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Featured Events

May
7
Sat
10a St. Paul Community Garden Planting Day @ St Paul Lutheran Church
St. Paul Community Garden Planting Day @ St Paul Lutheran Church
May 7 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Complete the planting of the garden. Help give root to tomatoes, peppers, and other warm-weather plants. The rain/cold date is Saturday, May 14. The vegetables and herbs grown in the garden are donate...
May
7
Sat
10a Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking @ 1651 W 17th St
Habitat for Humanity groundbreaking @ 1651 W 17th St
May 7 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
The groundbreaking for the home that St. Paul people will help build this summer will be Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. The address is 1651 W. 17th St., Davenport. The home of Ahlonko Kokou and Afi Amewo...
May
8
Sun
10:45a 12th Grade Milestone @ St Paul Lutheran Church
12th Grade Milestone @ St Paul Lutheran Church
May 8 @ 10:45 am – 11:30 am
Twelve Grade | Baccalaureate Breakfast: Parents and their graduating senior gather for breakfast and conversation about the future. Students are sent off with a blessing during worship.
May
13
Fri
6p Men's retreat at Camp Shalom @ Camp Shalom
Men's retreat at Camp Shalom @ Camp Shalom
May 13 @ 6:00 pm – 10:30 am
A “Men’s Night of Renewal” will be held on Friday, May 13-Saturday, May 14 at Camp Shalom near Maquoketa, Iowa. The gates will open at 6 p.m., with the event beginning at 7 p.m. Light snacks will be p...
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Jeremiah 31:7-14

7Oh yes, God says so:

"Shout for joy at the top of your lungs for Jacob!

Announce the good news to the number-one nation!

Raise cheers! Sing praises. Say,

'God has saved his people,

saved the core of Israel.'

8"Watch what comes next: "I'll bring my people back

from the north country

And gather them up from the ends of the earth,

gather those who've gone blind

And those who are lame and limping,

gather pregnant women,

Even the mothers whose birth pangs have started,

bring them all back, a huge crowd!

9"Watch them come! They'll come weeping for joy

as I take their hands and lead them,

Lead them to fresh flowing brooks,

lead them along smooth, uncluttered paths.

Yes, it's because I'm Israel's Father

and Ephraim's my firstborn son!

10-14"Hear this, nations! God's Message!

Broadcast this all over the world!

Tell them, 'The One who scattered Israel

will gather them together again.

From now on he'll keep a careful eye on them,

like a shepherd with his flock.'

I, God, will pay a stiff ransom price for Jacob;

I'll free him from the grip of the Babylonian bully.

The people will climb up Zion's slopes shouting with joy,

their faces beaming because of God's bounty—

Grain and wine and oil,

flocks of sheep, herds of cattle.

Their lives will be like a well-watered garden,

never again left to dry up.

Young women will dance and be happy,

young men and old men will join in.

I'll convert their weeping into laughter,

lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.

I'll make sure that their priests get three square meals a day

and that my people have more than enough.'" God's Decree.

Psalm 147:12-20

12-18Jerusalem, worship God!

Zion, praise your God!

He made your city secure,

he blessed your children among you.

He keeps the peace at your borders,

he puts the best bread on your tables.

He launches his promises earthward—

how swift and sure they come!

He spreads snow like a white fleece,

he scatters frost like ashes,

He broadcasts hail like birdseed—

who can survive his winter?

Then he gives the command and it all melts;

he breathes on winter—suddenly it's spring!

19-20He speaks the same way to Jacob,

speaks words that work to Israel.

He never did this to the other nations;

they never heard such commands.

Hallelujah!

Ephesians 1:3-14

The God of Glory

3-6How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

7-10Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

11-12It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

13-14It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

John 1:[1-9] 10-18

The Life-Light

1-2The Word was first,

the Word present to God,

God present to the Word.

The Word was God,

in readiness for God from day one.

3-5Everything was created through him;

nothing—not one thing!—

came into being without him.

What came into existence was Life,

and the Life was Light to live by.

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;

the darkness couldn't put it out.

6-8There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

9-13The Life-Light was the real thing:

Every person entering Life

he brings into Light.

He was in the world,

the world was there through him,

and yet the world didn't even notice.

He came to his own people,

but they didn't want him.

But whoever did want him,

who believed he was who he claimed

and would do what he said,

He made to be their true selves,

their child-of-God selves.

These are the God-begotten,

not blood-begotten,

not flesh-begotten,

not sex-begotten.

Isaiah 43:1-7

When You're Between a Rock and a Hard Place

1-4But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,

the One who got you started, Israel:

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.

I've called your name. You're mine.

When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.

When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.

When you're between a rock and a hard place,

it won't be a dead end—

Because I am God, your personal God,

The Holy of Israel, your Savior.

I paid a huge price for you:

all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!

That's how much you mean to me!

That's how much I love you!

I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,

trade the creation just for you.

5-7"So don't be afraid: I'm with you.

I'll round up all your scattered children,

pull them in from east and west.

I'll send orders north and south:

'Send them back.

Return my sons from distant lands,

my daughters from faraway places.

I want them back, every last one who bears my name,

every man, woman, and child

Whom I created for my glory,

yes, personally formed and made each one.'"

Psalm 29 (3)

A David Psalm

1-2Bravo, God, bravo! Gods and all angels shout, "Encore!"

In awe before the glory,

in awe before God's visible power.

Stand at attention!

Dress your best to honor him!

3God thunders across the waters,

Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—

God, across the flood waters.

4God's thunder tympanic,

God's thunder symphonic.

5God's thunder smashes cedars,

God topples the northern cedars.

6The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,

The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

7-8God's thunder spits fire.

God thunders, the wilderness quakes;

He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.

9God's thunder sets the oak trees dancing

A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.

We fall to our knees—we call out, "Glory!"

10Above the floodwaters is God's throne

from which his power flows,

from which he rules the world.

11God makes his people strong.

God gives his people peace.

Acts 8:14-17

14-17When the apostles in Jerusalem received the report that Samaria had accepted God's Message, they sent Peter and John down to pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Up to this point they had only been baptized in the name of the Master Jesus; the Holy Spirit hadn't yet fallen on them. Then the apostles laid their hands on them and they did receive the Holy Spirit.

Luke 3:15-17; 21-22

15The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, "Could this John be the Messiah?"

16-17But John intervened: "I'm baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He's going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He'll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he'll put out with the trash to be burned."

Isaiah 62:1-5

Look, Your Savior Comes!

1-5Regarding Zion, I can't keep my mouth shut, regarding Jerusalem, I can't hold my tongue,

Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun

and her salvation flames up like a torch.

Foreign countries will see your righteousness,

and world leaders your glory.

You'll get a brand-new name

straight from the mouth of God.

You'll be a stunning crown in the palm of God's hand,

a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.

No more will anyone call you Rejected,

and your country will no more be called Ruined.

You'll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),

and your land Beulah (Married),

Because God delights in you

and your land will be like a wedding celebration.

For as a young man marries his virgin bride,

so your builder marries you,

And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,

so your God is happy with you.

Psalm 36:5-10

5-6God's love is meteoric,

his loyalty astronomic,

His purpose titanic,

his verdicts oceanic.

Yet in his largeness

nothing gets lost;

Not a man, not a mouse,

slips through the cracks.

7-9How exquisite your love, O God!

How eager we are to run under your wings,

To eat our fill at the banquet you spread

as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.

You're a fountain of cascading light,

and you open our eyes to light.

10-12Keep on loving your friends;

do your work in welcoming hearts.

Don't let the bullies kick me around,

the moral midgets slap me down.

Send the upstarts sprawling

flat on their faces in the mud.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Spiritual Gifts

1-3What I want to talk about now is the various ways God's Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often mis-understood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn't know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It's different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say "Jesus be damned!" Nor would anyone be inclined to say "Jesus is Master!" without the insight of the Holy Spirit.

4-11God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel

clear understanding

simple trust

healing the sick

miraculous acts

proclamation

distinguishing between spirits

tongues

interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

John 2:1-11

From Water to Wine

1-3Three days later there was a wedding in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were guests also. When they started running low on wine at the wedding banquet, Jesus' mother told him, "They're just about out of wine."

4Jesus said, "Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn't my time. Don't push me."

5She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, "Whatever he tells you, do it."

6-7Six stoneware water pots were there, used by the Jews for ritual washings. Each held twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus ordered the servants, "Fill the pots with water." And they filled them to the brim.

8"Now fill your pitchers and take them to the host," Jesus said, and they did.

9-10When the host tasted the water that had become wine (he didn't know what had just happened but the servants, of course, knew), he called out to the bridegroom, "Everybody I know begins with their finest wines and after the guests have had their fill brings in the cheap stuff. But you've saved the best till now!"

11This act in Cana of Galilee was the first sign Jesus gave, the first glimpse of his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Ezra and The Revelation

1By the time the seventh month arrived, the People of Israel were settled in their towns. Then all the people gathered as one person in the town square in front of the Water Gate and asked the scholar Ezra to bring the Book of The Revelation of Moses that God had commanded for Israel.

2-3So Ezra the priest brought The Revelation to the congregation, which was made up of both men and women—everyone capable of understanding. It was the first day of the seventh month. He read it facing the town square at the Water Gate from early dawn until noon in the hearing of the men and women, all who could understand it. And all the people listened—they were all ears—to the Book of The Revelation.

Psalm 19

A David Psalm

1-2God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.

Madame Day holds classes every morning,

Professor Night lectures each evening.

3-4Their words aren't heard,

their voices aren't recorded,

But their silence fills the earth:

unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

4-5God makes a huge dome

for the sun—a superdome!

The morning sun's a new husband

leaping from his honeymoon bed,

The daybreaking sun an athlete

racing to the tape.

6That's how God's Word vaults across the skies

from sunrise to sunset,

Melting ice, scorching deserts,

warming hearts to faith.

7-9The revelation of God is whole

and pulls our lives together.

The signposts of God are clear

and point out the right road.

The life-maps of God are right,

showing the way to joy.

The directions of God are plain

and easy on the eyes.

God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,

with a lifetime guarantee.

The decisions of God are accurate

down to the nth degree.

10God's Word is better than a diamond,

better than a diamond set between emeralds.

You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,

better than red, ripe strawberries.

11-14There's more: God's Word warns us of danger

and directs us to hidden treasure.

Otherwise how will we find our way?

Or know when we play the fool?

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!

Keep me from stupid sins,

from thinking I can take over your work;

Then I can start this day sun-washed,

scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

These are the words in my mouth;

these are what I chew on and pray.

Accept them when I place them

on the morning altar,

O God, my Altar-Rock,

God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

12-13You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.

14-18I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.

19-24But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

25-26The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

27-31You are Christ's body—that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. You're familiar with some of the parts that God has formed in his church, which is his "body":

apostles

prophets

teachers

miracle workers

healers

helpers

organizers

those who pray in tongues.

But it's obvious by now, isn't it, that Christ's church is a complete Body and not a gigantic, unidimensional Part? It's not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called "important" parts.

But now I want to lay out a far better way for you.

Luke 4:14-21

To Set the Burdened Free

14-15Jesus returned to Galilee powerful in the Spirit. News that he was back spread through the countryside. He taught in their meeting places to everyone's acclaim and pleasure.

16-21He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God's Spirit is on me;

he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to

the poor,

Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and

recovery of sight to the blind,

To set the burdened and battered free,

to announce, "This is God's year to act!"

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Demolish, and Then Start Over

1-4The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin. God's Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amos reigned over Judah. It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile. This is what God said:

5"Before I shaped you in the womb,

I knew all about you.

Before you saw the light of day,

I had holy plans for you:

A prophet to the nations—

that's what I had in mind for you."

6But I said, "Hold it, Master God! Look at me.

I don't know anything. I'm only a boy!"

7-8God told me, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.'

I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there.

I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it.

Don't be afraid of a soul.

I'll be right there, looking after you."

God's Decree.

9-10God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,

"Look! I've just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!

See what I've done? I've given you a job to do

among nations and governments—a red-letter day!

Your job is to pull up and tear down,

take apart and demolish,

And then start over,

building and planting."

Psalm 71:1-6

1-3I run for dear life to God, I'll never live to regret it.

Do what you do so well:

get me out of this mess and up on my feet.

Put your ear to the ground and listen,

give me space for salvation.

Be a guest room where I can retreat;

you said your door was always open!

You're my salvation—my vast, granite fortress.

4-7My God, free me from the grip of Wicked,

from the clutch of Bad and Bully.

You keep me going when times are tough—

my bedrock, God, since my childhood.

I've hung on you from the day of my birth,

the day you took me from the cradle;

I'll never run out of praise.

Many gasp in alarm when they see me,

but you take me in stride.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

The Way of Love

1If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.

Love doesn't strut,

Doesn't have a swelled head,

Doesn't force itself on others,

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle,

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Luke 4:21-30

16-21He came to Nazareth where he had been reared. As he always did on the Sabbath, he went to the meeting place. When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written,

God's Spirit is on me;

he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to

the poor,

Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and

recovery of sight to the blind,

To set the burdened and battered free,

to announce, "This is God's year to act!"

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."

22All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, "Isn't this Joseph's son, the one we've known since he was a youngster?"

23-27He answered, "I suppose you're going to quote the proverb, 'Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.' Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn't it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent was in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian."

28-30That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way.

Exodus 34:29-35

29-30When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, he didn't know that the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God. Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, saw his radiant face, and held back, afraid to get close to him.

31-32Moses called out to them. Aaron and the leaders in the community came back and Moses talked with them. Later all the Israelites came up to him and he passed on the commands, everything that God had told him on Mount Sinai.

33-35When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face, but when he went into the presence of God to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. When he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they would see Moses' face, its skin glowing, and then he would again put the veil on his face until he went back in to speak with God.

Psalm 99 (9)

1-3God rules. On your toes, everybody! He rules from his angel throne—take notice!

God looms majestic in Zion,

He towers in splendor over all the big names.

Great and terrible your beauty: let everyone praise you!

Holy. Yes, holy.

4-5Strong King, lover of justice,

You laid things out fair and square;

You set down the foundations in Jacob,

Foundation stones of just and right ways.

Honor God, our God; worship his rule!

Holy. Yes, holy.

6-9Moses and Aaron were his priests,

Samuel among those who prayed to him.

They prayed to God and he answered them;

He spoke from the pillar of cloud.

And they did what he said; they kept the law he gave them.

And then God, our God, answered them

(But you were never soft on their sins).

Lift high God, our God; worship at his holy mountain.

Holy. Yes, holy is God our God.

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

12-15With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn't notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn't notice. They didn't notice it then and they don't notice it now, don't notice that there's nothing left behind that veil. Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can't see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there's nothing there.

16-18Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

Trial and Torture

1-2Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we're not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.

Luke 9:28-36

Jesus in His Glory

28-31About eight days after saying this, he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made! They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.

32-33Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He blurted this out without thinking.

34-35While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: "This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him."

36When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

1-5Once you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance and take it over and settle down, you are to take some of all the firstfruits of what you grow in the land that God, your God, is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place God, your God, sets apart for you to worship him. At that time, go to the priest who is there and say, "I announce to God, your God, today that I have entered the land that God promised our ancestors that he'd give to us." The priest will take the basket from you and place it on the Altar of God, your God. And there in the Presence of God, your God, you will recite:

5-10A wandering Aramean was my father,

he went down to Egypt and sojourned there,

he and just a handful of his brothers at first, but soon

they became a great nation, mighty and many.

The Egyptians abused and battered us,

in a cruel and savage slavery.

We cried out to God, the God-of-Our-Fathers:

He listened to our voice, he saw

our destitution, our trouble, our cruel plight.

And God took us out of Egypt

with his strong hand and long arm, terrible and great,

with signs and miracle-wonders.

And he brought us to this place,

gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.

So here I am. I've brought the firstfruits

of what I've grown on this ground you gave me, O God.

10-11Then place it in the Presence of God, your God. Prostrate yourselves in the Presence of God, your God. And rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 (11)

1-13You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,

Say this: "God, you're my refuge.

I trust in you and I'm safe!"

That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,

shields you from deadly hazards.

His huge outstretched arms protect you—

under them you're perfectly safe;

his arms fend off all harm.

Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,

not flying arrows in the day,

Not disease that prowls through the darkness,

not disaster that erupts at high noon.

Even though others succumb all around,

drop like flies right and left,

no harm will even graze you.

You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,

watch the wicked turn into corpses.

Yes, because God's your refuge,

the High God your very own home,

Evil can't get close to you,

harm can't get through the door.

He ordered his angels

to guard you wherever you go.

If you stumble, they'll catch you;

their job is to keep you from falling.

You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,

and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

Romans 10:8b-13

4-10The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it's not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story— no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying?

The word that saves is right here,

as near as the tongue in your mouth,

as close as the heart in your chest.

It's the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—"Jesus is my Master"—embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"

11-13Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it." It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help."

Luke 4:1-13

Tested by the Devil

1-2Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry.

3The Devil, playing on his hunger, gave the first test: "Since you're God's Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread."

4Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: "It takes more than bread to really live."

5-7For the second test he led him up and spread out all the kingdoms of the earth on display at once. Then the Devil said, "They're yours in all their splendor to serve your pleasure. I'm in charge of them all and can turn them over to whomever I wish. Worship me and they're yours, the whole works."

8Jesus refused, again backing his refusal with Deuteronomy: "Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness."

9-11For the third test the Devil took him to Jerusalem and put him on top of the Temple. He said, "If you are God's Son, jump. It's written, isn't it, that 'he has placed you in the care of angels to protect you; they will catch you; you won't so much as stub your toe on a stone'?"

12"Yes," said Jesus, "and it's also written, 'Don't you dare tempt the Lord your God.'"

13That completed the testing. The Devil retreated temporarily, lying in wait for another opportunity.

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

1After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: "Don't be afraid, Abram. I'm your shield. Your reward will be grand!"

2-3Abram said, "God, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I'm childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?" Abram continued, "See, you've given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all."

4Then God's Message came: "Don't worry, he won't be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir."

5Then he took him outside and said, "Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You're going to have a big family, Abram!"

6And he believed! Believed God! God declared him "Set-Right-with-God."

7God continued, "I'm the same God who brought you from Ur of the Chaldees and gave you this land to own."

8Abram said, "Master God, how am I to know this, that it will all be mine?"

9God said, "Bring me a heifer, a goat, and a ram, each three years old, and a dove and a young pigeon."

10-12He brought all these animals to him, split them down the middle, and laid the halves opposite each other. But he didn't split the birds. Vultures swooped down on the carcasses, but Abram scared them off. As the sun went down a deep sleep overcame Abram and then a sense of dread, dark and heavy.

Psalm 27 (5)

A David Psalm

1Light, space, zest— that's God!

So, with him on my side I'm fearless,

afraid of no one and nothing.

2When vandal hordes ride down

ready to eat me alive,

Those bullies and toughs

fall flat on their faces.

3When besieged,

I'm calm as a baby.

When all hell breaks loose,

I'm collected and cool.

4I'm asking God for one thing,

only one thing:

To live with him in his house

my whole life long.

I'll contemplate his beauty;

I'll study at his feet.

5That's the only quiet, secure place

in a noisy world,

The perfect getaway,

far from the buzz of traffic.

6God holds me head and shoulders

above all who try to pull me down.

I'm headed for his place to offer anthems

that will raise the roof!

Already I'm singing God-songs;

I'm making music to God.

7-9Listen, God, I'm calling at the top of my lungs:

"Be good to me! Answer me!"

When my heart whispered, "Seek God,"

my whole being replied,

"I'm seeking him!"

Don't hide from me now!

9-10You've always been right there for me;

don't turn your back on me now.

Don't throw me out, don't abandon me;

you've always kept the door open.

My father and mother walked out and left me,

but God took me in.

11-12Point me down your highway, God;

direct me along a well-lighted street;

show my enemies whose side you're on.

Don't throw me to the dogs,

those liars who are out to get me,

filling the air with their threats.

13-14I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness

in the exuberant earth.

Stay with God!

Take heart. Don't quit.

I'll say it again:

Stay with God.

Philippians 3:17-4:1

17-19Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

20-21But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

1My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don't waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Luke 13:31-35

31Just then some Pharisees came up and said, "Run for your life! Herod's on the hunt. He's out to kill you!"

32-35Jesus said, "Tell that fox that I've no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I'm busy clearing out the demons and healing the sick; the third day I'm wrapping things up. Besides, it's not proper for a prophet to come to a bad end outside Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killer of prophets,

abuser of the messengers of God!

How often I've longed to gather your children,

gather your children like a hen,

Her brood safe under her wings—

but you refused and turned away!

And now it's too late: You won't see me again

until the day you say,

'Blessed is he

who comes in

the name of God.'"

Isaiah 55:1-9

Buy Without Money

1-5"Hey there! All who are thirsty,

come to the water!

Are you penniless?

Come anyway—buy and eat!

Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.

Buy without money—everything's free!

Why do you spend your money on junk food,

your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?

Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,

fill yourself with only the finest.

Pay attention, come close now,

listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.

I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you,

the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.

I set him up as a witness to the nations,

made him a prince and leader of the nations,

And now I'm doing it to you:

You'll summon nations you've never heard of,

and nations who've never heard of you

will come running to you

Because of me, your God,

because The Holy of Israel has honored you."

6-7Seek God while he's here to be found,

pray to him while he's close at hand.

Let the wicked abandon their way of life

and the evil their way of thinking.

Let them come back to God, who is merciful,

come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

8-11"I don't think the way you think.

The way you work isn't the way I work."

God's Decree.

"For as the sky soars high above earth,

so the way I work surpasses the way you work,

and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies

and don't go back until they've watered the earth,

Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,

producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,

So will the words that come out of my mouth

not come back empty-handed.

They'll do the work I sent them to do,

they'll complete the assignment I gave them.

Psalm 63:1-8 (1)

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

1-5Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God's fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God's wonder and grace didn't seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.

6-10The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—"First the people partied, then they threw a dance." We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.

11-12These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence.

13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

Luke 13:1-9

Unless You Turn to God

1-5About that time some people came up and told him about the Galileans Pilate had killed while they were at worship, mixing their blood with the blood of the sacrifices on the altar. Jesus responded, "Do you think those murdered Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die. And those eighteen in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse citizens than all other Jerusalemites? Not at all. Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die."

6-7Then he told them a story: "A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren't any. He said to his gardener, 'What's going on here? For three years now I've come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?'

8-9"The gardener said, 'Let's give it another year. I'll dig around it and fertilize, and maybe it will produce next year; if it doesn't, then chop it down.'"

Joshua 5:9-12

9Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.

10While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho.11On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.12The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.

Psalm 32

1How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered!

2How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,

And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

3When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away

Through my groaning all day long.

4For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;

My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.

Selah.

5I acknowledged my sin to You,

And my iniquity I did not hide;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;

And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Selah.

6Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;

Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.

7You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;

You surround me with songs of deliverance.

Selah.

8I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;

I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

9Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,

Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,

Otherwise they will not come near to you.

10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.

11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;

And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Himin this way no longer.17Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Luke 15:1-32

The Lost Sheep

1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.2Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3So He told them this parable, saying,4“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?5“When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’7“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Lost Coin

8“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?9“When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’10“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Prodigal Son

11And He said, “A man had two sons.12“The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.13“And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.14“Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.15“So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.16“And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!18‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’20“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.21“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;23and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;24for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.26“And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.27“And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’28“But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.29“But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;30but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’31“And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.32‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

Isaiah 43:16-21

16Thus says the LORD,

Who makes a way through the sea

And a path through the mighty waters,

17Who brings forth the chariot and the horse,

The army and the mighty man

(They will lie down together and not rise again;

They have been quenched and extinguished like a wick):

18“Do not call to mind the former things,

Or ponder things of the past.

19“Behold, I will do something new,

Now it will spring forth;

Will you not be aware of it?

I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,

Rivers in the desert.

20“The beasts of the field will glorify Me,

The jackals and the ostriches,

Because I have given waters in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert,

To give drink to My chosen people.

21“The people whom I formed for Myself

Will declare My praise.

The Shortcomings of Israel

Psalm 126

1When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion,

We were like those who dream.

2Then our mouth was filled with laughter

And our tongue with joyful shouting;

Then they said among the nations,

“The LORD has done great things for them.”

3The LORD has done great things for us;

We are glad.

4Restore our captivity, O LORD,

As the streams in the South.

5Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.

6He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,

Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Philippians 3:4b-14

4although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:5circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 12:1-8

Mary Anoints Jesus

1Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at thetable with Him.3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.7Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.8“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

Luke 19:28-40

28After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

29When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples,30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.31“If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’”32So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them.33As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”34They said, “The Lord has need of it.”35They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it.36As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road.37As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen,38shouting:

“BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”40But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”

Isaiah 50:4-9a

4The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples,

That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.

He awakens Me morning by morning,

He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

5The Lord GOD has opened My ear;

And I was not disobedient

Nor did I turn back.

6I gave My back to those who strike Me,

And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;

I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.

7For the Lord GOD helps Me,

Therefore, I am not disgraced;

Therefore, I have set My face like flint,

And I know that I will not be ashamed.

8He who vindicates Me is near;

Who will contend with Me?

Let us stand up to each other;

Who has a case against Me?

Let him draw near to Me.

9Behold, the Lord GOD helps Me;

Who is he who condemns Me?

Behold, they will all wear out like a garment;

The moth will eat them.

Psalm 31:9-16

9Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;

My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.

10For my life is spent with sorrow

And my years with sighing;

My strength has failed because of my iniquity,

And my body has wasted away.

11Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,

Especially to my neighbors,

And an object of dread to my acquaintances;

Those who see me in the street flee from me.

12I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;

I am like a broken vessel.

13For I have heard the slander of many,

Terror is on every side;

While they took counsel together against me,

They schemed to take away my life.

14But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD,

I say, “You are my God.”

15My times are in Your hand;

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.

16Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;

Save me in Your lovingkindness.

Philippians 2:5-11

5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 22:15-23:56

15And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;16for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”17And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves;18for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”19And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.21“But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.22“For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”23And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.

Who Is Greatest

24And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.25And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’26“But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.27“For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

28“You are those who have stood by Me in My trials;29and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you30that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”33But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”34And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”

35And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.”36And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.37“For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”38They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

The Garden of Gethsemane

39And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.40When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,42saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”43Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.45When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow,46and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Jesus Betrayed by Judas

47While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.48But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”49When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”50And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.51But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.52Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber?53“While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

Jesus’ Arrest

54Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance.55After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.56And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.”57But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”58A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”59After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.”60But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”62And he went out and wept bitterly.

63Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him,64and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?”65And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.

Jesus before the Sanhedrin

66When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying,67“If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe;68and if I ask a question, you will not answer.69“But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.”70And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.”71Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

Jesus before Pilate

1Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate.2And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”3So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, It is as you say.”4Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”5But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”

6When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.7And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.

Jesus before Herod

8Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.9And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.10And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.11And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.12Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.

Pilate Seeks Jesus’ Release

13Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people,14and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him.15“No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.16“Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”17[Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.]

18But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!”19(He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.)20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,21but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!”22And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”23But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.24And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted.25And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Simon Bears the Cross

26When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.

27And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.28But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.29“For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’30“Then they will begin TOSAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’31“For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.

The Crucifixion

33When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.34But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.35And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”36The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,37and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”38Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

39One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”40But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”42And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,45because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.46And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.47Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.”48And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts.49And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.

Jesus Is Buried

50And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man51(he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;52this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.53And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.54It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.55Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.56Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.

And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Exodus 12:1-14

The Passover Lamb

1Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,2“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.3“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.4‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.5‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.6‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.7‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.8‘They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.9‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.10‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.11‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORDS Passover.12‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.13‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

14‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.

Psalm 116

1I love the LORD, because He hears

My voice and my supplications.

2Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

3The cords of death encompassed me

And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;

I found distress and sorrow.

4Then I called upon the name of the LORD:

“O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”

5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;

Yes, our God is compassionate.

6The LORD preserves the simple;

I was brought low, and He saved me.

7Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

8For You have rescued my soul from death,

My eyes from tears,

My feet from stumbling.

9I shall walk before the LORD

In the land of the living.

10I believed when I said,

“I am greatly afflicted.”

11I said in my alarm,

“All men are liars.”

12What shall I render to the LORD

For all His benefits toward me?

13I shall lift up the cup of salvation

And call upon the name of the LORD.

14I shall pay my vows to the LORD,

Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.

15Precious in the sight of the LORD

Is the death of His godly ones.

16O LORD, surely I am Your servant,

I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,

You have loosed my bonds.

17To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

And call upon the name of the LORD.

18I shall pay my vows to the LORD,

Oh may it be in the presence of all His people,

19In the courts of the LORDS house,

In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”25In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

John 13:1-35

The Lord’s Supper

1Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God,4*got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

5Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.6So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”8Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”9Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”10Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

21When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”22The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.23There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.24So Simon Peter *gestured to him, and *said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.”25He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, *said to Him, “Lord, who is it?”26Jesus then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.27After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus *said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”28Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.29For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor.30So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.33“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

13Behold, My servant will prosper,

He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.

14Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man

And His form more than the sons of men.

15Thus He will sprinkle many nations,

Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;

For what had not been told them they will see,

And what they had not heard they will understand.

1Who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3He was despised and forsaken of men,

A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;

And like one from whom men hide their face

He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 22

1My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;

And by night, but I have no rest.

3Yet You are holy,

O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4In You our fathers trusted;

They trusted and You delivered them.

5To You they cried out and were delivered;

In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6But I am a worm and not a man,

A reproach of men and despised by the people.

7All who see me sneer at me;

They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,

8“Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him;

Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

9Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;

You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.

10Upon You I was cast from birth;

You have been my God from my mother’s womb.

11Be not far from me, for trouble is near;

For there is none to help.

12Many bulls have surrounded me;

Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13They open wide their mouth at me,

As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14I am poured out like water,

And all my bones are out of joint;

My heart is like wax;

It is melted within me.

15My strength is dried up like a potsherd,

And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;

And You lay me in the dust of death.

16For dogs have surrounded me;

A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

They pierced my hands and my feet.

17I can count all my bones.

They look, they stare at me;

18They divide my garments among them,

And for my clothing they cast lots.

19But You, O LORD, be not far off;

O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20Deliver my soul from the sword,

My only life from the power of the dog.

21Save me from the lion’s mouth;

From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22I will tell of Your name to my brethren;

In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23You who fear the LORD, praise Him;

All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,

And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

Nor has He hidden His face from him;

But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25From You comes my praise in the great assembly;

I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26The afflicted will eat and be satisfied;

Those who seek Him will praise the LORD.

Let your heart live forever!

27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD,

And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28For the kingdom is the LORDS

And He rules over the nations.

29All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,

All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,

Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30Posterity will serve Him;

It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31They will come and will declare His righteousness

To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Hebrews 10:16-25

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

John 18:1-19:42

Judas Betrays Jesus

1When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.2Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.3Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.4So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”5They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He. And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.6So when He said to them, “I am He, they drew back and fell to the ground.7Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”8Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,”9to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”10Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus.11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Jesus before the Priests

12So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,13and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

15Simon Peter was following Jesus, and sowas another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.17Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”18Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

19The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.21“Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.”22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?”23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”24So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.”26One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”27Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus before Pilate

28Then they *led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.29Therefore Pilate went out to them and *said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”30They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.”31So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,”32to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”38Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?”

And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.39“But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?”40So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

The Crown of Thorns

1Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.2And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;3and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.4Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”5Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”6So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate *said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”7The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out tobe the Son of God.”

8Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;9and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.10So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”11Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”12As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.14Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”15So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

The Crucifixion

16So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

17They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.18There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”20Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.21So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’”22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.24So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEYDIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CASTLOTS.”25Therefore the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.26When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”27Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

28After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”29A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branchof hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Care of the Body of Jesus

31Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him;33but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.35And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.36For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BEBROKEN.”37And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”

38After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.39Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.40So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.41Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.42Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Acts 10:34-43

34Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,35but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.36“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—37you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.38You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.39“We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.40“God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible,41not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.42“And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.43“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

Psalm 118

1Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

2Oh let Israel say,

“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

3Oh let the house of Aaron say,

“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

4Oh let those who fear the LORD say,

“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

5From my distress I called upon the LORD;

The LORD answered me andset me in a large place.

6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;

What can man do to me?

7The LORD is for me among those who help me;

Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

8It is better to take refuge in the LORD

Than to trust in man.

9It is better to take refuge in the LORD

Than to trust in princes.

10All nations surrounded me;

In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;

In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

12They surrounded me like bees;

They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;

In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

13You pushed me violently so that I was falling,

But the LORD helped me.

14The LORD is my strength and song,

And He has become my salvation.

15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;

The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;

The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

17I will not die, but live,

And tell of the works of the LORD.

18The LORD has disciplined me severely,

But He has not given me over to death.

19Open to me the gates of righteousness;

I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

20This is the gate of the LORD;

The righteous will enter through it.

21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,

And You have become my salvation.

22The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief corner stone.

23This is the LORDS doing;

It is marvelous in our eyes.

24This is the day which the LORD has made;

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;

O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;

Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;

You are my God, I extol You.

29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

1 Corinthians 15:19-26

19If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

The Order of Resurrection

20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.21For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,24then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.26The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

Luke 24:1-12

The Resurrection

1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing;5and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?6“He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,7saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”8And they remembered His words,9and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.10Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.11But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

The Road to Emmaus

Acts 5:27-32

27When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.30“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.31“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.32“And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Gamaliel’s Counsel

Psalm 118:14-29

14The LORD is my strength and song,

And He has become my salvation.

15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;

The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;

The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

17I will not die, but live,

And tell of the works of the LORD.

18The LORD has disciplined me severely,

But He has not given me over to death.

19Open to me the gates of righteousness;

I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

20This is the gate of the LORD;

The righteous will enter through it.

21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,

And You have become my salvation.

22The stone which the builders rejected

Has become the chief corner stone.

23This is the LORDS doing;

It is marvelous in our eyes.

24This is the day which the LORD has made;

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;

O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;

We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;

Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;

You are my God, I extol You.

29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Revelation 1:4-8

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—6and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.7BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The Patmos Vision

John 20:19-31

19So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.”20And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”22And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

24But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.25So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”27Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”29Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Why This Gospel Was Written

30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Acts 9:1-20

The Conversion of Saul

1Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,2and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.3As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;4and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”5And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said,“I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,6but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”7The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.9And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”11And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.”13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;14and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;16for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”17So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”18And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;19and he took food and was strengthened.

Saul Begins to Preach Christ

Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Psalm 30

1I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up,

And have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

2O LORD my God,

I cried to You for help, and You healed me.

3O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;

You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.

4Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones,

And give thanks to His holy name.

5For His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for a lifetime;

Weeping may last for the night,

But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

6Now as for me, I said in my prosperity,

“I will never be moved.”

7O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong;

You hid Your face, I was dismayed.

8To You, O LORD, I called,

And to the Lord I made supplication:

9“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?

10“Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me;

O LORD, be my helper.”

11You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

12That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Revelation 5:11-14

11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,

12saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

John 21:1-19

Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee

1After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way.2Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.3Simon Peter *said to them, “I am going fishing.” They *said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

4But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.5So Jesus *said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.”6And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch. So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.8But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

9So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.10Jesus *said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.”11Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

Jesus Provides

12Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.13Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise.14This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

The Love Motivation

15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”16He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”17He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Our Times Are in His Hand

18“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.19Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, “Follow Me!”

Acts 9:36-43

36Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.37And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room.38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.”39So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them.40But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up.41And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive.42It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.43And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

3He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

6Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Revelation 7:9-17

9After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;10and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,12saying,

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

13Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?”14I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.15“For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.16“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;17for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

John 10:22-30

22At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.30“I and the Father are one.”

Acts 11:1-18

Peter Reports at Jerusalem

1Now the apostles and the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.2And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those who were circumcised took issue with him,3saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.”4But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in orderly sequence, saying,5“I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me,6and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air.7“I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’8“But I said, ‘By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’9“But a voice from heaven answered a second time, ‘What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’10“This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky.11“And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from Caesarea.12“The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man’s house.13“And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here;14and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’15“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.16“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’17“Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”18When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

The Church at Antioch

Psalm 148

1Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

2Praise Him, all His angels;

Praise Him, all His hosts!

3Praise Him, sun and moon;

Praise Him, all stars of light!

4Praise Him, highest heavens,

And the waters that are above the heavens!

5Let them praise the name of the LORD,

For He commanded and they were created.

6He has also established them forever and ever;

He has made a decree which will not pass away.

7Praise the LORD from the earth,

Sea monsters and all deeps;

8Fire and hail, snow and clouds;

Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

9Mountains and all hills;

Fruit trees and all cedars;

10Beasts and all cattle;

Creeping things and winged fowl;

11Kings of the earth and all peoples;

Princes and all judges of the earth;

12Both young men and virgins;

Old men and children.

13Let them praise the name of the LORD,

For His name alone is exalted;

His glory is above earth and heaven.

14And He has lifted up a horn for His people,

Praise for all His godly ones;

Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.

Praise the LORD!

Revelation 21:1-6

The New Heaven and Earth

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”6Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

John 13:31-35

31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.33“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Acts 16:9-15

9A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”10When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

11So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis;12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony; and we were staying in this city for some days.13And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

First Convert in Europe

14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm 67

1God be gracious to us and bless us,

And cause His face to shine upon us—

Selah.

2That Your way may be known on the earth,

Your salvation among all nations.

3Let the peoples praise You, O God;

Let all the peoples praise You.

4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;

For You will judge the peoples with uprightness

And guide the nations on the earth.

Selah.

5Let the peoples praise You, O God;

Let all the peoples praise You.

6The earth has yielded its produce;

God, our God, blesses us.

7God blesses us,

That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Revelation 21:10-22:5

The New Jerusalem

10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,11having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.12It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.13There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.14And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.16The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.17And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.18The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.25In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;26and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;27and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The River and the Tree of Life

1Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.3There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;4they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.5And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

John 14:23-29

23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

25“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.28“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.29“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.

Acts 16:16-34

16It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.17Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”18She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.

19But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities,20and when they had brought them to the chief magistrates, they said, “These men are throwing our city into confusion, being Jews,21and are proclaiming customs which it is not lawful for us to accept or to observe, being Romans.”

Paul and Silas Imprisoned

22The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods.23When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;24and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;26and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.27When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.28But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”29And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,30and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Jailer Converted

31They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.33And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.34And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.

Psalm 97

1The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;

Let the many islands be glad.

2Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

3Fire goes before Him

And burns up His adversaries round about.

4His lightnings lit up the world;

The earth saw and trembled.

5The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the LORD,

At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

6The heavens declare His righteousness,

And all the peoples have seen His glory.

7Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images,

Who boast themselves of idols;

Worship Him, all you gods.

8Zion heard this and was glad,

And the daughters of Judah have rejoiced

Because of Your judgments, O LORD.

9For You are the LORD Most High over all the earth;

You are exalted far above all gods.

10Hate evil, you who love the LORD,

Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;

He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

11Light is sown like seed for the righteous

And gladness for the upright in heart.

12Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,

And give thanks to His holy name.

Revelation 22:12-21

12“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

John 17:20-26

20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Their Future Glory

22“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.24“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

25“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;26and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Acts 2:1-21

The Day of Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?8“And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?9“Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,11Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”12And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”13But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Peter’s Sermon

14But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.15“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;16but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says,

‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALLMANKIND;

AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY,

AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS,

AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;

18EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN,

I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT

And they shall prophesy.

19‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE

AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW,

BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.

20‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS

AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD,

BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.

21‘AND IT SHALL BE THATEVERYONE WHOCALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Psalm 104:24-35b

24O LORD, how many are Your works!

In wisdom You have made them all;

The earth is full of Your possessions.

25There is the sea, great and broad,

In which are swarms without number,

Animals both small and great.

26There the ships move along,

And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

27They all wait for You

To give them their food in due season.

28You give to them, they gather it up;

You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.

29You hide Your face, they are dismayed;

You take away their spirit, they expire

And return to their dust.

30You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;

And You renew the face of the ground.

31Let the glory of the LORD endure forever;

Let the LORD be glad in His works;

32He looks at the earth, and it trembles;

He touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;

As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.

35Let sinners be consumed from the earth

And let the wicked be no more.

Bless the LORD, O my soul.

Praise the LORD!

Romans 8:14-17

14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

John 14:8-27

8Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?10“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.11“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.12“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.13“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Role of the Spirit

16“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.20“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.21“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”22Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

25“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Radical Hospitality


Everyone counts at St. Paul, from the oldest to the youngest person. Everyone matters. No exceptions. We take seriously the biblical understanding of the church as the Body of Christ. In our best moments, the people of St. Paul function as interdependently as the parts of a human body working together.

We rejoice in sharing each others’ joys and sorrows. We take an interest in the texture of other peoples’ lives. And we welcome each other warmly as though each and every one of us is a special guest in the house of the Lord.

Radical Hospitality

Passionate Worship


Nothing a congregation does compares with the importance and passion of its worship life. Worshiping together with other believers is our most prized moment for giving honest thanks to God. It’s that focused occasion in a given week for all of us to stop pretending to be God.

Lutheran worship, if it is new to you, is not a spectator sport. Everyone participates in the exuberant praise, stirring music, grace-filled words, holy communion, and prayers that call upon the power of God.

Passionate Worship

Intentional Faith Formation


Lutheran Christians consider their lives to be unfinished products. They are constantly seeking to grow in faith and deepen the meaning of their days. Lifelong learning is a big deal at St. Paul. We delight in every opportunity to strengthen our relationship with God over the entire course of our lives.

Ours is a congregation that does not act as if it has all the answers. In fact, we think clarity in asking the right questions is more important than presuming to have some corner on the truth, especially given the complex issues of our day.

Intentional Faith Formation

Adventurous Mission & Service


St. Paul is a servant church. We take our cues for serving others from Jesus Christ, who in a single sentence summed up the importance of being available to others: I came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28).

As easy as it is to take care of oneself in this world, anyone with a heart full of grace and a soul inspired by love can be a servant. The people of St. Paul take pride in strengthening the lives of less fortunate people in our community and across the world, even when it means congregational adventure or personal sacrifice.

Adventurous Mission & Service

Extravagant Generosity


Grateful people are generous people. Interestingly enough, they also happen to be happy people. St. Paul centers its life around gratitude to God for the abundant blessings of life. We believe strongly in the idea that “you make a living by what you earn; you make a life by what you give away.”

Our congregation makes an extraordinary commitment to give generously to others. This generosity is fueled by the individual joy and commitment of all our people seeking to lead grateful (and happy) lives.

Extravagant Generosity