Deut 15-18; Psalm 115; Luke 9
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
‘At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release.
And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the LORD’s release has been proclaimed.
Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release.
But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess–
if only you will strictly obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all this commandment that I command you today.
For the LORD your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you.
‘If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,
but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.
Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin.
You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’
‘If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.
And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed.
You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.
You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today.
But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you,
then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your slave forever. And to your female slave you shall do the same.
It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired servant he has served you six years. So the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.
‘All the firstborn males that are born of your herd and flock you shall dedicate to the LORD your God. You shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.
You shall eat it, you and your household, before the LORD your God year by year at the place that the LORD will choose.
But if it has any blemish, if it is lame or blind or has any serious blemish whatever, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
You shall eat it within your towns. The unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as though it were a gazelle or a deer.
Only you shall not eat its blood; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.
‘Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night.
And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the LORD your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the LORD will choose, to make his name dwell there.
You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction–for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste–that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.
No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning.
You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you,
but at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt.
And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the LORD your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents.
For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD your God. You shall do no work on it.
‘You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain.
Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you.
And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name dwell there.
You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.
‘You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress.
You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns.
For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place that the LORD will choose, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.
‘Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.
‘You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.
You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.
Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
‘You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the LORD your God that you shall make.
And you shall not set up a pillar, which the LORD your God hates.
‘You shall not sacrifice to the LORD your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the LORD your God.
‘If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant,
and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden,
and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel,
then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones.
On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
‘If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns that is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the LORD your God will choose.
And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision.
Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the LORD will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you.
According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left.
The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.
And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again.
‘When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’
you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’
And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
‘And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.
And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them,
that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
‘The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the LORD’s food offerings as their inheritance.
They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.
And this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach.
The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
For the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for all time.
‘And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives–and he may come when he desires–to the place that the LORD will choose,
and ministers in the name of the LORD his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the LORD,
then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.
‘When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations.
There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer
or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer,
for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.
You shall be blameless before the LORD your God,
for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen–
just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’
And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’
And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’–
when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say, ”Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
O Israel, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield.
The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron;
he will bless those who fear the LORD, both the small and the great.
May the LORD give you increase, you and your children!
May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any who go down into silence.
But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,
and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
And he said to them, ”Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.
And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.
And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”
And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead,
by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen.
Herod said, ”John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.
On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida.
When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.
Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, ”Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.”
But he said to them, ”You give them something to eat.” They said, ”We have no more than five loaves and two fish–unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.”
For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, ”Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.”
And they did so, and had them all sit down.
And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, ”Who do the crowds say that I am?”
And they answered, ”John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.”
Then he said to them, ”But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, ”The Christ of God.”
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,
saying, ”The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
And he said to all, ”If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ”Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”–not knowing what he said.
As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ”This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.
And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, ”Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and shatters him, and will hardly leave him.
And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”
Jesus answered, ”O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”
While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
And all were astonished at the majesty of God.But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples,
‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.
But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side
and said to them, ”Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
John answered, ”Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.”
But Jesus said to him, ”Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him.
But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.
And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ”Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
But he turned and rebuked them.
And they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, ”I will follow you wherever you go.”
And Jesus said to him, ”Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
To another he said, ”Follow me.” But he said, ”Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
And Jesus said to him, ”Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Yet another said, ”I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
Jesus said to him, ”No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”