, Thomas,

But show some faith in me.”

“My Lord, my God,” said Thomas then,

To know this mystery.


Jesus said, “Now you may believe

Because you’ve seen these scars;

Blest are all those who have not seen, 

Yet have been believers.”










Jesus revealed many more signs

Not written on this page;

But what you hear, you may believe,

And tell from age to age:


One bright ev’ning, Simon Peter

And Thomas, called the Twin,

Nathan’el, who came from Cana,

And also James and John,


Were standing by the still water

Of the Tiber’an Sea.

“I’m going fishing,” Peter said,

And they said, “So are we.”


With two others the band sailed forth.

The sun began to set;

All through that night they caught nothing

Save water in their net.


Just as the new day was breaking

Jesus came down to the shore,

Yet they did not recognize Him

As He was standing there.


Across the water Jesus called,

“Catch any fish last night?”

“No,” they answered, then He told them,

“Cast your net on the right.”


So they cast it, and the fish came

And leapt into their nets,

And John turned to Peter and said,

“Our Lord is here with us.”


Peter was naked, holding a net;

He stood so he could see.

Quickly he took his clothes in hand,

And sprang into the sea.


He swam the hundred yards to shore,

They heard him heave and splash,

The others followed in their boats,

Dragging the net of fish.


When they had landed on the beach

They pulled the net up higher.

Fish were grilling;  and there was bread

Beside the charcoal fire.


Jesus said, “Bring some over here

From those fish you just caught.”

Peter climbed back in the boat,

And took some from the net.

One hundred fifty three big fish

Were in their net that dawn,

And though they had caught so many,

The net was still not torn. 


Jesus invited all of them,

“Come here and eat with me.”

They shrugged and stared, as if to say,

“Who can this stranger be?”


Yet none of them dared to ask him,

“Who are you?” for they knew.

Then Jesus broke and passed the bread;

So with the fishes too.


They knew that this time was the third,

As they ate of his bread,

That they would see the Holy Word

Returning from the dead.


Then Jesus, after their breakfast,

Said to his friend Peter,

“Simon, do you still love me more

Than these whose bread you share?”


Peter said to Him, “Yes, O Lord,

You know that I love you.”

Jesus answered him, “Feed my lambs,

This is what you must do.”

Then Jesus said a second time,

“Simon, son of John,

Do you still love me?  Is that why

You jumped and swam and ran?”


Peter said to him, “Yes, O Lord,

You know that I love you.”

Jesus answered, “Peter, tend my sheep

In all you say and do.”


Then Jesus asked him yet again

With his persistent Word:

“Tell me now, do you still love me?”

And this time was the third,


So Peter was grieved to hear it,

And answered, “Lord, you know

All things in heav’n and earth; O Lord,

You know that I love you.”


So Jesus said to Peter again,

“Feed my sheep, and your love

Will grow and multiply again

On earth and up above.


Listen now as I say to you:

When you were young, you could

Wear armor and defend yourself

And go where’er you would;

But when old age comes over you,

You will stretch out your hands;

Others will bind and carry you

To far, alien lands,


And you may not wish to go there,”

Jesus paused at this word,

For this was meant to tell Peter

That he would die for God.


After this Jesus said to him

Peter, now follow me.”

And Peter, turning then his head,

Saw John not far away.


Peter said to Jesus, “Lord,

Why aren’t you asking John?”

Jesus said, “Maybe he will come,

Maybe he will remain;


If he stays here till I return,

Then what is that to you?

Now follow me!” he said again;

And so Peter did follow.


The word then spread among the flock

That John was not to die.

But Jesus only meant for us

To wait here patiently.


For I, John, am belov’d of God,

I bear his witness too:

I have written what Jesus said,

And what you read is true.


Jesus did many wondrous things

I have not written here:

What these things mean may now be hid;

In time they will be clear.


Were ev’ry deed of Jesus known,

And all the scroll unfurled,

The world itself could not contain

What that one page would hold.