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

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Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
(Matthew 26.36-46; Mark 14.32-42)

Luke 22 39Jesus left the city and went, as he usually did, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples went with him. 40When he arrived at the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."
41Then he went off from them about the distance of a stone's throw and knelt down and prayed. 42"Father," he said, "if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done." 43An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44In great anguish he prayed even more fervently; his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45Rising from his prayer, he went back to the disciples and found them asleep, worn out by their grief. 46He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you will not fall into temptation."

The Arrest of Jesus
(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; John 18.3-11)

47Jesus was still speaking when a crowd arrived, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. He came up to Jesus to kiss him. 48But Jesus said, "Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?"
49When the disciples who were with Jesus saw what was going to happen, they asked, "Shall we use our swords, Lord?" 50And one of them struck the High Priest's slave and cut off his right ear.
51But Jesus said, "Enough of this!" He touched the man's ear and healed him.
52Then Jesus said to the chief priests and the officers of the Temple guard and the elders who had come there to get him, "Did you have to come with swords and clubs, as though I were an outlaw? 53I was with you in the Temple every day, and you did not try to arrest me. But this is your hour to act, when the power of darkness rules."

Peter Denies Jesus
(Matthew 26.57, 58, 69-75; Mark 14.53, 54, 66-72; John 18.12-18, 25-27)

54They arrested Jesus and took him away into the house of the High Priest; and Peter followed at a distance. 55A fire had been lit in the center of the courtyard, and Peter joined those who were sitting around it. 56When one of the servant women saw him sitting there at the fire, she looked straight at him and said, "This man too was with Jesus!"
57But Peter denied it, "Woman, I don't even know him!"
58After a little while a man noticed Peter and said, "You are one of them, too!"
But Peter answered, "Man, I am not!"
59And about an hour later another man insisted strongly, "There isn't any doubt that this man was with Jesus, because he also is a Galilean!"
60But Peter answered, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about!"
At once, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned around and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said to him, "Before the rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me." 62Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus Is Mocked and Beaten
(Matthew 26.67, 68; Mark 14.65)

63The men who were guarding Jesus made fun of him and beat him. 64They blindfolded him and asked him, "Who hit you? Guess!" 65And they said many other insulting things to him.

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

66When day came, the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law met together, and Jesus was brought before the Council. 67"Tell us," they said, "are you the Messiah?"
He answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me; 68and if I ask you a question, you will not answer. 69But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right side of Almighty God."
70They all said, "Are you, then, the Son of God?"
He answered them, "You say that I am."
71And they said, "We don't need any witnesses! We ourselves have heard what he said!"

Joseph Interprets the Prisoners' Dreams

Genesis 40 Some time later the king of Egypt's wine steward and his chief baker offended the king. 2He was angry with these two officials 3and put them in prison in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same place where Joseph was being kept. 4They spent a long time in prison, and the captain assigned Joseph as their servant.
5One night there in prison the wine steward and the chief baker each had a dream, and the dreams had different meanings. 6When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were upset. 7He asked them, "Why do you look so worried today?"
8They answered, "Each of us had a dream, and there is no one here to explain what the dreams mean."
"It is God who gives the ability to interpret dreams," Joseph said. "Tell me your dreams."
9So the wine steward said, "In my dream there was a grapevine in front of me 10with three branches on it. As soon as the leaves came out, the blossoms appeared, and the grapes ripened. 11I was holding the king's cup; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into the cup and gave it to him."
12Joseph said, "This is what it means: the three branches are three days. 13In three days the king will release you, pardon you, and restore you to your position. You will give him his cup as you did before when you were his wine steward. 14But please remember me when everything is going well for you, and please be kind enough to mention me to the king and help me get out of this prison. 15After all, I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here in Egypt I didn't do anything to deserve being put in prison."
16When the chief baker saw that the interpretation of the wine steward's dream was favorable, he said to Joseph, "I had a dream too; I was carrying three breadbaskets on my head. 17In the top basket there were all kinds of baked goods for the king, and the birds were eating them."
18Joseph answered, "This is what it means: the three baskets are three days. 19In three days the king will release you--and have your head cut off! Then he will hang your body on a pole, and the birds will eat your flesh."
20On his birthday three days later the king gave a banquet for all his officials; he released his wine steward and his chief baker and brought them before his officials. 21He restored the wine steward to his former position, 22but he executed the chief baker. It all happened just as Joseph had said. 23But the wine steward never gave Joseph another thought--he forgot all about him.

A Prayer of Trust in God

Psalm 31 I come to you, LORD, for protection;
never let me be defeated.
You are a righteous God;
save me, I pray!
2Hear me! Save me now!
Be my refuge to protect me;
my defense to save me.

3You are my refuge and defense;
guide me and lead me as you have promised.
4Keep me safe from the trap that has been set for me;
shelter me from danger.
5I place myself in your care.
You will save me, LORD;
you are a faithful God.

6You hate those who worship false gods,
but I trust in you.
7I will be glad and rejoice
because of your constant love.
You see my suffering;
you know my trouble.
8You have not let my enemies capture me;
you have given me freedom to go where I wish.

9Be merciful to me, LORD,
for I am in trouble;
my eyes are tired from so much crying;
I am completely worn out.
10I am exhausted by sorrow,
and weeping has shortened my life.
I am weak from all my troubles;
even my bones are wasting away.

11All my enemies, and especially my neighbors,
treat me with contempt.
Those who know me are afraid of me;
when they see me in the street, they run away.
12Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead;
I am like something thrown away.
13I hear many enemies whispering;
terror is all around me.
They are making plans against me,
plotting to kill me.

14But my trust is in you, O LORD;
you are my God.
15I am always in your care;
save me from my enemies,
from those who persecute me.
16Look on your servant with kindness;
save me in your constant love.
17I call to you, LORD;
don't let me be disgraced.
May the wicked be disgraced;
may they go silently down to the world of the dead.
18Silence those liars--
all the proud and arrogant
who speak with contempt about the righteous.

19How wonderful are the good things
you keep for those who honor you!
Everyone knows how good you are,
how securely you protect those who trust you.
20You hide them in the safety of your presence
from the plots of others;
in a safe shelter you hide them
from the insults of their enemies.

21Praise the LORD!
How wonderfully he showed his love for me
when I was surrounded and attacked!
22I was afraid and thought
that he had driven me out of his presence.
But he heard my cry,
when I called to him for help.

23Love the LORD, all his faithful people.
The LORD protects the faithful,
but punishes the proud as they deserve.
24Be strong, be courageous,
all you that hope in the LORD.

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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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