June 30 - Mark 10.32-52, 2 Samuel 24 and Hosea 4.1-10

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Jesus Again Tells about His Death
(Matthew 20.17-19; Luke 18.31-34)

Mark 10 32The disciples were confused as Jesus led them toward Jerusalem, and his other followers were afraid. Once again, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and told them what was going to happen to him. He said:
33We are now on our way to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death and hand him over to foreigners, 34who will make fun of him and spit on him. They will beat him and kill him. But three days later he will rise to life.

The Request of James and John
(Matthew 20.20-28)

35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, will you do us a favor?"
36Jesus asked them what they wanted, 37and they answered, "When you come into your glory, please let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left."
38Jesus told them, "You don't really know what you're asking! Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from or be baptized as I must be baptized?"
39"Yes, we are!" James and John answered.
Then Jesus replied, "You certainly will drink from the cup from which I must drink. And you will be baptized just as I must! 40But it isn't for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for God to decide."
41When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with James and John. 42But Jesus called the disciples together and said:
You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over the people they rule. 43But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 44And if you want to be first, you must be everyone's slave. 45The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
(Matthew 20.29-34; Luke 18.35-43)

46Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" 48Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, "Son of David, have pity on me!"
49Jesus stopped and said, "Call him over!"
They called out to the blind man and said, "Don't be afraid! Come on! He is calling for you." 50The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus.
51Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"
The blind man answered, "Master, I want to see!"
52Jesus told him, "You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith."
Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.!br

David Counts the People
(1 Chronicles 21.1-6)

2 Samuel 24 The LORD was angry at Israel again, and he made David think it would be a good idea to count the people in Israel and Judah. 2So David told Joab and the army officers, "Go to every tribe in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north all the way south to Beersheba, and count everyone who can serve in the army. I want to know how many there are."
3Joab answered, "I hope the LORD your God will give you a hundred times more soldiers than you already have. I hope you will live to see that day! But why do you want to do a thing like this?"
4But when David refused to change his mind, Joab and the army officers went out and started counting the people. 5They crossed the Jordan River and began with Aroer and the town in the middle of the river valley. From there they went toward Gad and on as far as Jazer. 6They went to Gilead and to Kadesh in Syria. Then they went to Dan, Ijon, and on toward Sidon. 7They came to the fortress of Tyre, then went through every town of the Hivites and the Canaanites. Finally, they went to Beersheba in the Southern Desert of Judah. 8After they had gone through the whole land, they went back to Jerusalem. It had taken them nine months and twenty days.
9Joab came and told David, "In Israel there are eight hundred thousand who can serve in the army, and in Judah there are five hundred thousand."

The LORD Punishes David
(1 Chronicles 21.7-17)

10After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the LORD, "What I did was stupid and terribly wrong. LORD, please forgive me."
11Before David even got up the next morning, the LORD had told David's prophet Gad 12-13to take a message to David. Gad went to David and told him:
You must choose one of three ways for the LORD to punish you: Will there be seven years when the land won't grow enough food for your people? Or will your enemies chase you and make you run from them for three months? Or will there be three days of horrible disease in your land? Think about it and decide, because I have to give your answer to God, who sent me.

14David was really frightened and said, "It's a terrible choice to make! But the LORD is kind, and I'd rather have him punish us than for anyone else to do it."
15-16So that morning, the LORD sent an angel to spread a horrible disease everywhere in Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. And before it was over, seventy thousand people had died.
When the angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD felt sorry for all the suffering he had caused and told the angel, "That's enough! Don't touch them." This happened at the threshing place that belonged to Araunah the Jebusite.
17David saw the angel killing everyone and told the LORD, "These people are like sheep with me as their shepherd. I have sinned terribly, but they have done nothing wrong. Please, punish me and my family instead of them!"

David Buys Araunah's Threshing Place
(1 Chronicles 21.18--22.1)

18-19That same day the prophet Gad came and told David, "Go to the threshing place that belongs to Araunah and build an altar there for the LORD."
So David went.
20Araunah looked and saw David and his soldiers coming up toward him. He went over to David, bowed down low, 21and said, "Your Majesty! Why have you come to see me?"
David answered, "I've come to buy your threshing place. I have to build the LORD an altar here, so this disease will stop killing the people."
22Araunah said, "Take whatever you want and offer your sacrifice. Here are some oxen for the sacrifice. You can use the threshing-boards and the wooden yokes for the fire. 23Take them--they're yours! I hope the LORD your God will be pleased with you."
24But David answered, "No! I have to pay you what they're worth. I can't offer the LORD my God a sacrifice that I got for nothing." So David bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25Then he built an altar for the LORD. He sacrificed animals and burned them on the altar.
The LORD answered the prayers of the people, and no one else died from the terrible disease.

Israel Is Unfaithful

Hosea 4 Israel, listen as the LORD accuses everyone in the land!
No one is faithful or loyal or truly cares about God.
2Cursing, dishonesty, murder, robbery, unfaithfulness--
these happen all the time.
Violence is everywhere. 3And so your land is a desert.
Every living creature is dying--
people and wild animals, birds and fish.

The LORD Warns the Priests

4Don't accuse just anyone! Not everyone is at fault.
My case is against you, the priests.
5You and the prophets will stumble day and night;
I'll silence your mothers.
6You priests have rejected me,
and my people are destroyed by refusing to obey.
Now I'll reject you and forget your children,
because you have forgotten my Law.

7By adding more of you priests,
you multiply the number of people who sin.
Now I'll change your pride into shame.
8You encourage others to sin, so you can stuff yourselves
on their sin offerings.

9That's why I will punish the people for their deeds,
just as I will punish you priests.
10Their food won't satisfy, and having sex at pagan shrines
won't produce children.
My people have rebelled

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

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