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This Week's Lectionary

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John 1:29-42

 

29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me. 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel. 32And John testified, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God. 35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, Look, here is the Lamb of God!

 

37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, What are you looking for? They said to him, Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are you staying? 39He said to them, Come and see. They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four oclock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peters brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, We have found the Messiah (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).

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1 Corinthians 1:10-18

 

10Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloes people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, I belong to Paul, or I belong to Apollos, or I belong to Cephas, or I belong to Christ. 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

 

14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

 

17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 

 

Note the mention of Chloe. Even at this early date Paul had women in leadership positions.

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Note the mention of Chloe. Even at this early date Paul had women in leadership positions.

 

What do you make of the apparent conflicting texts such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12 "11 Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

 

Some say Paul was the author and other scholars would say not. If not Paul, what do you think about the contradictions in the NT concerning whether women should be leaders or not?

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What do you make of the apparent conflicting texts such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12 "11 Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

 

Some say Paul was the author and other scholars would say not. If not Paul, what do you think about the contradictions in the NT concerning whether women should be leaders or not?

Good question. Two big observations pointing to 1Timothy not being written by Paul. One is the fact that there is a hierarchical church in place which gives it a later dating, and the second is that the vocabulary and style is very different from the undisputed Pauline writings.

 

Still we have a mixed congregation and not a sexually segregated one as with Judaism at that time, but the original ethos of sexual equality was indeed being replaced by male dominance. An improvement but backsliding a bit.

 

Jewish women were not only forbidden in mixed worship, but were uneducated. In 1 Cor 33 Paul has women disrupting worship with dumb questions. He instructs the men to teach their wives at home (take that question offline) which was a progressive attitude at the time. I see an echo of this immediately preceeding the section of 1 Timothy when the author needs to tell the women to stop dressing immodestly, so it seems the men in Timothy's church were not teaching their wives as they should.

Edited by Burl
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Micah 6:1-8

 

6Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel.

 

3O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.

 

6With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

 

8He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 

<<

 

 

>>Note: 6:8 is such a succinct statement of what God requires of us.

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Matthew 5:13-20

 

13You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

 

17Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

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Matthew 5:21-37

 

21You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, You shall not murder; and whoever murders shall be liable to judgment. 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, You fool, you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

 

27You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. 31It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. 32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

 

33Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord. 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be Yes, Yes or No, No; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

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Matthew 5:38-48 The Message (MSG)

 

Love Your Enemies

38-42 Heres another old saying that deserves a second look: Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Is that going to get us anywhere? Heres what I propose: Dont hit back at all. If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

43-47 Youre familiar with the old written law, Love your friend, and its unwritten companion, Hate your enemy. Im challenging that. Im telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his bestthe sun to warm and the rain to nourishto everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

 

48 In a word, what Im saying is, Grow up. Youre kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

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Matthew 17:1-9 The Message (MSG)

 

Sunlight Poured from His Face

17 1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

 

4 Peter broke in, Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountainone for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?

 

5 While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.

 

6-8 When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. Dont be afraid. When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.

 

9 Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. Dont breathe a word of what youve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.

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First week of Lent

 

Matthew 4:1-11 The Message (MSG)

 

The Test

 

4 1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: Since you are Gods Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.

 

4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from Gods mouth.

 

5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, Since you are Gods Son, jump. The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you wont so much as stub your toe on a stone.

 

7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: Dont you dare test the Lord your God.

 

8-9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earths kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, Theyre yourslock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and theyre yours.

 

10 Jesus refusal was curt: Beat it, Satan! He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.

 

11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus needs.

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Romans 5:12-21The Message (MSG)

 

The Death-Dealing Sin, the Life-Giving Gift

12-14 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma were infirst sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didnt sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.

 

15-17 Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one mans sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what Gods gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! Theres no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one mans wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

 

18-19 Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

 

20-21 All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didnt, and doesnt, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When its sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and thats the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into lifea life that goes on and on and on, world without end.

Edited by Burl
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John 4:5-42The Message (MSG)

 

4-6 To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacobs well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.

 

7-8 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, Would you give me a drink of water? (His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)

 

9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink? (Jews in those days wouldnt be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)

 

10 Jesus answered, If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.

 

11-12 The woman said, Sir, you dont even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this living water? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?

 

13-14 Jesus said, Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirstnot ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.

 

15 The woman said, Sir, give me this water so I wont ever get thirsty, wont ever have to come back to this well again!

 

16 He said, Go call your husband and then come back.

 

17-18 I have no husband, she said.

 

Thats nicely put: I have no husband. Youve had five husbands, and the man youre living with now isnt even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.

 

19-20 Oh, so youre a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?

 

21-23 Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. Gods way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is comingit has, in fact, comewhen what youre called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

 

23-24 Its who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. Thats the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itselfSpirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.

 

25 The woman said, I dont know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, well get the whole story.

 

26 I am he, said Jesus. You dont have to wait any longer or look any further.

 

27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldnt believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.

 

28-30 The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah? And they went out to see for themselves.

 

Its Harvest Time

31 In the meantime, the disciples pressed him, Rabbi, eat. Arent you going to eat?

 

32 He told them, I have food to eat you know nothing about.

 

33 The disciples were puzzled. Who could have brought him food?

 

34-35 Jesus said, The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldnt you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, Im telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at whats right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. Its harvest time!

 

36-38 The Harvester isnt waiting. Hes taking his pay, gathering in this grain thats ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. Thats the truth of the saying, This one sows, that one harvests. I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.

 

39-42 Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the womans witness: He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out! They asked him to stay on, so Jesus stayed two days. A lot more people entrusted their lives to him when they heard what he had to say. They said to the woman, Were no longer taking this on your say-so. Weve heard it for ourselves and know it for sure. Hes the Savior of the world!

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John 9The Message (MSG)

 

True Blindness

9 1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?

 

3-5 Jesus said, Youre asking the wrong question. Youre looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the worlds Light.

 

6-7 He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind mans eyes, and said, Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam (Siloam means Sent). The man went and washedand saw.

 

8 Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, Why, isnt this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?

 

9 Others said, Its him all right!

 

But others objected, Its not the same man at all. It just looks like him.

 

He said, Its me, the very one.

 

10 They said, How did your eyes get opened?

 

11 A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, Go to Siloam and wash. I did what he said. When I washed, I saw.

 

12 So where is he?

 

I dont know.

 

13-15 They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.

 

16 Some of the Pharisees said, Obviously, this man cant be from God. He doesnt keep the Sabbath.

 

Others countered, How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this? There was a split in their ranks.

 

17 They came back at the blind man, Youre the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?

 

He said, He is a prophet.

 

18-19 The Jews didnt believe it, didnt believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight. They asked them, Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?

 

20-23 His parents said, We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we dont know how he came to seehavent a clue about who opened his eyes. Why dont you ask him? Hes a grown man and can speak for himself. (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. Thats why his parents said, Ask him. Hes a grown man.)

 

24 They called the man back a second timethe man who had been blindand told him, Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor.

 

25 He replied, I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see.

 

26 They said, What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?

 

27 Ive told you over and over and you havent listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?

 

28-29 With that they jumped all over him. You might be a disciple of that man, but were disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from.

 

30-33 The man replied, This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! Its well known that God isnt at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard ofever. If this man didnt come from God, he wouldnt be able to do anything.

 

34 They said, Youre nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us! Then they threw him out in the street.

 

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, Do you believe in the Son of Man?

 

36 The man said, Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.

 

37 Jesus said, Youre looking right at him. Dont you recognize my voice?

 

38 Master, I believe, the man said, and worshiped him.

 

39 Jesus then said, I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.

 

40 Some Pharisees overheard him and said, Does that mean youre calling us blind?

 

41 Jesus said, If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, youre accountable for every fault and failure.

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John 11:1-48 The Message (MSG)

 

The Death of Lazarus

11 1-3 A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lords feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Master, the one you love so very much is sick.

 

4 When Jesus got the message, he said, This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show Gods glory by glorifying Gods Son.

 

5-7 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, Lets go back to Judea.

 

8 They said, Rabbi, you cant do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and youre going back?

 

9-10 Jesus replied, Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesnt stumble because theres plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he cant see where hes going.

 

11 He said these things, and then announced, Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. Im going to wake him up.

 

12-13 The disciples said, Master, if hes gone to sleep, hell get a good rest and wake up feeling fine. Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.

 

14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasnt there. Youre about to be given new grounds for believing. Now lets go to him.

 

16 Thats when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, Come along. We might as well die with him.

 

17-20 When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.

 

21-22 Martha said, Master, if youd been here, my brother wouldnt have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.

 

23 Jesus said, Your brother will be raised up.

 

24 Martha replied, I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.

 

25-26 You dont have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?

 

27 Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world.

 

28 After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, The Teacher is here and is asking for you.

 

29-32 The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.

 

33-34 When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, Where did you put him?

 

34-35 Master, come and see, they said. Now Jesus wept.

 

36 The Jews said, Look how deeply he loved him.

 

37 Others among them said, Well, if he loved him so much, why didnt he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man.

 

38-39 Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, Remove the stone.

 

The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, Master, by this time theres a stench. Hes been dead four days!

 

40 Jesus looked her in the eye. Didnt I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?

 

41-42 Then, to the others, Go ahead, take away the stone.

 

They removed the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, Father, Im grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here Ive spoken so that they might believe that you sent me.

 

43-44 Then he shouted, Lazarus, come out! And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.

 

Jesus told them, Unwrap him and let him loose.

 

The Man Who Creates God-Signs

45-48 That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. What do we do now? they asked. This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.

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Matthew 21:1-11 The Message (MSG)

 

The Royal Welcome

21 1-3 When they neared Jerusalem, having arrived at Bethphage on Mount Olives, Jesus sent two disciples with these instructions: Go over to the village across from you. Youll find a donkey tethered there, her colt with her. Untie her and bring them to me. If anyone asks what youre doing, say, The Master needs them! He will send them with you.

 

4-5 This is the full story of what was sketched earlier by the prophet:

 

Tell Zions daughter,

Look, your kings on his way,

poised and ready, mounted

On a donkey, on a colt,

foal of a pack animal.

6-9 The disciples went and did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted. Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome. Others cut branches from the trees and threw them down as a welcome mat. Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, Hosanna to Davids son! Blessed is he who comes in Gods name! Hosanna in highest heaven!

 

10 As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, Whats going on here? Who is this?

 

11 The parade crowd answered, This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee.

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Matthew 28:1-10 The Message (MSG)

 

Risen from the Dead

28 1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as Gods angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldnt move.

 

5-6 The angel spoke to the women: There is nothing to fear here. I know youre looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.

 

7 Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Thats the message.

 

8-10 The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. Good morning! he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, Youre holding on to me for dear life! Dont be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that Ill meet them there.

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John 20:19-31 The Message (MSG)

 

To Believe

19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, Peace to you. Then he showed them his hands and side.

 

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.

 

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. Receive the Holy Spirit, he said. If you forgive someones sins, theyre gone for good. If you dont forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?

 

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, We saw the Master.

 

But he said, Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I wont believe it.

 

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, Peace to you.

 

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Dont be unbelieving. Believe.

 

28 Thomas said, My Master! My God!

 

29 Jesus said, So, you believe because youve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.

 

30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

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Luke 24:13-49 The Message (MSG)

 

The Road to Emmaus

13-16 That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.

 

17-18 He asked, Whats this youre discussing so intently as you walk along?

 

They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasnt heard whats happened during the last few days?

 

19-24 He said, What has happened?

 

They said, The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldnt find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didnt see Jesus.

 

25-27 Then he said to them, So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why cant you simply believe all that the prophets said? Dont you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory? Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

 

28-31 They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: Stay and have supper with us. Its nearly evening; the day is done. So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.

 

32 Back and forth they talked. Didnt we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?

 

A Ghost Doesnt Have Muscle and Bone

33-34 They didnt waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: Its really happened! The Master has been raised upSimon saw him!

 

35 Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.

 

36-41 While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, Peace be with you. They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, Dont be upset, and dont let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feetits really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesnt have muscle and bone like this. As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldnt believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.

 

41-43 He asked, Do you have any food here? They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.

 

Youre the Witnesses

44 Then he said, Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.

 

45-49 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nationsstarting from here, from Jerusalem! Youre the first to hear and see it. Youre the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until youre equipped with power from on high.

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John 10:1-10The Message (MSG)

 

He Calls His Sheep by Name

10 1-5 Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know hes up to no gooda sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They wont follow a strangers voice but will scatter because they arent used to the sound of it.

 

6-10 Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. Ill be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no goodsheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didnt listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared forwill freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

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May 14, 2017

 

John 14:1-14 The Message (MSG)

 

The Road

14 1-4 Dont let this throw you. You trust God, dont you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Fathers home. If that werent so, would I have told you that Im on my way to get a room ready for you? And if Im on my way to get your room ready, Ill come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road Im taking.

 

5 Thomas said, Master, we have no idea where youre going. How do you expect us to know the road?

 

6-7 Jesus said, I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. Youve even seen him!

 

8 Philip said, Master, show us the Father; then well be content.

 

9-10 Youve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still dont understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, Where is the Father? Dont you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you arent mere words. I dont just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.

 

11-14 Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you cant believe that, believe what you seethese works. The person who trusts me will not only do what Im doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that Ive been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, Ill do it. Thats how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, Ill do.

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May 21, 2017

 

John 14:15-21 The Message (MSG)

 

The Spirit of Truth

15-17 If you love me, show it by doing what Ive told you. I will talk to the Father, and hell provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world cant take him in because it doesnt have eyes to see him, doesnt know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

 

18-20 I will not leave you orphaned. Im coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but youre going to see me because I am alive and youre about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that Im in my Father, and youre in me, and Im in you.

 

21 The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, thats who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.

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May 28, 2017

 

John 17:1-12 The Message (MSG)

 

Jesus Prayer for His Followers

17 1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:

 

Father, its time.

Display the bright splendor of your Son

So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.

You put him in charge of everything human

So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.

And this is the real and eternal life:

That they know you,

The one and only true God,

And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.

I glorified you on earth

By completing down to the last detail

What you assigned me to do.

And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,

The very splendor I had in your presence

Before there was a world.

6-12 I spelled out your character in detail

To the men and women you gave me.

They were yours in the first place;

Then you gave them to me,

And they have now done what you said.

They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,

That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,

For the message you gave me, I gave them;

And they took it, and were convinced

That I came from you.

They believed that you sent me.

I pray for them.

Im not praying for the God-rejecting world

But for those you gave me,

For they are yours by right.

Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,

And my life is on display in them.

For Im no longer going to be visible in the world;

Theyll continue in the world

While I return to you.

Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life

That you conferred as a gift through me,

So they can be one heart and mind

As we are one heart and mind.

As long as I was with them, I guarded them

In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;

I even posted a night watch.

And not one of them got away,

Except for the rebel bent on destruction

(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

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June 4, 2017

 

John 20:19-31The Message (MSG)

To Believe

19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

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June 11, 2017

Matthew 28:16-20  The Message (MSG)

16-17 Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

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June 18, 2017

Matthew 7:21-29

21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

28-29 When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

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