You know the difference between right and wrong. You know the difference between good and bad. You know what you are supposed to do and supposed to avoid. So what will you do about it? Do you realize the benefits of obedience? Do you realize the danger of disobedience? Do you have any markets to remind you? Do you have any markets to bring back memories of all God has done in and through you? Do you have any markets to bring back memories of when you didn’t do it God’s way and the repercussions?
Today’s reading calls out some of the benefits such as:
16“This day Adonai your God is commanding you to do these statutes and ordinances—so you are to take care and do them with all your heart and with all your soul.
17Today you have affirmed Adonai as your God, that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, mitzvot and ordinances, and listen to His voice.
18Now today Adonai has affirmed you as His treasured people, as He promised you; that you are to keep all His mitzvot; 19that He will set you high above all the nations He has made, for praise, fame and honor; and that you are to be a holy people to Adonai your God, as He has promised.”
–from Deuteronomy 26
So let’s dive into today’s reading…
Justice From the Court
1“Suppose there is a dispute between people and they approach the court, the judges hear their case, and declare one righteous and the other guilty. 2Now if the guilty one deserves to be flogged, the judge is to make him lie down and be flogged before him, with the number of lashes in proportion to his guilt. 3He may strike him 40 times but no more. Otherwise he would beat him with too many a wound beyond these, and your brother would be degraded in your eyes. 4“You are not to muzzle the ox while it is threshing. 5“If brothers dwell together and one of them dies and has no son, the dead man’s wife is not to be married outside to a stranger. Her husband’s brother is to go to her and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law. 6Now the firstborn that she bears is to carry on the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out of Israel. 7But if the man does not want to take his brother’s widow, his brother’s widow is to go to the elders at the gate and say, ‘My brother-in-law refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel—he is unwilling to perform a brother-in-law’s duty for me.’ 8Then the elders of his town are to summon him and speak to him. And if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not desire to take her,’ 9then his brother’s widow is to come to him in the sight of the elders, pull his sandal off his foot, spit in his face, and reply, ‘So will it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10Then his name is to be called in Israel ‘the house of the pulled-off sandal.’ 11“Suppose people fight with one another, a man and his brother, and the wife of the one approaches to rescue her husband from the hand of the one hitting him; and she puts out her hand and grabs him by his genitals. 12Then you are to cut off her hand—your eye will show no pity. 13“You are not to have stones of different weights in your bag—large and small. 14You are not to have in your house ephahs of different measures—large and small. 15You must have a full and honest weight and a full and honest measure, so that your days may be long on the land that Adonai your God is giving you. 16For all who do these things, all who do injustice, are detestable to Adonai your God.
Beware, Blot Out Amalek
17“Remember what Amalek did to you along the way as you came out from Egypt— 18how he happened upon you along the way and attacked those among you in the rear, all the stragglers behind you, when you were tired and weary—he did not fear God. 19Now when Adonai your God grants you rest from all the enemies surrounding you in the land Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, you are to blot out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Do not forget!
–from Deuteronomy 25
Remember! Don’t forget!
Firstfruits and Tithes
1“Now when you enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, 2you are to take some of the first of all the produce of the soil, which you gather from your land that Adonai your God is giving you, put it in a basket and go to the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell. 3You are to go to the kohen in charge in those days and say to him, ‘I declare today to Adonai your God, that I have entered into the land Adonai swore to our fathers to give us.’ 4The kohen is to take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of Adonai your God. 5“Then you are to respond before Adonai your God, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and lived there as an outsider, few in number. But there he became a great nation—mighty and numerous. 6The Egyptians treated us badly, afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. 7Then we cried out to Adonai, God of our fathers, and Adonai listened to our voice and saw our affliction, our toil and our oppression. 8Then Adonai brought us out from Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. 9He brought us to this place and gave us this land—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10So now, look! I have brought the first of the fruits of the soil that You have given me, Adonai.’ Then you are to set it down before Adonai your God and worship before Adonai your God. 11You will rejoice in all the good that Adonai your God has given to you and to your house—you, the Levite, and the outsider in your midst. 12“When you finish tithing the full tenth of your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you are to give it to the Levite, to the outsider, to the orphan and to the widow, so that they may eat within your town gates and be satisfied. 13Then you are to say before Adonai your God, ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house and also have given it to the Levite and to the outsider, to the orphan and to the widow, according to all Your mitzvah that You have commanded me. I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your mitzvot. 14I have not eaten from the tithe in my mourning, or removed any of it while unclean, or given any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the voice of Adonai my God; I have done all just as You commanded me. 15Look down from Your holy dwelling place, from the heavens and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, as You swore to our fathers—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
Affirming the Covenant
16“This day Adonai your God is commanding you to do these statutes and ordinances—so you are to take care and do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17Today you have affirmed Adonai as your God, that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, mitzvot and ordinances, and listen to His voice. 18Now today Adonai has affirmed you as His treasured people, as He promised you; that you are to keep all His mitzvot; 19that He will set you high above all the nations He has made, for praise, fame and honor; and that you are to be a holy people to Adonai your God, as He has promised.”
–from Deuteronomy 26
Remember and obey! Consider the benefits!
1Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today. 2Now on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land that Adonai your God is giving you, you are to set up large stones for yourself and coat them with plaster. 3Then you are to write on them all the words of this Torah when you cross over—so that you may enter the land that Adonai your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey just as Adonai, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4Now when you cross over the Jordan, you are to set up these stones about which I am commanding you today on Mount Ebal, and coat them with plaster. 5There also you will build an altar to Adonai your God, an altar of stones—you are not to use an iron tool on them. 6You are to build the altar of Adonai your God of whole stones, and you are to offer up burnt offerings on it to Adonai your God. 7You are to sacrifice fellowship offerings and eat there, and you will rejoice before Adonai your God. 8You are to write on the stones all the words of this Torah very clearly.” 9Then Moses and the Levitical kohanim spoke to all Israel, saying, “Be silent and listen, O Israel—this day you have become a people for Adonai your God. 10Therefore listen to the voice of Adonai your God, and do His mitzvot and statutes that I am commanding you today.”
11Moses commanded the people on that day saying,
12“When you have crossed over the Jordan, these are to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.
13For the curse these are to stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
14“Then the Levites are to answer and say with a loud voice to every man of Israel:
15‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molten image—an abomination to Adonai, the work of a craftsman’s hands—and sets it up in secret.’ Then all the people are to answer and say, ‘Amen.’
16‘Cursed is the one who dishonors his father or mother.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
17‘Cursed is the one who removes his neighbor’s boundary marker.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
18‘Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
19‘Cursed is the one who twists justice for the outsider, orphan and widow.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
20‘Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s nakedness.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
21‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
22‘Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
23“Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
24‘Cursed is the one who strikes down his neighbor in secret.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
25‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to strike down an innocent life.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
26‘Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of this Torah by doing them.’ Then all the people are to say, ‘Amen.’
–from Deuteronomy 27
Consider the benefits and the blessings! Consider the consequences and curses!
Accepted in Jerusalem
1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus with me. 2Because of a revelation, I went up and presented to them the Good News that I proclaim among the Gentiles. But I did so privately to those who seemed to be influential, to make sure I would not run—or had not run—in vain. 3Yet not even Titus who was with me, a Greek, was forced to be circumcised. 4Now this issue came up because of false brothers secretly brought in (who slipped in to spy out our freedom in Messiah, in order to bring us into bondage). 5But we did not give in to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the Good News might be preserved for you. 6But from those who seemed to be influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those influential ones added nothing to my message. 7On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the Good News for the uncircumcised just as Peter was for the circumcised. 8(For the same God who was at work in Peter as an emissary to the Jews, also was at work in me as an emissary to the Gentiles.) 9Realizing the favor that had been given to me, Jacob and Peter and John—who are the recognized pillars—shook hands in partnership with Barnabas and me, so that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews. 10They asked only that we remember the poor—something I also was eager to do.
11But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong— 12for before certain people came from Jacob, he regularly ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. 13And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not walking in line with the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter in front of everyone, “If you—being a Jew—live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” 15We are Jews by birth and not sinners from among the Gentiles. 16Yet we know that a person is set right not by deeds based on Torah, but rather through putting trust in Messiah Yeshua. So even we have put our trust in Messiah Yeshua, in order that we might be set right based on trust in Messiah and not by deeds based on Torah—because no human will be justified by deeds based on Torah. 17But if, while seeking to be justified in Messiah, we ourselves also were found to be sinners, is Messiah then an agent of sin? May it never be! 18For if I rebuild the very things I tore down, I prove myself to be a law-breaker. 19For through law I died to law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Messiah; 20and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me. And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God—for if righteousness comes through Torah, then Messiah died for no reason!
–from Galatians 2
Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! So be humble! Realize your frailty! And allow God to work in and through your weaknesses to show His strength! Victory has already been won through Jesus!
Anointed for Burial
1Now it was two days before Passover and the Feast of Matzah. The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars were searching for a way to grab Yeshua by stealth and kill Him. 2“But not during the festival,” they were saying, “so there won’t be a riot among the people.” 3And while Yeshua was in Bethany at the house of Simon ha-Metzora, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive oil of pure nard. Breaking open the jar, she poured it over His head. 4But some got angry and said among themselves, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5It could have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor!” And they kept scolding her. 6But Yeshua said, “Leave her alone. Why do you cause trouble for her? She’s done Me a mitzvah. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want; but you won’t always have Me. 8She did what she could—she came beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9Amen, I tell you, wherever the Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” 10Then Judah from Kriot, one of the Twelve, went out to the ruling kohanim to betray Yeshua to them. 11They were delighted when they heard this and promised to give him money. And Judah began looking for a chance to hand Him over.
New Covenant at the Last Seder
12Now on the first day of matzah , when they were slaughtering the Passover lamb, Yeshua’s disciples say to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13He sends two of His disciples and tells them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, tell the homeowner, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16The disciples went out, came to the city, and found just what Yeshua had told them. And they prepared the Passover. 17When it was evening, He came with the Twelve. 18As they were reclining and eating, Yeshua said, “Amen, I tell you, one of you who is eating with Me will betray Me.” 19They began to be sorrowful and to say to Him one by one, “I’m not the one, am I?” 20He said to them, “It’s one of the Twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21For the Son of Man indeed goes, just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born!” 22And while they were eating, He took matzah ; and after He offered the bracha, He broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take; this is My body.” 23And He took a cup; and after giving thanks, He gave to them and they all drank from it. 24And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Amen, I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
26After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Yeshua said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I’m raised up, I will go before you to the Galilee.” 29Peter said to Him, “Even though all fall away, I won’t!” 30And Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today—this very night—before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31But Peter kept insisting exceedingly, “Even if I must die with You, I’ll never deny You!” And they all were saying the same.
A Night of Painful Prayer
32Then they come to a place whose name is Gethsemane; and Yeshua says to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He takes with Him Peter, Jacob, and John; and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34And He tells them, “My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” 35Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and began praying that if possible this hour might pass Him by. 36And He was saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You! Take this cup from Me! Yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37Then He comes and finds them sleeping; and He tells Peter, “Simon, you’re asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38Keep watching and praying, so that you do not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy. They didn’t know what to answer Him. 41And He comes the third time and says to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let’s go! Look, My betrayer is near.”
Betrayed and Abandoned
43Right away, while Yeshua was still speaking, Judah comes up, one of the Twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders. 44Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “The One I kiss, He’s the One! Seize Him and lead Him away under guard.” 45As soon as Judah came, he drew near to Yeshua and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 46Then they threw their hands on Yeshua and seized Him. 47But one of the bystanders, drawing his sword, struck the servant of the kohen gadol and cut off his ear. 48Yeshua said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, to capture Me as you would against a revolutionary? 49Every day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you didn’t seize Me. But this is so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.” 50And all fled, abandoning Him. 51A certain young man was following Him, with nothing but a linen cloth around his body, and they grabbed him. 52But he ran away naked, leaving behind the linen cloth.
53Then they led Yeshua away to the kohen gadol . And all the ruling kohanim, elders, and Torah scholars gathered. 54Peter had followed Him from a distance, right into the courtyard of the kohen gadol . He was sitting with the guards, warming himself by the fire. 55Now the ruling kohanim and all the Sanhedrin kept trying to get evidence against Yeshua so they could put Him to death, but they weren’t finding any. 56Many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony wasn’t consistent. 57Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58“We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59Yet even then, their testimony didn’t agree. 60The kohen gadol stood up in the middle and questioned Yeshua, saying, “Do You have no answer? What is this they’re testifying against You?” 61But keeping silent, Yeshua did not answer. Again the kohen gadol questioned Him, “Are you Mashiach, Son of the Blessed One?” 62“I am,” said Yeshua, “and you shall see ‘the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Powerful One,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven’!” 63Tearing his clothes, the kohen gadol says, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You’ve heard the blasphemy. What seems right to you?” Then all condemned Him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on Him, to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, saying, “Prophesy!” Also the guards slapped Him around.
The Rooster Crows
66As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the kohen gadol comes by. 67Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him. “You also were with Yeshua of Natzeret,” she says. 68But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about!” Then he went outside to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. 69Seeing him, the servant girl began again to tell the bystanders, “This is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. And a little while later, the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you’re one of them, for you’re also a Galilean.” 71But he began to curse himself and to swear an oath: “I do not know this Man you’re talking about!” 72Right then, a rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter called to mind the word Yeshua had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he broke down and began to weep.
–from Mark 14