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11 March 2017 Bible Reading

The Jewish leadership could not see beyond the politics of the day – they had no appreciation of the nature of the Kingdom.

Numbers 15:17-16:40
17 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 18 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come into the land where I bring you, 19 then it shall be that when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall offer up a wave offering to Yahweh. 20 Of the first of your dough you shall offer up a cake for a wave offering. As the wave offering of the threshing floor, so you shall heave it. 21 Of the first of your dough, you shall give to Yahweh a wave offering throughout your generations.
22 “‘When you err, and don’t observe all these commandments, which Yahweh has spoken to Moses, 23 even all that Yahweh has commanded you by Moses, from the day that Yahweh gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations; 24 then it shall be, if it was done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, for a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, with its meal offering, and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 The priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to Yahweh, and their sin offering before Yahweh, for their error. 26 All the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, as well as the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them; for with regard to all the people, it was done unwittingly.
27 “‘If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs, when he sins unwittingly before Yahweh, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner among them.
30 “‘But the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or a foreigner, the same blasphemes Yahweh. That soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised Yahweh’s word, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off. His iniquity shall be on him.’”
32 While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.
35 Yahweh said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.” 36 All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, as Yahweh commanded Moses.
37 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 38 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make themselves fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue: 39 and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all Yahweh’s commandments, and do them; and that you not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to play the prostitute; 40 that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. 41 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Yahweh your God.”
16 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took some men. 2 They rose up before Moses, with some of the children of Israel, two hundred fifty princes of the congregation, called to the assembly, men of renown. 3 They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, “You take too much on yourself, since all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and Yahweh is among them! Why do you lift yourselves up above Yahweh’s assembly?”
4 When Moses heard it, he fell on his face. 5 He said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning, Yahweh will show who are his, and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to him. Even him whom he shall choose, he will cause to come near to him. 6 Do this: take censers, Korah, and all his company; 7 and put fire in them, and put incense on them before Yahweh tomorrow. It shall be that the man whom Yahweh chooses, he shall be holy. You have gone too far, you sons of Levi!”
8 Moses said to Korah, “Hear now, you sons of Levi! 9 Is it a small thing to you, that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do the service of Yahweh’s tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; 10 and that he has brought you near, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? Do you seek the priesthood also? 11 Therefore you and all your company have gathered together against Yahweh! What is Aaron that you murmur against him?”
12 Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab; and they said, “We won’t come up! 13 Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, but you must also make yourself a prince over us? 14 Moreover you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you put out the eyes of these men? We won’t come up.”
15 Moses was very angry, and said to Yahweh, “Don’t respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, neither have I hurt one of them.”
16 Moses said to Korah, “You and all your company go before Yahweh, you, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow. 17 Each man take his censer, and put incense on them, and each man bring before Yahweh his censer, two hundred fifty censers; you also, and Aaron, each his censer.”
18 They each took his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Moses and Aaron. 19 Korah assembled all the congregation opposite them to the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Yahweh’s glory appeared to all the congregation. 20 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 21 “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment!”
22 They fell on their faces, and said, “God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and will you be angry with all the congregation?”
23 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Get away from around the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram!’”
25 Moses rose up and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 He spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins!”
27 So they went away from the tent of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side. Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.
28 Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that Yahweh has sent me to do all these works; for they are not from my own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they experience what all men experience, then Yahweh hasn’t sent me. 30 But if Yahweh makes a new thing, and the ground opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belong to them, and they go down alive into Sheol; then you shall understand that these men have despised Yahweh.”
31 As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split apart. 32 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households, all of Korah’s men, and all their goods. 33 So they, and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol. The earth closed on them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 All Israel that were around them fled at their cry; for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” 35 Fire came out from Yahweh, and devoured the two hundred fifty men who offered the incense.
36 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 37 “Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter the fire away from the camp; for they are holy, 38 even the censers of these sinners against their own lives. Let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar, for they offered them before Yahweh. Therefore they are holy. They shall be a sign to the children of Israel.”
39 Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar, 40 to be a memorial to the children of Israel, to the end that no stranger, who isn’t of the offspring of Aaron, would come near to burn incense before Yahweh, that he not be as Korah, and as his company; as Yahweh spoke to him by Moses.

Mark 15:1-47
15 Immediately in the morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate. 2 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
He answered, “So you say.”
3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they testify against you!”
5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate marveled.
6 Now at the feast he used to release to them one prisoner, whom they asked of him. 7 There was one called Barabbas, bound with his fellow insurgents, men who in the insurrection had committed murder. 8 The multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do as he always did for them. 9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should release Barabbas to them instead. 12 Pilate again asked them, “What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
13 They cried out again, “Crucify him!”
14 Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?”
But they cried out exceedingly, “Crucify him!”
15 Pilate, wishing to please the multitude, released Barabbas to them, and handed over Jesus, when he had flogged him, to be crucified. 16 The soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they called together the whole cohort. 17 They clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 They began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him. 20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him. 21 They compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross. 22 They brought him to the place called Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, “The place of a skull.” 23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he didn’t take it.
24 Crucifying him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots on them, what each should take. 25 It was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 The superscription of his accusation was written over him, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27 With him they crucified two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28 The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, “He was numbered with transgressors.”
29 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!”
31 Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, “He saved others. He can’t save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe him.” Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.
33 When the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard it, said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”
36 One ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down.”
37 Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit. 38 The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. 39 When the centurion, who stood by opposite him, saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
40 There were also women watching from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and served him; and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
42 When evening had now come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent council member who also himself was looking for God’s Kingdom, came. He boldly went in to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate marveled if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. 45 When he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 He bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, saw where he was laid.

Psalm 54:1-7
For the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A contemplation by David, when the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “Isn’t David hiding himself among us?”
54 Save me, God, by your name.
Vindicate me in your might.
2 Hear my prayer, God.
Listen to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers have risen up against me.
Violent men have sought after my soul.
They haven’t set God before them.
Selah.
4 Behold, God is my helper.
The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.
5 He will repay the evil to my enemies.
Destroy them in your truth.
6 With a free will offering, I will sacrifice to you.
I will give thanks to your name, Yahweh, for it is good.
7 For he has delivered me out of all trouble.
My eye has seen triumph over my enemies.

Proverbs 11:5-6
5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way,
but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them,
but the unfaithful will be trapped by evil desires.

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