April 6 - Matthew 27.1-30, Deuteronomy 5-6 and Job 6

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Jesus Is Taken to Pilate
(Mark 15.1; Luke 23.1, 2; John 18.28-32)

Matthew 27 Early the next morning all the chief priests and the nation's leaders met and decided that Jesus should be put to death. 2They tied him up and led him away to Pilate the governor.

The Death of Judas
(Acts 1.18, 19)

3Judas had betrayed Jesus, but when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death, he was sorry for what he had done. He returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and leaders 4and said, "I have sinned by betraying a man who has never done anything wrong."
"So what? That's your problem," they replied. 5Judas threw the money into the temple and then went out and hanged himself.
6The chief priests picked up the money and said, "This money was paid to have a man killed. We can't put it in the temple treasury." 7Then they had a meeting and decided to buy a field that belonged to someone who made clay pots. They wanted to use it as a graveyard for foreigners. 8That's why people still call that place "Field of Blood." 9So the words of the prophet Jeremiah came true,
"They took the thirty silver coins,
the price of a person among the people of Israel.
10They paid it for a potter's field,
as the Lord had commanded me."

Pilate Questions Jesus
(Mark 15.2-5; Luke 23.3-5; John 18.33-38)

11Jesus was brought before Pilate the governor, who asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Those are your words!" Jesus answered. 12And when the chief priests and leaders brought their charges against him, he did not say a thing.
13Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear what crimes they say you have done?" 14But Jesus did not say anything, and the governor was greatly amazed.

The Death Sentence
(Mark 15.6-15; Luke 23.13-26; John 18.39--19.16)

15During Passover the governor always freed a prisoner chosen by the people. 16At that time a well-known terrorist named Jesus Barabbas was in jail. 17So when the crowd came together, Pilate asked them, "Which prisoner do you want me to set free? Do you want Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?" 18Pilate knew that the leaders had brought Jesus to him because they were jealous.
19While Pilate was judging the case, his wife sent him a message. It said, "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man. I have had nightmares because of him."
20But the chief priests and the leaders convinced the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be set free and for Jesus to be killed. 21Pilate asked the crowd again, "Which of these two men do you want me to set free?"
"Barabbas!" they replied.
22Pilate asked them, "What am I to do with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?"
They all yelled, "Nail him to a cross!"
23Pilate answered, "But what crime has he done?"
"Nail him to a cross!" they yelled even louder.
24Pilate saw that there was nothing he could do and that the people were starting to riot. So he took some water and washed his hands in front of them and said, "I won't have anything to do with killing this man. You are the ones doing it!"
25Everyone answered, "We and our own families will take the blame for his death!"
26Pilate set Barabbas free. Then he ordered his soldiers to beat Jesus with a whip and nail him to a cross.

Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
(Mark 15.16-21; John 19.2, 3)

27The governor's soldiers led Jesus into the fortress and brought together the rest of the troops. 28They stripped off Jesus' clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. 29They made a crown out of thorn branches and placed it on his head, and they put a stick in his right hand. The soldiers knelt down and pretended to worship him. They made fun of him and shouted, "Hey, you king of the Jews!" 30Then they spit on him. They took the stick from him and beat him on the head with it.

The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20.1-17)

Deuteronomy 5 Moses called together the people of Israel and said:
Today I am telling you the laws and teachings that you must follow, so listen carefully. 2The LORD our God made an agreement with our nation at Mount Sinai. 3That agreement wasn't only with our ancestors but with us, who are here today. 4The LORD himself spoke to you out of the fire, 5but you were afraid of the fire and refused to go up the mountain. So I spoke with the LORD for you, then I told you that he had said:
6I am the LORD your God, the one who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves.
7Do not worship any god except me.
8Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. 9Don't bow down and worship idols. I am the LORD your God, and I demand all your love. If you reject me and worship idols, I will punish your families for three or four generations. 10But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.
11Do not misuse my name. I am the LORD your God, and I will punish anyone who misuses my name.
12Show respect for the Sabbath Day--it belongs to me. 13You have six days when you can do your work, 14but the seventh day of the week belongs to me, your God. No one is to work on that day--not you, your children, your oxen or donkeys or any other animal, not even those foreigners who live in your towns. And don't make your slaves do any work. 15This special day of rest will remind you that I reached out my mighty arm and rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
16Respect your father and mother, and you will live a long and successful life in the land I am giving you.
17Do not murder.
18Be faithful in marriage.
19Do not steal.
20Do not tell lies about others.
21Do not want anything that belongs to someone else. Don't want anyone's wife or husband, house, land, slaves, oxen, donkeys, or anything else.

22When we were gathered on the mountain, the LORD spoke to us in a loud voice from the dark fiery cloud. The LORD gave us these commands, and only these. Then he wrote them on two flat stones and gave them to me.

The People Were Afraid
(Exodus 20.18-21)

Moses said to Israel:
23When fire blazed from the mountain, and you heard the voice coming from the darkness, your tribal leaders came to me 24and said:
Today the LORD our God has shown us how powerful and glorious he is. He spoke to us from the fire, and we learned that people can live, even though God speaks to them. 25But we don't want to take a chance on being killed by that terrible fire, and if we keep on hearing the LORD's voice, we will die. 26Has anyone else ever heard the only true God speaking from fire, as we have? And even if they have, would they live to tell about it? 27Moses, go up close and listen to the LORD. Then come back and tell us, and we will do everything he says.

28The LORD heard you and said:
Moses, I heard what the people said to you, and I approve. 29I wish they would always worship me with fear and trembling and be this willing to obey me! Then they and their children would always enjoy a successful life.
30Now, tell them to return to their tents, 31but you come back here to me. After I tell you my laws and teachings, you will repeat them to the people, so they can obey these laws in the land I am giving them.

Moses said:
32Israel, you must carefully obey the LORD's commands. 33Follow them, because they make a path that will lead to a long successful life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

The Most Important Commandment

Moses said to Israel:
Deuteronomy 6 The LORD told me to give you these laws and teachings, so you can obey them in the land he is giving you. Soon you will cross the Jordan River and take that land. 2And if you and your descendants want to live a long time, you must always worship the LORD and obey his laws. 3Pay attention, Israel! Our ancestors worshiped the LORD, and he promised to give us this land that is rich with milk and honey. Be careful to obey him, and you will become a successful and powerful nation.
4Listen, Israel! The LORD our God is the only true God! 5So love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength. 6Memorize his laws 7and tell them to your children over and over again. Talk about them all the time, whether you're at home or walking along the road or going to bed at night, or getting up in the morning. 8Write down copies and tie them to your wrists and foreheads to help you obey them. 9Write these laws on the door frames of your homes and on your town gates.

Worship Only the LORD

Moses said to Israel:
10The LORD promised your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would give you this land. Now he will take you there and give you large towns, with good buildings that you didn't build, 11and houses full of good things that you didn't put there. The LORD will give you wells that you didn't have to dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you didn't have to plant. But when you have eaten so much that you can't eat any more, 12don't forget it was the LORD who set you free from slavery and brought you out of Egypt. 13Worship and obey the LORD your God with fear and trembling, and promise that you will be loyal to him.
14Don't have anything to do with gods that are worshiped by the nations around you. 15If you worship other gods, the LORD will be furious and wipe you off the face of the earth. The LORD your God is with you, 16so don't try to make him prove that he can help you, as you did at Massah. 17Always obey the laws that the LORD has given you 18-19and live in a way that pleases him. Then you will be able to go in and take this good land from your enemies, just as he promised your ancestors.
20Someday your children will ask, "Why did the LORD give us these laws and teachings?"
21Then you will answer:
We were slaves of the king of Egypt, but the LORD used his great power and set us free. 22We saw him perform miracles and make horrible things happen to the king, his officials, and everyone else. 23The LORD rescued us from Egypt, so he could bring us into this land, as he had promised our ancestors. 24-25That's why the LORD our God demands that we obey his laws and worship him with fear and trembling. And if we do, he will protect us and help us be successful.

Job's Reply to Eliphaz

It's Impossible

Job 6 Job said:
2It's impossible to weigh my misery and grief!
3They outweigh the sand along the beach,
and that's why I have spoken without thinking first.
4The fearsome arrows of God All-Powerful
have filled my soul with their poison.
5Do oxen and wild donkeys cry out in distress
unless they are hungry?
6What is food without salt?
What is more tasteless than the white of an egg?
7That's how my food tastes, and my appetite is gone.

*8How I wish that God would answer my prayer
9and do away with me.
10Then I would be comforted, knowing that in all of my pain
I have never disobeyed God.
11Why should I patiently hope when my strength is gone?
12I am not strong as stone or bronze,
13and I have finally reached the end of my rope.

My Friends, I Am Desperate

14My friends, I am desperate, and you should help me,
even if I no longer respect God All-Powerful.
*15But you are treacherous
16as streams that swell with melting snow,
17then suddenly disappear in the summer heat.
18I am like a caravan,
lost in the desert while searching for water.
19Caravans from Tema and Sheba
20thought they would find water. But they were disappointed,
21just as I am with you.
Only one look at my suffering, and you run away scared.

What Have I Done Wrong?

22Have I ever asked any of you to give me a gift
23or to purchase my freedom from brutal enemies?
24What have I done wrong?
Show me, and I will keep quiet.
25The truth is always painful,
but your arguments prove nothing.
26Here I am desperate, and you consider my words
as worthless as wind.
27Why, you would sell an orphan or your own neighbor!
28Look me straight in the eye; I won't lie to you.
29Stop accusing me falsely; my reputation is at stake.
30I know right from wrong, and I am not telling lies.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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