Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background
First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 53 and 54
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,and like a root out of dry ground.He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men,a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,yet we considered him stricken by God,smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,he was crushed for our iniquities;the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,each of us has turned to his own way;and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,yet he did not open his mouth;he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.And who can speak of his descendants?For he was cut off from the land of the living;for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,and with the rich in his death,though he had done no violence,nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer,and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,he will see his offspring and prolong his days,and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul,he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied;by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death,and was numbered with the transgressors.For he bore the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.
"Sing, O barren woman,you who never bore a child;burst into song, shout for joy,you who were never in labor;because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. 2 "Enlarge the place of your tent,stretch your tent curtains wide,do not hold back;lengthen your cords,strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
4 "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband the LORD Almighty is his name the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit a wife who married young,only to be rejected," says your God. 7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you,but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment,but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,"says the LORD your Redeemer.
9 "To me this is like the days of Noah,when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,"says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
11 "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies,your gates of sparkling jewels,and all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD,and great will be your children's peace. 14 In righteousness you will be established:Tyranny will be far from you;you will have nothing to fear.Terror will be far removed;it will not come near you. 15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
16 "See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc; 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD.
Second Reading: John Chapter 3
3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish
ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you
are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous
signs you are doing if God were not with him."
3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
22 After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized. 24(This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan-the one you testified about-well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him."
27 To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.
31 "The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
Part 3 of 3
John recounts the life of Jesus on earth in the following order:
Select: First Reading Second Reading Bible Background