Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Proverbs Chapter 21 and 22
1 The king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever he will.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; But Jehovah weigheth the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to Jehovah than sacrifice.
4 A high look, and a proud heart, `Even' the lamp of the wicked, is sin.
5 The thoughts of the diligent `tend' only to plenteousness; But every one that is hasty `hasteth' only to want.
6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue Is a vapor driven to and fro by them that seek death.
7 The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, Because they refuse to do justice.
8 The way of him that is laden with guilt is exceeding crooked; But as for the pure, his work is right.
9 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, Than with a contentious woman in a wide house.
10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: His neighbor findeth no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; And when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.
12 The righteous man considereth the house of the wicked, `How' the wicked are overthrown to `their' ruin.
13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, He also shall cry, but shall not be heard.
14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger; And a present in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 It is joy to the righteous to do justice; But it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.
16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding Shall rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: He that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous; And the treacherous `cometh' in the stead of the upright.
19 It is better to dwell in a desert land, Than with a contentious and fretful woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise; But a foolish man swalloweth it up.
21 He that followeth after righteousness and kindness Findeth life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, And bringeth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue Keepeth his soul from troubles.
24 The proud and haughty man, scoffer is his name; He worketh in the arrogance of pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard killeth him; For his hands refuse to labor.
26 There is that coveteth greedily all the day long; But the righteous giveth and withholdeth not.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination: How much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind!
28 A false witness shall perish; But the man that heareth shall speak so as to endure.
29 A wicked man hardeneth his face; But as for the upright, he establisheth his ways.
30 There is no wisdom nor understanding Nor counsel against Jehovah.
31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle; But victory is of Jehovah.
1 A `good' name is rather to be chosen than great riches, `And' loving favor rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor meet together: Jehovah is the maker of them all.
3 A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.
4 The reward of humility `and' the fear of Jehovah `Is' riches, and honor, and life.
5 Thorns `and' snares are in the way of the perverse: He that keepeth his soul shall be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich ruleth over the poor; And the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap calamity; And the rod of his wrath shall fail.
9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; For he giveth of his bread to the poor.
10 Cast out the scoffer, and contention will go out; Yea, strife and ignominy will cease.
11 He that loveth pureness of heart, `For' the grace of his lips the king will be his friend.
12 The eyes of Jehovah preserve `him that hath' knowledge; But he overthroweth the words of the treacherous man.
13 The sluggard saith, There is a lion without: I shall be slain in the streets.
14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: He that is abhorred of Jehovah shall fall therein.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; `But' the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his `gain', `And' he that giveth to the rich, `shall come' only to want.
17 Incline thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, And apply thy heart unto my knowledge.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee, If they be established together upon thy lips.
19 That thy trust may be in Jehovah, I have made `them' known to thee this day, even to thee.
20 Have not I written unto thee excellent things Of counsels and knowledge,
21 To make thee know the certainty of the words of truth, That thou mayest carry back words of truth to them that send thee?
22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor; Neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
23 For Jehovah will plead their cause, And despoil of life those that despoil them.
24 Make no friendship with a man that is given to anger; And with a wrathful man thou shalt not go:
25 Lest thou learn this ways, And get a snare to thy soul.
26 Be thou not one of them that strike hands, `Or' of them that are sureties for debts.
27 If thou hast not wherewith to pay, Why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
28 Remove not the ancient landmark, Which thy fathers have set.
29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; He shall not stand before mean men.
Second Reading: Mark Chapter 15
1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate.
2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering saith unto him, Thou sayest.
3 And the chief priests accused him of many things.
4 And Pilate again asked him, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they accuse thee of.
5 But Jesus no more answered anything; insomuch that Pilate marvelled.
6 Now at the feast he used to release unto them one prisoner, whom they asked of him.
7 And there was one called Barabbas, `lying' bound with them that had made insurrection, men who in the insurrection had committed murder.
8 And the multitude went up and began to ask him `to do' as he was wont to do unto them.
9 And Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
10 For he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.
12 And Pilate again answered and said unto them, What then shall I do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?
13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.
14 And Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out exceedingly, Crucify him.
15 And Pilate, wishing to content the multitude, released unto them Barabbas, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
16 And the soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.
17 And they clothe him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it on him;
18 and they began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
19 And they smote his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
20 And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the purple, and put on him his garments. And they lead him out to crucify him.
21 And they compel one passing by, Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go `with them', that he might bear his cross.
22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
23 And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
24 And they crucify him, and part his garments among them, casting lots upon them, what each should take.
25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
27 And with him they crucify two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left.
28 `And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was reckoned with transgressors.'
29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ha! Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,
30 save thyself, and come down from the cross.
31 In like manner also the chief priests mocking `him' among themselves with the scribes said, He saved others; himself he cannot save.
32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reproached him.
33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah.
36 And one ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh to take him down.
37 And Jesus uttered a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.
39 And when the centurion, who stood by over against him, saw that he so gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
40 And there were also women beholding from afar: among whom `were' both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;
41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him; and many other women that came up with him unto Jerusalem.
42 And when even was now come, because it was the Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43 there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councillor of honorable estate, who also himself was looking for the kingdom of God; and he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he learned it of the centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph.
46 And he bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the `mother' of Joses beheld where he was laid.
COVENANTS OF THE BIBLE
Part 4 of 6
We have already discussed covenants (promises) that God made to the Fathers: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These were unconditional promises. God will not destroy the earth with water again. Through Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed. Abraham will possess the promised land for ever.
The Covenant that God made with the Children of Israel in the wilderness was conditional. They would receive blessings and stay in the land as long as they obeyed. If they disobeyed they would lose the blessings. Deuteronomy details the conditions and outcome of this covenant. Much of the history details the failure of the Israelites to meet the conditions of this covenant. But God also promised a new covenant for Israel:
"The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:8-12 as quoted from Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NIV)