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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 51 and 52

Isaiah 51

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD:Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 2 look to Abraham, your father,and to Sarah, who gave you birth.When I called him he was but one,and I blessed him and made him many. 3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;he will make her deserts like Eden,her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.Joy and gladness will be found in her,thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
4 "Listen to me, my people;hear me, my nation:The law will go out from me;my justice will become a light to the nations. 5 My righteousness draws near speedily,my salvation is on the way,and my arm will bring justice to the nations.The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,look at the earth beneath;the heavens will vanish like smoke,the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies.But my salvation will last forever,my righteousness will never fail.
7 "Hear me, you who know what is right,you people who have my law in your hearts:Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment;the worm will devour them like wool.But my righteousness will last forever,my salvation through all generations."
9 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength,O arm of the LORD;awake, as in days gone by,as in generations of old.Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,who pierced that monster through? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,the waters of the great deep,who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? 11 The ransomed of the LORD will return.They will enter Zion with singing;everlasting joy will crown their heads.Gladness and joy will overtake them,and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
12 "I, even I, am he who comforts you.Who are you that you fear mortal men,the sons of men, who are but grass, 13 that you forget the LORD your Maker,who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth,that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,who is bent on destruction?For where is the wrath of the oppressor? 14 The cowering prisoners will soon be set free;they will not die in their dungeon,nor will they lack bread. 15 For I am the LORD your God,who churns up the sea so that its waves roar — the LORD Almighty is his name. 16 I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand — I who set the heavens in place,who laid the foundations of the earth,and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.'"
17 Awake, awake!Rise up, O Jerusalem,you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath,you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger. 18 Of all the sons she bore there was none to guide her;of all the sons she reared there was none to take her by the hand. 19 These double calamities have come upon you — who can comfort you? — ruin and destruction, famine and sword — who can console you? 20 Your sons have fainted;they lie at the head of every street,like antelope caught in a net.They are filled with the wrath of the LORD and the rebuke of your God.
21 Therefore hear this, you afflicted one,made drunk, but not with wine. 22 This is what your Sovereign LORD says,your God, who defends his people:"See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger;from that cup, the goblet of my wrath,you will never drink again. 23 I will put it into the hands of your tormentors,who said to you,'Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.'And you made your back like the ground,like a street to be walked over."

Isaiah 52

Awake, awake, O Zion,clothe yourself with strength.Put on your garments of splendor,O Jerusalem, the holy city.The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. 2 Shake off your dust;rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem.Free yourself from the chains on your neck,O captive Daughter of Zion.
3 For this is what the LORD says:
"You were sold for nothing,and without money you will be redeemed."
4 For this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"At first my people went down to Egypt to live;lately, Assyria has oppressed them.
5 "And now what do I have here?" declares the LORD.
"For my people have been taken away for nothing,and those who rule them mock," declares the LORD."And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people will know my name;therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it.Yes, it is I."
7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,who proclaim peace,who bring good tidings,who proclaim salvation,who say to Zion,"Your God reigns!" 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;together they shout for joy.When the LORD returns to Zion,they will see it with their own eyes. 9 Burst into songs of joy together,you ruins of Jerusalem,for the LORD has comforted his people,he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations,and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.
11 Depart, depart, go out from there!Touch no unclean thing!Come out from it and be pure,you who carry the vessels of the LORD. 12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight;for the LORD will go before you,the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
13 See, my servant will act wisely;he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness — 15 so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him.For what they were not told, they will see,and what they have not heard, they will understand.

Second Reading: John Chapter 2

John 2

2:1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come."
5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."
18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
20 The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

Bible Background



Part 2 of 3

The Gospel of John has many unique features: There are many key words in John's Gospel, and dominant throughout is the word "believe" which occurs over eighty times. This word implies a belief that has developed into faith or conviction. As such, this Gospel was written for believers. They are enabled thereby to perceive the inner strength of Jesus, and to see his faith also came from a greater source, even God. Another peculiarity is the frequent use of the word "Jew." It is only found once in Matthew, twice in Mark and in Luke, but over sixty times in John.

John concerns himself more with the Judean ministry which Matthew and Mark hardly touch upon, and he records only eight miracles (which he terms "signs") that set in sequential order the whole purpose of God in Christ.


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