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First Reading: Deuteronomy Chapter 13 and 14
13:1 Punishment of Apostates
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives
you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which
he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' which you have
not known 'and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words
of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing
you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with
all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep
His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because
he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought
you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to
entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So
you shall put away the evil from your midst.
6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
12 "If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying, 13'Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods"' which you have not known 14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock with the edge of the sword. 16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again. 17 So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers, 18 because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.
14:1 Improper Mourning
"You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves
nor shave the front of your head for the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to
the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a
special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
3 Clean and Unclean Meat
"You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4 These are the animals which you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the mountain goat, the antelope, and the mountain sheep. 6 And you may eat every animal with cloven hooves, having the hoof split into two parts, and that chews the cud, among the animals. 7 Nevertheless, of those that chew the cud or have cloven hooves, you shall not eat, such as these: the camel, the hare, and the rock hyrax; for they chew the cud but do not have cloven hooves; they are unclean for you. 8 Also the swine is unclean for you, because it has cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud; you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses.
9 "These you may eat of all that are in the waters: you may eat all that have fins and scales. 10 And whatever does not have fins and scales you shall not eat; it is unclean for you.
11 "All clean birds you may eat. 12 But these you shall not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 13 the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds; 14 every raven after its kind; 15 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; 16 the little owl, the screech owl, the white owl, 17 the jackdaw, the carrion vulture, the fisher owl, 18 the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.
19 "Also every creeping thing that flies is unclean for you; they shall not be eaten.
20 "You may eat all clean birds.
21 "You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God.
"You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.
22 Tithing Principles
"You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces
year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where
He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine
and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn
to fear the LORD your God always. 24 But if the journey is too long for you,
so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD
your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God
has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in
your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. 26 And you shall
spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine
or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before
the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27 You shall
not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance
28 "At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, and the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
6:1 Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
(Matt 13:53-58; Luke 4:16-30)
Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. 2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying,"Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! 3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
4 But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house." 5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.
7 Sending Out the Twelve
(Matt 10:1,5-15; Luke 9:1-6)
And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. 8 He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts 9 but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.
10 Also He said to them, "In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"
12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.
14 John the Baptist Beheaded
(Matt 14:1-12; Luke 9:7-9)
Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, "John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."
15 Others said, "It is Elijah."
And others said, "It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets."
16 But when Herod heard, he said, "This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!" 17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod,"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you." 23 He also swore to her,"Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
24 So she went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?"
And she said, "The head of John the Baptist!"
25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
30 Feeding the Five Thousand
(Matt 14:13-21; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14)
Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. 31 And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.
33 But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. 35 When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. 36 Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."
37 But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat."
And they said to Him,"Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?"
38 But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see."
And when they found out they said,"Five, and two fish."
39 Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. 41 And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. 42 So they all ate and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. 44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
45 Jesus Walks on the Sea
(Matt 14:22-33; John 6:15-21)
Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. 46 And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. 47 Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. 48 Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. 52 For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
53 Many Touch Him and Are Made Well
When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 And when they came out of the boat, immediately the people recognized Him, 55 ran through that whole surrounding region, and began to carry about on beds those who were sick to wherever they heard He was. 56 Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.
THEMES OF THE BIBLE
A word that appears over and over throughout the Bible is covenant. A covenant is a promise of legal validity. It is an agreement between two people. In a sense it is a contract. Marriage involves a covenant between a man and a women. In the Bible, God makes promises or covenants that he will perform certain things. Sometimes those promises have conditions. Sometimes they don't. God promised Noah that he would not destroy all mankind with water again. He promised Abraham that he would make a great nation of him and give him the promised land for ever. To David he promised a descendant that would be the king over his kingdom for ever. All these promises were without conditions. God has made the promise and it will happen. To the Israelites he promises certain blessings if they obeyed. This promise or covenant had a condition. Another promise that has a condition is the promise in the NewTestament that all those who belonged to Christ would also inherit Abraham's promises:
Galatians 3:29 (NIV) "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."
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