St John the Baptist “Angel of the Desert” (17th Century, Russian)
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18 So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
20 But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me thus?”
21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction,
23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory,
24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘my beloved.'”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”
27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved;
28 for the Lord will execute his sentence upon the earth with rigor and dispatch.”
29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us children, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.”
30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith;
31 but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law.
32 Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples
3 and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
6 And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind?
8 Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses.
9 Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.’
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John;
14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.
15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.