8

Restraint

Pastoral Messages | March 1, 2018

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell published his popular book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, more than a decade ago, people have been paying special homage to the benefit of “decision by instinct.” What Gladwell proposed, namely that quick decisions are often as good as cautious and deliberate ones, has been elevated for many people to a doctrine. We prize our gut judgment. Nobody likes to admit that he or she is wrong, at least not on a regular basis.

The explosion of the Internet has grown our confidence in personal wisdom. The glut of information that pops onto our screens provides us with the illusion of knowledge more than the reality of insight. But why would that keep us from feeling wise? Everybody can be a self-educated whiz these days. When everything is 24/7 available – let’s face it, we’re drowning in news and data – experts aren’t needed. In fact, experts aren’t wanted by a whole of people. To reject someone with specialized knowledge or skill can give one the feeling of a wonderful high. It’s freeing not to be tied down to someone with expertise or insight. Ignorance is a virtue, some people seem to display, especially if they have something they really want to say, and reason or fact aren’t especially important. I’d argue that a lot of populism is built on a peculiar contempt for those who have specialized or helpful knowledge. And, as we know, populism is rather popular these years.

But I wonder if we have over-gloried the concept of gut instinct and forfeited too much of the value of deep reasoning. We have a rather romantic notion of how bright we are, and how informed and literate we are on any range of subjects, from foreign policy to science.

But let’s think about this. Greater personal restraint would provide some antidote to these dilemmas. Imagine how different we’d be if we could restrain ourselves even a little bit every time a news alert shows up, prompting us to lash out with strong emotional opinion. Hitting the pause button on some quick opinions and snap judgments would go a long way toward helping us become more literate and informed people.

I sometimes think about the reticence of Jesus; how reluctant he was to say too much in so many settings. His silent stand up against Pilate is one of my favorite passages: “He [Jesus] gave him [Pilate] no answer.” Time and again, we wish Jesus would have said more on all kinds of subjects. But in his restraint, he may be encouraging us to reflect more deeply, decide more carefully, and think of others before simply hunkering down in our own wisdom.

Peter W. Marty, senior pastor

8 Comments on “Restraint”

  • Kathryn Graver

    March 4, 2018 at 7:39 am

    When I was a child, my dad would “say children are meant to be seen and not heard. “This used to make me mad, as I read your restraint article, I thought he might of been trying to help me learn, to listen, observe , and wait for the right moment as Jesus did. I’m sure he did not give it that much thought but I did learn to wait my turn, some of the adult talk was boring, , but some was interesting, I learned family history, politics and the ways adults acted in the early 60’s , similar to our current tread. Lessons learned from childhood.

  • Scott Kelling

    March 3, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    It is extremely difficult for me to grasp how one can conflate Jesus’ reticence with a contempt for populism.
    For 60 years the American republic has been ruled by a powerful and unchallenged elite class comprised of government elites, business elites, academic elites, media elites and elites entrenched in the administrative state. The product of that rule has been the demise of social order, the rise of anti-democratic academic intolerance, more war, greater poverty, less educational achievement, failed health care, disastrous opioid abuse, and a Middle Eastern foreign policy that created the most massive refugee crisis in human history.
    Lo the rise of populism. Now the people, the populists, are questioning the wisdom of those with the “specialized” knowledge.
    I have to wonder, if Jesus were in our midst today, how much restraint he would show. Or would he caste out of the temple the anti-populists and set afire their altar of hypocrisy?

  • David DeWit

    March 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Good points. I spent earlier years in churches where the was virtue in believing and professing things that did not make logical sense – the more illogical the better. As a scientist, trained to subject everything to logical scrutiny, I was sometimes accused of “thinking too much. ” To me, such a climate is populism in a religious context – insistence on homogeneity of thought and belief within a body.

  • Kathleen Hurty

    March 1, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Very insightful comments. Thank you!!

  • Kristin Post

    March 1, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    A new daily reflection.

  • Becky Morgan

    March 1, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    I recently joined a group called the Transpartisans, whose purpose is civil discourse between people whose political ideas differ. The focus is on listening, in order to understand the other’s point of view. One of the most difficult (!) and interesting groups I’ve ever experienced!

  • Stella Herzig

    March 1, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Brilliant.

  • Tom Hebbeln

    March 1, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I almost commented, but instead I shall be reticent.

Leave a Comment

Isaiah 58:1-12

1“Cry loudly, do not hold back;

Raise your voice like a trumpet,

And declare to My people their transgression

And to the house of Jacob their sins.

2“Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways,

As a nation that has done righteousness

And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God.

They ask Me for just decisions,

They delight in the nearness of God.

3‘Why have we fasted and You do not see?

Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’

Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,

And drive hard all your workers.

4“Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.

You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.

5“Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed

And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?

Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?

6“Is this not the fast which I choose,

To loosen the bonds of wickedness,

To undo the bands of the yoke,

And to let the oppressed go free

And break every yoke?

7“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry

And bring the homeless poor into the house;

When you see the naked, to cover him;

And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8“Then your light will break out like the dawn,

And your recovery will speedily spring forth;

And your righteousness will go before you;

The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you remove the yoke from your midst,

The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,

10And if you give yourself to the hungry

And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

Then your light will rise in darkness

And your gloom will become like midday.

11“And the LORD will continually guide you,

And satisfy your desire in scorched places,

And give strength to your bones;

And you will be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.

12“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;

You will raise up the age-old foundations;

And you will be called the repairer of the breach,

The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.

Keeping the Sabbath

Psalm 51:1-17

1Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity

And cleanse me from my sin.

3For I know my transgressions,

And my sin is ever before me.

4Against You, You only, I have sinned

And done what is evil in Your sight,

So that You are justified when You speak

And blameless when You judge.

5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.

6Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,

And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

7Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Make me to hear joy and gladness,

Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

9Hide Your face from my sins

And blot out all my iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11Do not cast me away from Your presence

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12Restore to me the joy of Your salvation

And sustain me with a willing spirit.

13Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,

And sinners will be converted to You.

14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;

Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

15O Lord, open my lips,

That my mouth may declare Your praise.

16For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;

You are not pleased with burnt offering.

17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

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.

Their Ministry Commended

1And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—2for He says,

“AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,

AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”

Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”—

3giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited,4but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,5in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger,6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,7in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,8by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;9as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death,10as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

Matthew 6:1-21

Giving to the Poor and Prayer

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

2“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.3“But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.6“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

7“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.8“So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

9“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10‘Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

11‘Give us this day our daily bread.

12‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

14“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Fasting; The True Treasure; Wealth (Mammon)

16“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.17“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face18so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Offering First Fruits

1“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,2that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.3“You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’4“Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.5“You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; but there he became a great, mighty and populous nation.6‘And the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.7‘Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;8and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;9and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.10‘Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground which You, O LORD have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;11and you and the Levite and the alien who is among you shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD your God has given you and your household.

Psalm 9:1-16

1I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart;

I will tell of all Your wonders.

2I will be glad and exult in You;

I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

3When my enemies turn back,

They stumble and perish before You.

4For You have maintained my just cause;

You have sat on the throne judging righteously.

5You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked;

You have blotted out their name forever and ever.

6The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins,

And You have uprooted the cities;

The very memory of them has perished.

7But the LORD abides forever;

He has established His throne for judgment,

8And He will judge the world in righteousness;

He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.

9The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,

A stronghold in times of trouble;

10And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,

For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.

11Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion;

Declare among the peoples His deeds.

12For He who requires blood remembers them;

He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

13Be gracious to me, O LORD;

See my affliction from those who hate me,

You who lift me up from the gates of death,

14That I may tell of all Your praises,

That in the gates of the daughter of Zion

I may rejoice in Your salvation.

15The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made;

In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.

16The LORD has made Himself known;

He has executed judgment.

In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared.

Higgaion Selah.

Romans 10:8-13

8But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.11For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;13for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Luke 4:1-13

The Temptation of Jesus

1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.3And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”

5And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.7“Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”8Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

9And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;10for it is written,

‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’

11and,

‘ONtheirHANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,

SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”

12And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOTPUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

13When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

Jesus’ Public Ministry

Genesis 15:1-18

Abram Promised a Son

1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,

“Do not fear, Abram,

I am a shield to you;

Your reward shall be very great.”

2Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”3And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”4Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”5And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”6Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.7And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”8He said, “O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?”9So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”10Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.11The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

12Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.13God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.14“But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.15“As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.16“Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

17It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.18On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,

“To your descendants I have given this land,

From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

Psalm 27

1The LORD is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The LORD is the defense of my life;

Whom shall I dread?

2When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh,

My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell.

3Though a host encamp against me,

My heart will not fear;

Though war arise against me,

In spite of this I shall be confident.

4One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the LORD

And to meditate in His temple.

5For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;

In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;

He will lift me up on a rock.

6And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me,

And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

7Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice,

And be gracious to me and answer me.

8When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,

“Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”

9Do not hide Your face from me,

Do not turn Your servant away in anger;

You have been my help;

Do not abandon me nor forsake me,

O God of my salvation!

10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

But the LORD will take me up.

11Teach me Your way, O LORD,

And lead me in a level path

Because of my foes.

12Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries,

For false witnesses have risen against me,

And such as breathe out violence.

13I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD

In the land of the living.

14Wait for the LORD;

Be strong and let your heart take courage;

Yes, wait for the LORD.

Philippians 3:17-4:1

17Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.18For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,19whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Think of Excellence

1Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.

Luke 13:31-35

31Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.”32And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’33“Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.34“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!35“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”

Isaiah 55:1-9

1“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;

And you who have no money come, buy and eat.

Come, buy wine and milk

Without money and without cost.

2“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

And your wages for what does not satisfy?

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

And delight yourself in abundance.

3“Incline your ear and come to Me.

Listen, that you may live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

According to the faithful mercies shown to David.

4“Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,

A leader and commander for the peoples.

5“Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,

And a nation which knows you not will run to you,

Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel;

For He has glorified you.”

6Seek the LORD while He may be found;

Call upon Him while He is near.

7Let the wicked forsake his way

And the unrighteous man his thoughts;

And let him return to the LORD,

And He will have compassion on him,

And to our God,

For He will abundantly pardon.

8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.

9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Psalm 63:1-8

1O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;

My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,

In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

2Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,

To see Your power and Your glory.

3Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,

My lips will praise You.

4So I will bless You as long as I live;

I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,

And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

6When I remember You on my bed,

I meditate on You in the night watches,

7For You have been my help,

And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

8My soul clings to You;

Your right hand upholds me.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Avoid Israel’s Mistakes

1For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;3and all ate the same spiritual food;4and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.

6Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.7Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TOPLAY.”8Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.9Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.10Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.11Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.12Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.13No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Luke 13:1-9

Call to Repent

1Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.2And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?3“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.4“Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?5“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

6And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.7“And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’8“And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;9and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

Healing on the Sabbath

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 3:4-14

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.”

Isaiah 50:4-9

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 23:1-49

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