January 31 - Luke 22.39-71, Genesis 40 and Psalm 31

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Jesus Prays
(Matthew 26.36-46; Mark 14.32-42)

Luke 22 39Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. 40When they got there, he told them, "Pray that you won't be tested."
41Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, 42"Father, if you will, please don't make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want."
43Then an angel from heaven came to help him. 44Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood.
45Jesus got up from praying and went over to his disciples. They were asleep and worn out from being so sad. 46He said to them, "Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won't be tested."

Jesus Is Arrested
(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; John 18.3-11)

47While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. It was led by Judas, one of the twelve apostles. He went over to Jesus and greeted him with a kiss.
48Jesus asked Judas, "Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
49When Jesus' disciples saw what was about to happen, they asked, "Lord, should we attack them with a sword?" 50One of the disciples even struck at the high priest's servant with his sword and cut off the servant's right ear.
51"Enough of that!" Jesus said. Then he touched the servant's ear and healed it.
52Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the temple police, and the leaders who had come to arrest him. He said, "Why do you come out with swords and clubs and treat me like a criminal? 53I was with you every day in the temple, and you didn't arrest me. But this is your time, and darkness is in control."

Peter Says He Doesn't Know Jesus
(Matthew 26.57, 58, 67-75; Mark 14.53, 54, 66-72; John 18.12-18, 25-27)

54Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance. 55Some people built a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting around it. Peter sat there with them, 56and a servant girl saw him. Then after she had looked at him carefully, she said, "This man was with Jesus!"
57Peter said, "Woman, I don't even know that man!"
58A little later someone else saw Peter and said, "You are one of them!"
"No, I'm not!" Peter replied.
59About an hour later another man insisted, "This man must have been with Jesus. They both come from Galilee."
60Peter replied, "I don't know what you are talking about!" Right then, while Peter was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
61The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered that the Lord had said, "Before a rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say three times that you don't know me." 62Then Peter went out and cried hard.
63The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him and beat him. 64They put a blindfold on him and said, "Tell us who struck you!" 65They kept on insulting Jesus in many other ways.

Jesus Is Questioned by the Council
(Matthew 26.59-66; Mark 14.55-64; John 18.19-24)

66At daybreak the nation's leaders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law of Moses got together and brought Jesus before their council. 67They said, "Tell us! Are you the Messiah?"
Jesus replied, "If I said so, you wouldn't believe me. 68And if I asked you a question, you wouldn't answer. 69But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right side of God All-Powerful."
70Then they asked, "Are you the Son of God?"
Jesus answered, "You say I am!"
71They replied, "Why do we need more witnesses? He said it himself!"

Joseph Tells the Meaning of the Prisoners' Dreams

Genesis 40 1-3While Joseph was in prison, both the king's personal servant and his chief cook made the king angry. So he had them thrown into the same prison with Joseph. 4They spent a long time in prison, and Potiphar, the official in charge of the palace guard, made Joseph their servant.
5One night each of the two men had a dream, but their dreams had different meanings. 6The next morning, when Joseph went to see the men, he could tell they were upset, 7and he asked, "Why are you so worried today?"
8"We each had a dream last night," they answered, "and there is no one to tell us what they mean."
Joseph replied, "Doesn't God know the meaning of dreams? Now tell me what you dreamed."
9The king's personal servant told Joseph, "In my dream I saw a vine 10with three branches. As soon as it budded, it blossomed, and its grapes became ripe. 11I held the king's cup and squeezed the grapes into it, then I gave the cup to the king."
12Joseph said:
This is the meaning of your dream. The three branches stand for three days, 13and in three days the king will pardon you. He will make you his personal servant again, and you will serve him his wine, just as you used to do. 14But when these good things happen, please don't forget to tell the king about me, so I can get out of this place. 15I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and here in Egypt I haven't done anything to deserve being thrown in jail.

16When the chief cook saw that Joseph had given a good meaning to the dream, he told Joseph, "I also had a dream. In it I was carrying three breadbaskets stacked on top of my head. 17The top basket was full of all kinds of baked things for the king, but birds were eating them."
18Joseph said:
This is the meaning of your dream. The three baskets are three days, 19and in three days the king will cut off your head. He will hang your body on a pole, and birds will come and peck at it.

20Three days later, while the king was celebrating his birthday with a dinner for his officials, he sent for his personal servant and the chief cook. 21He put the personal servant back in his old job 22and had the cook put to death.
Everything happened just as Joseph had said it would, 23but the king's personal servant completely forgot about Joseph.

Psalm 31
[A psalm by David for the music leader.]
A Prayer for Protection

1I come to you, LORD, for protection.
Don't let me be ashamed.
Do as you have promised and rescue me.
2Listen to my prayer and hurry to save me.
Be my mighty rock
and the fortress where I am safe.

3You, LORD God, are my mighty rock and my fortress.
Lead me and guide me,
so that your name will be honored.
4Protect me from hidden traps and keep me safe.
5You are faithful,
and I trust you because you rescued me.

6I hate the worshipers of worthless idols,
but I trust you, LORD.
7I celebrate and shout because you are kind.
You saw all my suffering, and you cared for me.
8You kept me from the hands of my enemies,
and you set me free.

9Have pity, LORD! I am hurting and almost blind.
My whole body aches.
10I have known only sorrow all my life long,
and I suffer year after year.
I am weak from sin, and my bones are limp.

11My enemies insult me. Neighbors are even worse,
and I disgust my friends.
People meet me on the street, and they turn and run.
12I am completely forgotten like someone dead.
I am merely a broken dish.
13I hear the crowds whisper, "Everyone is afraid!"
They are plotting and scheming to murder me.

14But I trust you, LORD, and I claim you as my God.
15My life is in your hands.
Save me from enemies who hunt me down.
16Smile on me, your servant. Have pity and rescue me.

17I pray only to you. Don't disappoint me.
Disappoint my cruel enemies
until they lie silent in their graves.
18Silence those proud liars!
Make them stop bragging and insulting your people.

19You are wonderful, and while everyone watches,
you store up blessings for all
who honor and trust you.
20You are their shelter from harmful plots,
and you are their protection from vicious gossip.

21I will praise you, LORD, for showing great kindness
when I was like a city under attack.
22I was terrified and thought,
"They've chased me far away from you!"
But you answered my prayer when I shouted for help.

23All who belong to the LORD, show how you love him.
The LORD protects the faithful,
but he severely punishes everyone who is proud.
24All who trust the LORD, be cheerful and strong.

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

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