April 6 - Matthew 27.1-31, 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 in the morning all the chief priests and the elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death. 2They put him in chains, led him off, and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor.

The Death of Judas
(Acts 1.18, 19)

3When Judas, the traitor, learned that Jesus had been condemned, he repented and took back the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4"I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death!" he said.
"What do we care about that?" they answered. "That is your business!"
5Judas threw the coins down in the Temple and left; then he went off and hanged himself.
6The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "This is blood money, and it is against our Law to put it in the Temple treasury." 7After reaching an agreement about it, they used the money to buy Potter's Field, as a cemetery for foreigners. 8That is why that field is called "Field of Blood" to this very day.
9Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: "They took the thirty silver coins, the amount the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him, 10and used the money to buy the 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 stood before the Roman governor, who questioned him. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked.
"So you say," answered Jesus. 12But he said nothing in response to the accusations of the chief priests and elders.
13So Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear all these things they accuse you of ?"
14But Jesus refused to answer a single word, with the result that the Governor was greatly surprised.

Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
(Mark 15.6-15; Luke 23.13-25; John 18.39--19.16)

15At every Passover Festival the Roman governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the crowd asked for. 16At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?" 18He knew very well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
19While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: "Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night I suffered much on account of him."
20The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death. 21But Pilate asked the crowd, "Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?"
"Barabbas!" they answered.
22"What, then, shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?" Pilate asked them.
"Crucify him!" they all answered.
23But Pilate asked, "What crime has he committed?"
Then they started shouting at the top of their voices: "Crucify him!"
24When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on, but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, "I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!"
25The whole crowd answered, "Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and on our children!"
26Then Pilate set Barabbas free for them; and after he had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
(Mark 15.16-20; John 19.2, 3)

27Then Pilate's soldiers took Jesus into the governor's palace, and the whole company gathered around him. 28They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. 29Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand; then they knelt before him and made fun of him. "Long live the King of the Jews!" they said. 30They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head. 31When they had finished making fun of him, they took the robe off and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Ten Commandments
(Exodus 20.1-17)

Deuteronomy 5 Moses called together all the people of Israel and said to them, "People of Israel, listen to all the laws that I am giving you today. Learn them and be sure that you obey them. 2At Mount Sinai the LORD our God made a covenant, 3not only with our fathers, but with all of us who are living today. 4There on the mountain the LORD spoke to you face-to-face from the fire. 5I stood between you and the LORD at that time to tell you what he said, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.
"The LORD said, 6'I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves.
7"'Worship no god but me.
8"'Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. 9Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, for I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. 10But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my laws.
11"'Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the LORD your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.
12"'Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy, as I, the LORD your God, have commanded you. 13You have six days in which to do your work, 14but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work--neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. Your slaves must rest just as you do. 15Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and that I, the LORD your God, rescued you by my great power and strength. That is why I command you to observe the Sabbath.
16"'Respect your father and your mother, as I, the LORD your God, command you, so that all may go well with you and so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.
17"'Do not commit murder.
18"'Do not commit adultery.
19"'Do not steal.
20"'Do not accuse anyone falsely.
21"'Do not desire another man's wife; do not desire his house, his land, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.'
22"These are the commandments the LORD gave to all of you when you were gathered at the mountain. When he spoke with a mighty voice from the fire and from the thick clouds, he gave these commandments and no others. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

The People's Fear
(Exodus 20.18-21)

23"When the whole mountain was on fire and you heard the voice from the darkness, your leaders and the chiefs of your tribes came to me 24and said, 'The LORD our God showed us his greatness and his glory when we heard him speak from the fire! Today we have seen that it is possible for people to continue to live, even though God has spoken to them. 25But why should we risk death again? That terrible fire will destroy us. We are sure to die if we hear the LORD our God speak again. 26Has any human being ever lived after hearing the living God speak from a fire? 27Go back, Moses, and listen to everything that the LORD our God says. Then return and tell us what he said to you. We will listen and obey.'
28"When the LORD heard this, he said to me, 'I have heard what these people said, and they are right. 29If only they would always feel this way! If only they would always honor me and obey all my commands, so that everything would go well with them and their descendants forever. 30Go and tell them to return to their tents. 31But you, Moses, stay here with me, and I will give you all my laws and commands. Teach them to the people, so that they will obey them in the land that I am giving them.'
32"People of Israel, be sure that you do everything that the LORD your God has commanded you. Do not disobey any of his laws. 33Obey them all, so that everything will go well with you and so that you will continue to live in the land that you are going to occupy.

The Great Commandment

Deuteronomy 6 "These are all the laws that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you. Obey them in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. 2As long as you live, you and your descendants are to honor the LORD your God and obey all his laws that I am giving you, so that you may live in that land a long time. 3Listen to them, people of Israel, and obey them! Then all will go well with you, and you will become a mighty nation and live in that rich and fertile land, just as the LORD, the God of our ancestors, has promised.
4"Israel, remember this! The LORD--and the LORD alone--is our God. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. 7Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. 8Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. 9Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.

Warning against Disobedience

10"Just as the LORD your God promised your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he will give you a land with large and prosperous cities which you did not build. 11The houses will be full of good things which you did not put in them, and there will be wells that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant. When the LORD brings you into this land and you have all you want to eat, 12make certain that you do not forget the LORD who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 13Honor the LORD your God, worship only him, and make your promises in his name alone. 14Do not worship other gods, any of the gods of the peoples around you. 15If you do worship other gods, the LORD's anger will come against you like fire and will destroy you completely, because the LORD your God, who is present with you, tolerates no rivals.
16"Do not put the LORD your God to the test, as you did at Massah. 17Be sure that you obey all the laws that he has given you. 18Do what the LORD says is right and good, and all will go well with you. You will be able to take possession of the fertile land that the LORD promised your ancestors, 19and you will drive out your enemies, as he promised.
20"In times to come your children will ask you, 'Why did the LORD our God command us to obey all these laws?' 21Then tell them, 'We were slaves of the king of Egypt, and the LORD rescued us by his great power. 22With our own eyes we saw him work miracles and do terrifying things to the Egyptians and to their king and to all his officials. 23He freed us from Egypt to bring us here and give us this land, as he had promised our ancestors he would. 24Then the LORD our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to honor him. If we do, he will always watch over our nation and keep it prosperous. 25If we faithfully obey everything that God has commanded us, he will be pleased with us.'

Job 6

1-2If my troubles and griefs were weighed on scales,
3 they would weigh more than the sands of the sea,
so my wild words should not surprise you.
4Almighty God has shot me with arrows,
and their poison spreads through my body.
God has lined up his terrors against me.

5A donkey is content when eating grass,
and a cow is quiet when eating hay.
6But who can eat flat, unsalted food?
What taste is there in the white of an egg?
7I have no appetite for food like that,
and everything I eat makes me sick.

8Why won't God give me what I ask?
Why won't he answer my prayer?
9If only he would go ahead and kill me!
10If I knew he would, I would leap for joy,
no matter how great my pain.
I know that God is holy;
I have never opposed what he commands.
11What strength do I have to keep on living?
Why go on living when I have no hope?
12Am I made of stone? Is my body bronze?
13I have no strength left to save myself;
there is nowhere I can turn for help.

14In trouble like this I need loyal friends--
whether I've forsaken God or not.
15But you, my friends, you deceive me like streams
that go dry when no rain comes.
16The streams are choked with snow and ice,
17 but in the heat they disappear,
and the stream beds lie bare and dry.
18Caravans get lost looking for water;
they wander and die in the desert.
19Caravans from Sheba and Tema search,
20 but their hope dies beside dry streams.
21You are like those streams to me,
you see my fate and draw back in fear.
22Have I asked you to give me a gift
or to bribe someone on my behalf
23 or to save me from some enemy or tyrant?

24All right, teach me; tell me my faults.
I will be quiet and listen to you.
25Honest words are convincing,
but you are talking nonsense.
26You think I am talking nothing but wind;
then why do you answer my words of despair?
27You would even roll dice for orphan slaves
and make yourselves rich off your closest friends!
28Look me in the face. I won't lie.
29You have gone far enough. Stop being unjust.
Don't condemn me. I'm in the right.
30But you think I am lying--
you think I can't tell right from wrong.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

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