January 27 - Luke 20.1-26, Genesis 35-36 and Psalm 27

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A Question about Jesus' Authority
(Matthew 21.23-27; Mark 11.27-33)

Luke 20 One day, Jesus was teaching in the temple and telling the good news. So the chief priests, the teachers, and the nation's leaders 2asked him, "What right do you have to do these things? Who gave you this authority?"
3Jesus replied, "I want to ask you a question. 4Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God in heaven or merely some human being?"
5They talked this over and said to each other, "We can't say that God gave John this right. Jesus will ask us why we didn't believe John. 6And we can't say that it was merely some human who gave John the right to baptize. The crowd will stone us to death, because they think John was a prophet."
7So they told Jesus, "We don't know who gave John the right to baptize."
8Jesus replied, "Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do."

Renters of a Vineyard
(Matthew 21.33-46; Mark 12.1-12)

9Jesus told the people this story:
A man once planted a vineyard and rented it out. Then he left the country for a long time. 10When it was time to harvest the crop, he sent a servant to ask the renters for his share of the grapes. But they beat up the servant and sent him away without anything. 11So the owner sent another servant. The renters also beat him up. They insulted him terribly and sent him away without a thing. 12The owner sent a third servant. He was also beaten terribly and thrown out of the vineyard.
13The owner then said to himself, "What am I going to do? I know what. I'll send my son, the one I love so much. They will surely respect him!"
14When the renters saw the owner's son, they said to one another, "Someday he will own the vineyard. Let's kill him! Then we can have it all for ourselves." 15So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

Jesus asked, "What do you think the owner of the vineyard will do? 16I'll tell you what. He will come and kill those renters and let someone else have his vineyard."
When the people heard this, they said, "This must never happen!"
17But Jesus looked straight at them and said, "Then what do the Scriptures mean when they say, 'The stone that the builders tossed aside is now the most important stone of all'? 18Anyone who stumbles over this stone will get hurt, and anyone it falls on will be smashed to pieces."
19The chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses knew that Jesus was talking about them when he was telling this story. They wanted to arrest him right then, but they were afraid of the people.

Paying Taxes
(Matthew 22.15-22; Mark 12.13-17)

20Jesus' enemies kept watching him closely, because they wanted to hand him over to the Roman governor. So they sent some men who pretended to be good. But they were really spies trying to catch Jesus saying something wrong. 21The spies said to him, "Teacher, we know that you teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are. 22Tell us, should we pay taxes to the Emperor or not?"
23Jesus knew that they were trying to trick him. So he told them, 24"Show me a coin." Then he asked, "Whose picture and name are on it?"
"The Emperor's," they answered.
25Then he told them, "Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God." 26Jesus' enemies could not catch him saying anything wrong there in front of the people. They were amazed at his answer and kept quiet.

Jacob Returns to Bethel

Genesis 35 God told Jacob, "Return to Bethel, where I appeared to you when you were running from your brother Esau. Make your home there and build an altar for me."
2Jacob said to his family and to everyone else who was traveling with him:
Get rid of your foreign gods! Then make yourselves acceptable to worship God and put on clean clothes. 3Afterwards, we'll go to Bethel. I will build an altar there for God, who answered my prayers when I was in trouble and who has always been at my side.

4So everyone gave Jacob their idols and their earrings, and he buried them under the oak tree near Shechem.
5While Jacob and his family were traveling through Canaan, God terrified the people in the towns so much that no one dared bother them. 6Finally, they reached Bethel, also known as Luz. 7Jacob built an altar there and called it "God of Bethel," because that was the place where God had appeared to him when he was running from Esau. 8While they were there, Rebekah's personal servant Deborah died. They buried her under an oak tree and called it "Weeping Oak."

God Blesses Jacob at Bethel

9-11After Jacob came back to the land of Canaan, God appeared to him again. This time he gave Jacob a new name and blessed him by saying:
I am God All-Powerful, and from now on your name will be Israel instead of Jacob. You will have many children. Your descendants will become nations, and some of the men in your family will even be kings. 12I will give you the land that I promised Abraham and Isaac, and it will belong to your family forever.

13After God had gone, 14Jacob set up a large rock, so that he would remember what had happened there. Then he poured wine and olive oil on the rock to show that it was dedicated to God, 15and he named the place Bethel.

Benjamin Is Born

16Jacob and his family had left Bethel and were still a long way from Ephrath, when the time came for Rachel's baby to be born. 17She was having a rough time, but the woman who was helping her said, "Don't worry! It's a boy." 18Rachel was at the point of death, and right before dying, she said, "I'll name him Benoni." But Jacob called him Benjamin.
19Rachel was buried beside the road to Ephrath, which is also called Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a tombstone over her grave, and it is still there. 21Jacob, also known as Israel, traveled to the south of Eder Tower, where he set up camp.
22During their time there, Jacob's oldest son Reuben slept with Bilhah, who was one of Jacob's other wives. And Jacob found out about it.

Jacob's Twelve Sons

23-26Jacob had twelve sons while living in northern Syria. His first-born Reuben was the son of Leah, who later gave birth to Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Leah's servant Zilpah had two sons: Gad and Asher.
Jacob and his wife Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel's servant woman Bilhah had two more sons: Dan and Naphtali.

Isaac Dies

27Jacob went to his father Isaac at Hebron, also called Mamre or Kiriath-Arba, where Isaac's father Abraham had lived as a foreigner. 28-29Isaac died at the ripe old age of one hundred eighty, then his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Esau's Family

Genesis 36 Esau, also known as Edom, had many descendants. 2He married three Canaanite women: The first was Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite; the second was Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3the third was Basemath, who was Ishmael's daughter and Nebaioth's sister.
4-5Esau and his three wives had five sons while in Canaan. Adah's son was Eliphaz; Basemath's son was Reuel; Oholibamah's three sons were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
6Esau took his children and wives, his relatives and servants, his animals and possessions he had gotten while in Canaan, and moved far from Jacob. 7He did this because the land was too crowded and could not support him and his brother with their flocks and herds. 8That's why Esau made his home in the hill country of Seir.
9-14Esau lived in the hill country of Seir and was the ancestor of the Edomites. Esau had three wives: Adah, Basemath, and Oholibamah. Here is a list of his descendants: Esau and Adah had a son named Eliphaz, whose sons were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. Timna was the other wife of Esau's son Eliphaz, and she had a son named Amalek.
Esau and Basemath had a son named Reuel, whose sons were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
Esau and Oholibamah had three sons: Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

Chiefs and Leaders in Edom

15Esau and Adah's oldest son was Eliphaz, and the clans that descended from him were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16Korah, Gatam, and Amalek. These and Esau's other descendants lived in the land of Edom.
17The clans that descended from Esau and Basemath's son Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
18The clans that descended from Esau and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah were Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. 19All of these clans descended from Esau, who was known as Edom.
20Seir was from the Horite tribe that had lived in Edom before the time of Esau. The clans that had descended from him were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.
22Lotan's sons were Hori and Heman; his sister was Timna.
23Shobal's sons were Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
24Zibeon's sons were Aiah and Anah--the same Anah who found an oasis in the desert while taking the donkeys of his father out to pasture.
25Anah's children were Dishon and Oholibamah.
26Dishon's sons were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.
27Ezer's sons were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.
28Dishan's sons were Uz and Aran.
29The clans of the Horites were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan, and they lived in the land of Seir.
31-39Before there were kings in Israel, the following kings ruled Edom one after another:
Bela son of Beor from Dinhabah;
Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah;
Husham from the land of Teman;
Hadad son of Bedad from Avith (Bedad had defeated the Midianites in Moab);
Samlah from Masrekah;
Shaul from the city of Rehoboth on the Euphrates River;
Baalhanan son of Achbor;
Hadar from the city of Pau (his wife Mehetabel was the daughter of Matred and the granddaughter of Mezahab).
40The clans that descended from Esau took their names from their families and the places where they lived. They are Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43Magdiel, and Iram. These clans descended from Esau, who was known as Edom, the father of the Edomites. They took their names from the places where they settled.

Psalm 27
[By David.]
A Prayer of Praise

1You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe.
I am not afraid of anyone.
You protect me, and I have no fears.
2Brutal people may attack and try to kill me,
but they will stumble.
Fierce enemies may attack, but they will fall.
3Armies may surround me, but I won't be afraid;
war may break out, but I will trust you.

4I ask only one thing, LORD:
Let me live in your house every day of my life
to see how wonderful you are
and to pray in your temple.

5In times of trouble, you will protect me.
You will hide me in your tent
and keep me safe on top of a mighty rock.
6You will let me defeat all of my enemies.
Then I will celebrate, as I enter your tent
with animal sacrifices and songs of praise.

7Please listen when I pray!
Have pity. Answer my prayer.
8My heart tells me to pray.
I am eager to see your face,
9so don't hide from me.
I am your servant, and you have helped me.
Don't turn from me in anger.
You alone keep me safe. Don't reject or desert me.
10Even if my father and mother should desert me,
you will take care of me.

11Teach me to follow, LORD,
and lead me on the right path
because of my enemies.
12Don't let them do to me what they want.
People tell lies about me and make terrible threats,
13but I know I will live to see how kind you are.

14Trust the LORD! Be brave and strong and trust the LORD.

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

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