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First Reading: Proverbs Chapter 19 and 20
Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,nor to be hasty and miss the way.
3 A man's own folly ruins his life,yet his heart rages against the LORD.
4 Wealth brings many friends,but a poor man's friend deserts him.
5 A false witness will not go unpunished,and he who pours out lies will not go free.
6 Many curry favor with a ruler,and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts.
7 A poor man is shunned by all his relatives how much more do his friends avoid him!Though he pursues them with pleading,they are nowhere to be found.
8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;he who cherishes understanding prospers.
9 A false witness will not go unpunished,and he who pours out lies will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
11 A man's wisdom gives him patience;it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king's rage is like the roar of a lion,but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish son is his father's ruin,and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.
14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
15 Laziness brings on deep sleep,and the shiftless man goes hungry.
16 He who obeys instructions guards his life,but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.
17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,and he will reward him for what he has done.
18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope;do not be a willing party to his death.
19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty;if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,and in the end you will be wise.
21 Many are the plans in a man's heart,but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
22 What a man desires is unfailing love;better to be poor than a liar.
23 The fear of the LORD leads to life:Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.
26 He who robs his father and drives out his mother is a son who brings shame and disgrace.
27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice,and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,and beatings for the backs of fools.
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
2 A king's wrath is like the roar of a lion;he who angers him forfeits his life.
3 It is to a man's honor to avoid strife,but every fool is quick to quarrel.
4 A sluggard does not plow in season;so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.
5 The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters,but a man of understanding draws them out.
6 Many a man claims to have unfailing love,but a faithful man who can find?
7 The righteous man leads a blameless life;blessed are his children after him.
8 When a king sits on his throne to judge,he winnows out all evil with his eyes.
9 Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure;I am clean and without sin"?
10 Differing weights and differing measures the LORD detests them both.
11 Even a child is known by his actions,by whether his conduct is pure and right.
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see the LORD has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;stay awake and you will have food to spare.
14 "It's no good, it's no good!" says the buyer;then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.
15 Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
16 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;hold it in pledge if he does it for a wayward woman.
17 Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man,but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
18 Make plans by seeking advice;if you wage war, obtain guidance.
19 A gossip betrays a confidence;so avoid a man who talks too much.
20 If a man curses his father or mother,his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
21 An inheritance quickly gained at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.
22 Do not say, "I'll pay you back for this wrong!"Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
23 The LORD detests differing weights,and dishonest scales do not please him.
24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD.How then can anyone understand his own way?
25 It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows.
26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;he drives the threshing wheel over them.
27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man;it searches out his inmost being.
28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;through love his throne is made secure.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,gray hair the splendor of the old.
30 Blows and wounds cleanse away evil,and beatings purge the inmost being.
14:1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days
away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some
sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 "But not during the Feast,"
they said, "or the people may riot."
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
6 "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me-one who is eating with me."
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"
20 "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."
23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25 "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
27 "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written:
"'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."
29 Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."
30 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today-yes, tonight-before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the others said the same.
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
41 Returning the third time, he said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard." 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 "Am I leading a rebellion," said Jesus, "that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'" 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
62 "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
63 The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. 64 "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"
They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
"You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said.
68 But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway.
69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." 70 Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean."
71 He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, "I don't know this man you're talking about."
72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept.
LIFE AND DEATH IN THE BIBLE
Part 3 of 3
The gift of God is eternal life. We can't earn it and we don't deserve it. It's not something we have inherently. The hope of any Christian is the resurrection from the dead:
"For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins......But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead came also through a man. For as in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him." I Corinthians 15: 16-23 (NIV)