February 4 - Luke 24.13-53, Genesis 44 and Psalm 35
The Walk to Emmaus
They stood still, with sad faces. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn't know the things that have been happening there these last few days?"
19"What things?" he asked.
"The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth," they answered. "This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. 20Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. 21And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened. 22Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, 23but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him."
25Then Jesus said to them, "How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! 26Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?" 27And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.
28As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; 29but they held him back, saying, "Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark." So he went in to stay with them. 30He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32They said to each other, "Wasn't it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?"
33They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others 34and saying, "The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!"
35The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
37They were terrified, thinking that they were seeing a ghost. 38But he said to them, "Why are you alarmed? Why are these doubts coming up in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet, and see that it is I myself. Feel me, and you will know, for a ghost doesn't have flesh and bones, as you can see I have."
40He said this and showed them his hands and his feet. 41They still could not believe, they were so full of joy and wonder; so he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42They gave him a piece of cooked fish, 43which he took and ate in their presence.
44Then he said to them, "These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the writings of the prophets, and the Psalms had to come true."
45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, "This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, 47and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait in the city until the power from above comes down upon you."
Jesus Is Taken Up to Heaven
The Missing CupGenesis 44 Joseph commanded the servant in charge of his house, "Fill the men's sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man's money in the top of his sack. 2Put my silver cup in the top of the youngest brother's sack, together with the money for his grain." He did as he was told. 3Early in the morning the brothers were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4When they had gone only a short distance from the city, Joseph said to the servant in charge of his house, "Hurry after those men. When you catch up with them, ask them, 'Why have you paid back evil for good? 5Why did you steal my master's silver cup? It is the one he drinks from, the one he uses for divination. You have committed a serious crime!'"
6When the servant caught up with them, he repeated these words. 7They answered him, "What do you mean, sir, by talking like this? We swear that we have done no such thing. 8You know that we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money we found in the top of our sacks. Why then should we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9Sir, if any one of us is found to have it, he will be put to death, and the rest of us will become your slaves."
10He said, "I agree; but only the one who has taken the cup will become my slave, and the rest of you can go free." 11So they quickly lowered their sacks to the ground, and each man opened his sack. 12Joseph's servant searched carefully, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13The brothers tore their clothes in sorrow, loaded their donkeys, and returned to the city.
14When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there. They bowed down before him, 15and Joseph said, "What have you done? Didn't you know that a man in my position could find you out by practicing divination?"
16"What can we say to you, sir?" Judah answered. "How can we argue? How can we clear ourselves? God has uncovered our guilt. All of us are now your slaves and not just the one with whom the cup was found."
17Joseph said, "Oh, no! I would never do that! Only the one who had the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back safe and sound to your father."
Judah Pleads for Benjamin18Judah went up to Joseph and said, "Please, sir, allow me to speak with you freely. Don't be angry with me; you are like the king himself. 19Sir, you asked us, 'Do you have a father or another brother?' 20We answered, 'We have a father who is old and a younger brother, born to him in his old age. The boy's brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's children still alive; his father loves him very much.' 21Sir, you told us to bring him here, so that you could see him, 22and we answered that the boy could not leave his father; if he did, his father would die. 23Then you said, 'You will not be admitted to my presence again unless your youngest brother comes with you.'
24"When we went back to our father, we told him what you had said. 25Then he told us to return and buy a little food. 26We answered, 'We cannot go; we will not be admitted to the man's presence unless our youngest brother is with us. We can go only if our youngest brother goes also.' 27Our father said to us, 'You know that my wife Rachel bore me only two sons. 28One of them has already left me. He must have been torn to pieces by wild animals, because I have not seen him since he left. 29If you take this one from me now and something happens to him, the sorrow you would cause me would kill me, as old as I am.'
30-31"And now, sir," Judah continued, "if I go back to my father without the boy, as soon as he sees that the boy is not with me, he will die. His life is wrapped up with the life of the boy, and he is so old that the sorrow we would cause him would kill him. 32What is more, I pledged my life to my father for the boy. I told him that if I did not bring the boy back to him, I would bear the blame all my life. 33And now, sir, I will stay here as your slave in place of the boy; let him go back with his brothers. 34How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I cannot bear to see this disaster come upon my father."
A Prayer for HelpPsalm 35 Oppose those who oppose me, LORD,
and fight those who fight against me!
2Take your shield and armor
and come to my rescue.
3Lift up your spear and war ax
against those who pursue me.
Promise that you will save me.
4May those who try to kill me
be defeated and disgraced!
May those who plot against me
be turned back and confused!
5May they be like straw blown by the wind
as the angel of the LORD pursues them!
6May their path be dark and slippery
while the angel of the LORD strikes them down!
7Without any reason they laid a trap for me
and dug a deep hole to catch me.
8But destruction will catch them before they know it;
they will be caught in their own trap
and fall to their destruction!
9Then I will be glad because of the LORD;
I will be happy because he saved me.
10With all my heart I will say to the LORD,
"There is no one like you.
You protect the weak from the strong,
the poor from the oppressor."
11Evil people testify against me
and accuse me of crimes I know nothing about.
12They pay me back evil for good,
and I sink in despair.
13But when they were sick, I dressed in mourning;
I deprived myself of food;
I prayed with my head bowed low,
14as I would pray for a friend or a brother.
I went around bent over in mourning,
as one who mourns for his mother.
15But when I was in trouble, they were all glad
and gathered around to make fun of me;
strangers beat me
and kept striking me.
16Like those who would mock a cripple,
they glared at me with hate.
17How much longer, Lord, will you just look on?
Rescue me from their attacks;
save my life from these lions!
18Then I will thank you in the assembly of your people;
I will praise you before them all.
19Don't let my enemies, those liars,
gloat over my defeat.
Don't let those who hate me for no reason
smirk with delight over my sorrow.
20They do not speak in a friendly way;
instead they invent all kinds of lies about peace-loving people.
21They accuse me, shouting,
"We saw what you did!"
22But you, O LORD, have seen this.
So don't be silent, Lord;
don't keep yourself far away!
23Rouse yourself, O Lord, and defend me;
rise up, my God, and plead my cause.
24You are righteous, O LORD, so declare me innocent;
don't let my enemies gloat over me.
25Don't let them say to themselves,
"We are rid of him!
That's just what we wanted!"
26May those who gloat over my suffering
be completely defeated and confused;
may those who claim to be better than I am
be covered with shame and disgrace.
27May those who want to see me acquitted
shout for joy and say again and again,
"How great is the LORD!
He is pleased with the success of his servant."
28Then I will proclaim your righteousness,
and I will praise you all day long.
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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