Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 129

Catch-Up Day (Isaiah 40, John 10, Psalm 23)

Bible text(s)

Words of Hope

1“Comfort my people,” says our God. “Comfort them!

2Encourage the people of Jerusalem.

Tell them they have suffered long enough

and their sins are now forgiven.

I have punished them in full for all their sins.”

3A voice cries out,

“Prepare in the wilderness a road for the LORD!

Clear the way in the desert for our God!

4Fill every valley;

level every mountain.

The hills will become a plain,

and the rough country will be made smooth.

5Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed,

and the whole human race will see it.

The LORD himself has promised this.”

6A voice cries out, “Proclaim a message!”

“What message shall I proclaim?” I ask.

“Proclaim that all human beings are like grass;

they last no longer than wild flowers.

7Grass withers and flowers fade,

when the LORD sends the wind blowing over them.

People are no more enduring than grass.

8Yes, grass withers and flowers fade,

but the word of our God endures for ever.”

9Jerusalem, go up on a high mountain

and proclaim the good news!

Call out with a loud voice, Zion;

announce the good news!

Speak out and do not be afraid.

Tell the towns of Judah

that their God is coming!

10The Sovereign LORD is coming to rule with power,

bringing with him the people he has rescued.

11He will take care of his flock like a shepherd;

he will gather the lambs together

and carry them in his arms;

he will gently lead their mothers.

Israel's Incomparable God

12Can anyone measure the ocean by handfuls

or measure the sky with his hands?

Can anyone hold the soil of the earth in a cup

or weigh the mountains and hills on scales?

13Can anyone tell the LORD what to do?

Who can teach him or give him advice?

14With whom does God consult

in order to know and understand

and to learn how things should be done?

15To the LORD the nations are nothing,

no more than a drop of water;

the distant islands are as light as dust.

16All the animals in the forests of Lebanon

are not enough for a sacrifice to our God,

and its trees are too few to kindle the fire.

17The nations are nothing at all to him.

18To whom can God be compared?

How can you describe what he is like?

19He is not like an idol that workmen make,

that metalworkers cover with gold

and set in a base of silver.

20The man who cannot afford silver or gold

chooses wood that will not rot.

He finds a skilful craftsman

to make an image that won't fall down.

21Do you not know?

Were you not told long ago?

Have you not heard how the world began?

22It was made by the one who sits on his throne

above the earth and beyond the sky;

the people below look as tiny as ants.

He stretched out the sky like a curtain,

like a tent in which to live.

23He brings down powerful rulers

and reduces them to nothing.

24They are like young plants,

just set out and barely rooted.

When the LORD sends a wind,

they dry up and blow away like straw.

25To whom can the holy God be compared?

Is there anyone else like him?

26Look up at the sky!

Who created the stars you see?

The one who leads them out like an army,

he knows how many there are

and calls each one by name!

His power is so great —

not one of them is ever missing!

27Israel, why then do you complain

that the LORD doesn't know your troubles

or care if you suffer injustice?

28Don't you know? Haven't you heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God;

he created all the world.

He never grows tired or weary.

No one understands his thoughts.

29He strengthens those who are weak and tired.

30Even those who are young grow weak;

young people can fall exhausted.

31But those who trust in the LORD for help

will find their strength renewed.

They will rise on wings like eagles;

they will run and not get weary;

they will walk and not grow weak.

The Parable of the Shepherd

1Jesus said, “I am telling you the truth: the man who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who goes in through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him; the sheep hear his voice as he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out. 4When he has brought them out, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. 5They will not follow someone else; instead, they will run away from such a person, because they do not know his voice.”

6Jesus told them this parable, but they did not understand what he meant.

Jesus the Good Shepherd

7So Jesus said again, “I am telling you the truth: I am the gate for the sheep. 8All others who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever comes in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life — life in all its fullness.

11“I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep. 12When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 13The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and does not care about the sheep. 14-15I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them. 16There are other sheep which belong to me that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them, too; they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

17“The Father loves me because I am willing to give up my life, in order that I may receive it back again. 18No one takes my life away from me. I give it up of my own free will. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it back. This is what my Father has commanded me to do.”

19Again there was a division among the people because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon! He is mad! Why do you listen to him?”

21But others were saying, “A man with a demon could not talk like this! How could a demon give sight to blind people?”

Jesus is Rejected

22It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication of the Temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem. 23Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the Temple, 24when the people gathered round him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Tell us the plain truth: are you the Messiah?”

25Jesus answered, “I have already told you, but you would not believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority speak on my behalf; 26but you will not believe, for you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me. 29What my Father has given me is greater than everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father's care. 30The Father and I are one.”

31Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him. 32Jesus said to them, “I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?”

33They replied, “We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!”

34Jesus answered, “It is written in your own Law that God said, ‘You are gods.’ 35We know that what the scripture says is true for ever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his message was given. 36As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? 37Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. 38But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father.”

39Once more they tried to seize Jesus, but he slipped out of their hands.

40Jesus then went back again across the River Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing, and he stayed there. 41Many people came to him. “John performed no miracles,” they said, “but everything he said about this man was true.” 42And many people there believed in him.

The LORD our Shepherd

1The LORD is my shepherd;

I have everything I need.

2He lets me rest in fields of green grass

and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.

3He gives me new strength.

He guides me in the right paths,

as he has promised.

4Even if I go through the deepest darkness,

I will not be afraid, LORD,

for you are with me.

Your shepherd's rod and staff protect me.

5You prepare a banquet for me,

where all my enemies can see me;

you welcome me as an honoured guest

and fill my cup to the brim.

6I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;

and your house will be my home as long as I live.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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