Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 51

Deuteronomy 26–28, Mark 12–14

Bible text(s)

Harvest Offerings

1“After you have occupied the land that the LORD your God is giving you and have settled there, 2each of you must place in a basket the first part of each crop that you harvest and you must take it with you to the one place of worship. 3Go to the priest in charge at that time and say to him, ‘I now acknowledge to the LORD my God that I have entered the land that he promised our ancestors to give us.’

4“The priest will take the basket from you and place it before the altar of the LORD your God. 5Then, in the LORD's presence you will recite these words: ‘My ancestor was a wandering Aramean, who took his family to Egypt to live. They were few in number when they went there, but they became a large and powerful nation. 6The Egyptians treated us harshly and forced us to work as slaves. 7Then we cried out for help to the LORD, the God of our ancestors. He heard us and saw our suffering, hardship, and misery. 8By his great power and strength he rescued us from Egypt. He worked miracles and wonders, and caused terrifying things to happen. 9He brought us here and gave us this rich and fertile land. 10So now I bring to the LORD the first part of the harvest that he has given me.’

“Then set the basket down in the LORD's presence and worship there. 11Be grateful for the good things that the LORD your God has given you and your family; and let the Levites and the foreigners who live among you join in the celebration.

12“Every third year give the tithe — a tenth of your crops — to the Levites, the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows, so that in every community they will have all they need to eat. When you have done this, 13say to the LORD, ‘None of the sacred tithe is left in my house; I have given it to the Levites, the foreigners, the orphans, and the widows, as you commanded me to do. I have not disobeyed or forgotten any of your commands concerning the tithe. 14I have not eaten any of it when I was mourning; I have not taken any of it out of my house when I was ritually unclean; and I have not given any of it as an offering for the dead. I have obeyed you, O LORD; I have done everything you commanded concerning the tithe. 15Look down from your holy place in heaven and bless your people Israel; bless also the rich and fertile land that you have given us, as you promised our ancestors.’

The LORD's Own People

16“Today the LORD your God commands you to obey all his laws; so obey them faithfully with all your heart. 17Today you have acknowledged the LORD as your God; you have promised to obey him, to keep all his laws, and to do all that he commands. 18Today the LORD has accepted you as his own people, as he promised you; and he commands you to obey all his laws. 19He will make you greater than any other nation that he has created, and you will bring praise and honour to his name. You will be his own people, as he promised.”

Deuteronomy 26GNBOpen in Bible reader

God's Laws Written on Stones

1Then Moses, together with the leaders of Israel, said to the people, “Obey all the instructions that I am giving you today. 2On the day you cross the River Jordan and enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you are to set up some large stones, cover them with plaster, 3and write on them all these laws and teachings. When you have entered the rich and fertile land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you, 4and you are on the other side of the Jordan, set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I am instructing you today, and cover them with plaster. 5Build an altar there made of stones that have had no iron tools used on them, 6because any altar you build for the LORD your God must be made of uncut stones. There you are to offer the sacrifices that are to be burnt, 7and there you are to sacrifice and eat your fellowship offerings and be grateful in the presence of the LORD your God. 8On the stones covered with plaster write clearly every word of God's laws.”

9Then Moses, together with the levitical priests, said to all the people of Israel, “Give me your attention, people of Israel, and listen to me. Today you have become the people of the LORD your God; 10so obey him and keep all his laws that I am giving you today.”

The Curses on Disobedience

11Then Moses said to the people of Israel, 12“After you have crossed the Jordan, the following tribes are to stand on Mount Gerizim when the blessings are pronounced on the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. 13And the following tribes will stand on Mount Ebal when the curses are pronounced: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14The Levites will speak these words in a loud voice:

15“ ‘God's curse on anyone who makes an idol of stone, wood, or metal and secretly worships it; the LORD hates idolatry.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

16“ ‘God's curse on anyone who dishonours his father or mother.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

17“ ‘God's curse on anyone who moves a neighbour's boundary mark.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

18“ ‘God's curse on anyone who leads a blind person in the wrong direction.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

19“ ‘God's curse on anyone who deprives foreigners, orphans, and widows of their rights.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

20“ ‘God's curse on anyone who disgraces his father by having intercourse with any of his father's wives.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

21“ ‘God's curse on anyone who has sexual relations with an animal.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

22“ ‘God's curse on anyone who has intercourse with his sister or half sister.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

23“ ‘God's curse on anyone who has intercourse with his mother-in-law.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

24“ ‘God's curse on anyone who secretly commits murder.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

25“ ‘God's curse on anyone who accepts money to murder an innocent person.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

26“ ‘God's curse on anyone who does not obey all of God's laws and teachings.’

“And all the people will answer, ‘Amen!’

Deuteronomy 27GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Blessings of Obedience

(Lev 26.3–13; Deut 7.12–24)

1“If you obey the LORD your God and faithfully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, he will make you greater than any other nation on earth. 2Obey the LORD your God and all these blessings will be yours:

3“The LORD will bless your towns and your fields.

4“The LORD will bless you with many children, with abundant crops, and with many cattle and sheep.

5“The LORD will bless your corn crops and the food you prepare from them.

6“The LORD will bless everything you do.

7“The LORD will defeat your enemies when they attack you. They will attack from one direction, but they will run from you in all directions.

8“The LORD your God will bless your work and fill your barns with corn. He will bless you in the land that he is giving you.

9“If you obey the LORD your God and do everything he commands, he will make you his own people, as he has promised. 10Then all the peoples on earth will see that the LORD has chosen you to be his own people, and they will be afraid of you. 11The LORD will give you many children, many cattle, and abundant crops in the land that he promised your ancestors to give you. 12He will send rain in season from his rich storehouse in the sky and bless all your work, so that you will lend to many nations, but you will not have to borrow from any. 13The LORD your God will make you the leader among the nations and not a follower; you will always prosper and never fail if you obey faithfully all his commands that I am giving you today. 14But you must never disobey them in any way, or worship and serve other gods.

The Consequences of Disobedience

(Lev 26.14–46)

15“But if you disobey the LORD your God and do not faithfully keep all his commands and laws that I am giving you today, all these evil things will happen to you:

16“The LORD will curse your towns and your fields.

17“The LORD will curse your corn crops and the food you prepare from them.

18“The LORD will curse you by giving you only a few children, poor crops, and few cattle and sheep.

19“The LORD will curse everything you do.

20“If you do evil and reject the LORD, he will bring on you disaster, confusion, and trouble in everything you do, until you are quickly and completely destroyed. 21He will send disease after disease on you until there is not one of you left in the land that you are about to occupy. 22The LORD will strike you with infectious diseases, with swelling and fever; he will send drought and scorching winds to destroy your crops. These disasters will be with you until you die. 23No rain will fall, and your ground will become as hard as iron. 24Instead of rain, the LORD will send down duststorms and sandstorms until you are destroyed.

25“The LORD will give your enemies victory over you. You will attack them from one direction, but you will run from them in all directions, and all the people on earth will be terrified when they see what happens to you. 26When you die, birds and wild animals will come and eat your bodies, and there will be no one to scare them off. 27The LORD will send boils on you, as he did on the Egyptians. He will make your bodies break out with sores. You will be covered with scabs, and you will itch, but there will be no cure. 28The LORD will make you lose your mind; he will strike you with blindness and confusion. 29You will grope about in broad daylight like a blind person, and you will not be able to find your way. You will not prosper in anything you do. You will be constantly oppressed and robbed, and there will be no one to help you.

30“You will be engaged to a young woman — but someone else will marry her. You will build a house — but never live in it. You will plant a vineyard — but never eat its grapes. 31Your cattle will be butchered before your very eyes, but you will not eat any of the meat. Your donkeys will be dragged away while you look on, and they will not be given back to you. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and there will be no one to help you. 32Your sons and daughters will be given as slaves to foreigners while you look on. Every day you will strain your eyes, looking in vain for your children to return. 33A foreign nation will take all the crops that you have worked so hard to grow, while you receive nothing but constant oppression and harsh treatment. 34Your sufferings will make you lose your mind. 35The LORD will cover your legs with incurable, painful sores; boils will cover you from head to foot.

36“The LORD will take you and your king away to a foreign land, where neither you nor your ancestors ever lived before; there you will serve gods made of wood and stone. 37In the countries to which the LORD will scatter you, the people will be shocked at what has happened to you; they will make fun of you and ridicule you.

38“You will sow plenty of seed, but reap only a small harvest, because the locusts will eat your crops. 39You will plant vineyards and take care of them, but you will not gather their grapes or drink wine from them, because worms will eat the vines. 40Olive trees will grow everywhere in your land, but you will not have any olive oil, because the olives will drop off. 41You will have sons and daughters, but you will lose them, because they will be taken away as prisoners of war. 42All your trees and crops will be devoured by insects.

43“Foreigners who live in your land will gain more and more power, while you gradually lose yours. 44They will have money to lend you, but you will have none to lend them. In the end they will be your rulers.

45“All these disasters will come on you, and they will be with you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the LORD your God and keep all the laws that he gave you. 46They will be the evidence of God's judgement on you and your descendants for ever. 47The LORD blessed you in every way, but you would not serve him with glad and joyful hearts. 48So then, you will serve the enemies that the LORD is going to send against you. You will be hungry, thirsty, and naked — in need of everything. The LORD will oppress you harshly until you are destroyed. 49The LORD will bring against you a nation from the ends of the earth, a nation whose language you do not know. They will swoop down on you like an eagle. 50They will be ruthless and show no mercy to anyone, young or old. 51They will eat your livestock and your crops, and you will starve to death. They will not leave you any corn, wine, olive oil, cattle, or sheep; and you will die. 52They will attack every town in the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and the high, fortified walls in which you trust will fall.

53“When your enemies are besieging your towns, you will become so desperate for food that you will even eat the children that the LORD your God has given you. 54-55Even the most refined man of noble birth will become so desperate during the siege that he will eat some of his own children because he has no other food. He will not even give any to his brother or to the wife he loves or to any of his children who are left. 56-57Even the most refined woman of noble birth, so rich that she has never had to walk anywhere, will behave in the same way. When the enemy besieges her town, she will become so desperate for food that she will secretly eat her newborn child and the afterbirth as well. She will not share them with the husband she loves or with any of her children.

58“If you do not obey faithfully all God's teachings that are written in this book and if you do not honour the wonderful and awesome name of the LORD your God, 59he will send on you and on your descendants incurable diseases and horrible epidemics that can never be stopped. 60He will bring on you once again all the dreadful diseases you experienced in Egypt, and you will never recover. 61He will also send all kinds of diseases and epidemics that are not mentioned in this book of God's laws and teachings, and you will be destroyed. 62Although you become as numerous as the stars in the sky, only a few of you will survive, because you did not obey the LORD your God. 63Just as the LORD took delight in making you prosper and in making you increase in number, so he will take delight in destroying you and in bringing ruin on you. You will be uprooted from the land that you are about to occupy.

64“The LORD will scatter you among all the nations, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you will serve gods made of wood and stone, gods that neither you nor your ancestors have ever worshipped before. 65You will find no peace anywhere, no place to call your own; the LORD will overwhelm you with anxiety, hopelessness, and despair. 66Your life will always be in danger. Day and night you will be filled with terror, and you will live in constant fear of death. 67Your hearts will pound with fear at everything you see. Every morning you will wish for evening; every evening you will wish for morning. 68The LORD will send you back to Egypt in ships, even though he said that you would never have to go there again. There you will try to sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves, but no one will want to buy you.”

Deuteronomy 28GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard

(Mt 21.33–46; Lk 20.9–19)

1Then Jesus spoke to them in parables: “Once there was a man who planted a vineyard, put a fence round it, dug a hole for the winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he let out the vineyard to tenants and left home on a journey. 2When the time came to gather the grapes, he sent a slave to the tenants to receive from them his share of the harvest. 3The tenants seized the slave, beat him, and sent him back without a thing. 4Then the owner sent another slave; the tenants beat him over the head and treated him shamefully. 5The owner sent another slave, and they killed him; and they treated many others the same way, beating some and killing others. 6The only one left to send was the man's own dear son. Last of all, then, he sent his son to the tenants. ‘I am sure they will respect my son,’ he said. 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the owner's son. Come on, let's kill him, and his property will be ours!’ 8So they seized the son and killed him and threw his body out of the vineyard.

9“What, then, will the owner of the vineyard do?” asked Jesus. “He will come and kill those tenants and hand the vineyard over to others. 10Surely you have read this scripture:

‘The stone which the builders rejected as worthless

turned out to be the most important of all.

11This was done by the Lord;

what a wonderful sight it is!’ ”

12The Jewish leaders tried to arrest Jesus, because they knew that he had told this parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away.

The Question about Paying Taxes

(Mt 22.15–22; Lk 20.20–26)

13Some Pharisees and some members of Herod's party were sent to Jesus to trap him with questions. 14They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you tell the truth, without worrying about what people think. You pay no attention to anyone's status, but teach the truth about God's will for people. Tell us, is it against our Law to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor? Should we pay them or not?”

15But Jesus saw through their trick and answered, “Why are you trying to trap me? Bring a silver coin, and let me see it.”

16They brought him one, and he asked, “Whose face and name are these?”

“The Emperor's,” they answered.

17So Jesus said, “Well, then, pay the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay God what belongs to God.”

And they were amazed at Jesus.

The Question about Rising from Death

(Mt 22.23–33; Lk 20.27–40)

18Then some Sadducees, who say that people will not rise from death, came to Jesus and said, 19“Teacher, Moses wrote this law for us: ‘If a man dies and leaves a wife but no children, that man's brother must marry the widow so that they can have children who will be considered the dead man's children.’ 20Once there were seven brothers; the eldest got married and died without having children. 21Then the second one married the woman, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22and then to the rest: all seven brothers married the woman and died without having children. Last of all, the woman died. 23Now, when all the dead rise to life on the day of resurrection, whose wife will she be? All seven of them had married her.”

24Jesus answered them, “How wrong you are! And do you know why? It is because you don't know the Scriptures or God's power. 25For when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven and will not marry. 26Now, as for the dead being raised: haven't you ever read in the Book of Moses the passage about the burning bush? There it is written that God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 27He is the God of the living, not of the dead. You are completely wrong!”

The Great Commandment

(Mt 22.34–40; Lk 10.25–28)

28A teacher of the Law was there who heard the discussion. He saw that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer, so he came to him with a question: “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

29Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Listen, Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.”

32The teacher of the Law said to Jesus, “Well done, Teacher! It is true, as you say, that only the Lord is God and that there is no other god but he. 33And to love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, is more important than to offer animals and other sacrifices to God.”

34Jesus noticed how wise his answer was, and so he told him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”

After this nobody dared to ask Jesus any more questions.

The Question about the Messiah

(Mt 22.41–46; Lk 20.41–44)

35As Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he asked the question, “How can the teachers of the Law say that the Messiah will be the descendant of David? 36The Holy Spirit inspired David to say:

‘The Lord said to my Lord:

Sit here on my right

until I put your enemies under your feet.’

37David himself called him ‘Lord’; so how can the Messiah be David's descendant?”

Jesus Warns against the Teachers of the Law

(Mt 23.1–36; Lk 20.45–47)

A large crowd was listening to Jesus gladly. 38As he taught them, he said, “Watch out for the teachers of the Law, who like to walk around in their long robes and be greeted with respect in the market place, 39who choose the reserved seats in the synagogues and the best places at feasts. 40They take advantage of widows and rob them of their homes, and then make a show of saying long prayers. Their punishment will be all the worse!”

The Widow's Offering

(Lk 21.1–4)

41As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had — she gave all she had to live on.”

Jesus Speaks of the Destruction of the Temple

(Mt 24.1–2; Lk 21.5–6)

1As Jesus was leaving the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Look, Teacher! What wonderful stones and buildings!”

2Jesus answered, “You see these great buildings? Not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Troubles and Persecutions

(Mt 24.3–14; Lk 21.7–19)

3Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, across from the Temple, when Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. 4“Tell us when this will be,” they said, “and tell us what will happen to show that the time has come for all these things to take place.”

5Jesus said to them, “Be on guard, and don't let anyone deceive you. 6Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will deceive many people. 7And don't be troubled when you hear the noise of battles close by and news of battles far away. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come. 8Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be earthquakes everywhere, and there will be famines. These things are like the first pains of childbirth.

9“You yourselves must be on guard. You will be arrested and taken to court. You will be beaten in the synagogues; you will stand before rulers and kings for my sake to tell them the Good News. 10But before the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all peoples. 11And when you are arrested and taken to court, do not worry beforehand about what you are going to say; when the time comes, say whatever is then given to you. For the words you speak will not be yours; they will come from the Holy Spirit. 12Men will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children. Children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 13Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.

The Awful Horror

(Mt 24.15–28; Lk 21.20–24)

14“You will see ‘The Awful Horror’ standing in the place where he should not be.” (Note to the reader: be sure to understand what this means!) “Then those who are in Judea must run away to the hills. 15Someone who is on the roof of his house must not lose time by going down into the house to get anything to take with him. 16Someone who is in the field must not go back to the house for his cloak. 17How terrible it will be in those days for women who are pregnant and for mothers with little babies! 18Pray to God that these things will not happen in the winter! 19For the trouble of those days will be far worse than any the world has ever known from the very beginning when God created the world until the present time. Nor will there ever be anything like it again. 20But the Lord has reduced the number of those days; if he had not, nobody would survive. For the sake of his chosen people, however, he has reduced those days.

21“Then, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ — do not believe him. 22For false Messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will perform miracles and wonders in order to deceive even God's chosen people, if possible. 23Be on your guard! I have told you everything before the time comes.

The Coming of the Son of Man

(Mt 24.29–31; Lk 21.25–28)

24“In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine, 25the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses. 26Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27He will send the angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather God's chosen people from one end of the world to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

(Mt 24.32–35; Lk 21.29–33)

28“Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near. 29In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin. 30Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

No one Knows the Day or Hour

(Mt 24.36–44)

32“No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows. 33Be on watch, be alert, for you do not know when the time will come. 34It will be like a man who goes away from home on a journey and leaves his servants in charge, after giving to each one his own work to do and after telling the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35Be on guard, then, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming — it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or at sunrise. 36If he comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep. 37What I say to you, then, I say to all: watch!”

The Plot against Jesus

(Mt 26.1–5; Lk 22.1–2; Jn 11.45–53)

1It was now two days before the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the teachers of the Law were looking for a way to arrest Jesus secretly and put him to death. 2“We must not do it during the festival,” they said, “or the people might riot.”

Jesus is Anointed at Bethany

(Mt 26.6–13; Jn 12.1–8)

3Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. 4Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, “What was the use of wasting the perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than 300 silver coins and the money given to the poor!” And they criticized her harshly.

6But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. 7You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial. 9Now, I assure you that wherever the gospel is preached all over the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

(Mt 26.14–16; Lk 22.3–6)

10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them. 11They were pleased to hear what he had to say, and promised to give him money. So Judas started looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them.

Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with his Disciples

(Mt 26.17–25; Lk 22.7–14, 21–23; Jn 13.21–30)

12On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?”

13Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him 14to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: ‘The Teacher says, Where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?’ 15Then he will show you a large upstairs room, prepared and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us.”

16The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

17When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve disciples. 18While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you that one of you will betray me — one who is eating with me.”

19The disciples were upset and began to ask him, one after the other, “Surely you don't mean me, do you?”

20Jesus answered, “It will be one of you twelve, one who dips his bread in the dish with me. 21The Son of Man will die as the Scriptures say he will; but how terrible for that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born!”

The Lord's Supper

(Mt 26.26–30; Lk 22.14–20; 1 Cor 11.23–25)

22While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take it,” he said, “this is my body.”

23Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and handed it to them; and they all drank from it. 24Jesus said, “This is my blood which is poured out for many, my blood which seals God's covenant. 25I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine in the Kingdom of God.”

26Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial

(Mt 26.31–35; Lk 22.31–34; Jn 13.36–38)

27Jesus said to them, “All of you will run away and leave me, for the scripture says, ‘God will kill the shepherd, and the sheep will all be scattered.’ 28But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you.”

29Peter answered, “I will never leave you, even though all the rest do!”

30Jesus said to Peter, “I tell you that before the cock crows twice tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.”

31Peter answered even more strongly, “I will never say that, even if I have to die with you!”

And all the other disciples said the same thing.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

(Mt 26.36–46; Lk 22.39–46)

32They came to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took Peter, James, and John with him. Distress and anguish came over him, 34and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch.”

35He went a little farther on, threw himself on the ground, and prayed that, if possible, he might not have to go through that time of suffering. 36“Father,” he prayed, “my Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

37Then he returned and found the three disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Weren't you able to stay awake even for one hour?” 38And he said to them, “Keep watch, and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39He went away once more and prayed, saying the same words. 40Then he came back to the disciples and found them asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. And they did not know what to say to him.

41When he came back the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come! Look, the Son of Man is now being handed over to the power of sinners. 42Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!”

The Arrest of Jesus

(Mt 26.47–56; Lk 22.47–53; Jn 18.3–12)

43Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, and sent by the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders. 44The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him and take him away under guard.”

45As soon as Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus and said, “Teacher!” and kissed him. 46So they arrested Jesus and held him tight. 47But one of those standing there drew his sword and struck at the High Priest's slave, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus spoke up and said to them, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw? 49Day after day I was with you teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must come true.”

50Then all the disciples left him and ran away.

51A certain young man, dressed only in a linen cloth, was following Jesus. They tried to arrest him, 52but he ran away naked, leaving the cloth behind.

Jesus before the Council

(Mt 26.57–68; Lk 22.54–55, 63–71; Jn 18.13–14, 19–24)

53Then Jesus was taken to the High Priest's house, where all the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the Law were gathering. 54Peter followed from a distance and went into the courtyard of the High Priest's house. There he sat down with the guards, keeping himself warm by the fire. 55The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some evidence against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many witnesses told lies against Jesus, but their stories did not agree.

57Then some men stood up and told this lie against Jesus: 58“We heard him say, ‘I will tear down this Temple which men have made, and after three days I will build one that is not made by men.’ ” 59Not even they, however, could make their stories agree.

60The High Priest stood up in front of them all and questioned Jesus, “Have you no answer to the accusation they bring against you?”

61But Jesus kept quiet and would not say a word. Again the High Priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”

62“I am,” answered Jesus, “and you will all see the Son of Man seated on the right of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven!”

63The High Priest tore his robes and said, “We don't need any more witnesses! 64You heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?”

They all voted against him: he was guilty and should be put to death.

65Some of them began to spit on Jesus, and they blindfolded him and hit him. “Guess who hit you!” they said. And the guards took him and slapped him.

Peter Denies Jesus

(Mt 26.69–75; Lk 22.56–62; Jn 18.15–18, 25–27)

66Peter was still down in the courtyard when one of the High Priest's servant women came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him and said, “You, too, were with Jesus of Nazareth.”

68But he denied it. “I don't know… I don't understand what you are talking about,” he answered, and went out into the passage. Just then a cock crowed.

69The servant woman saw him there and began to repeat to the bystanders, “He is one of them!” 70But Peter denied it again.

A little while later the bystanders accused Peter again, “You can't deny that you are one of them, because you, too, are from Galilee.”

71Then Peter said, “I swear that I am telling the truth! May God punish me if I am not! I do not know the man you are talking about!”

72Just then a cock crowed a second time, and Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will say three times that you do not know me.” And he broke down and cried.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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