Compiled by Peggy Harris
The stories here are for you to find a story you can put yourself into. Pray that God will show you the meaning for you in particular. Use your own name. Read it in several versions over and over until the meaning for you becomes clear. Different survivors of abuse will see the stories differently. I think that is why the story is there in the Bible – to be read and applied to individuals for their particular situation.
The Message – MSG
Matthew 13:10-16 (MSG) “The disciples came up and asked, ‘Why do you tell stories?’
He replied, ‘You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again:
Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.
Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing.
The people are blockheads!
They stick their fingers in their ears
so they won’t have to listen;
They screw their eyes shut
so they won’t have to look,
so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face.
and let me heal them.
But you have God-blessed eyes – eyes that see! And God-blessed ears – ears that hear! A lot of people, prophets and humble believers among them, would have given anything to see what you are seeing, to hear what you are hearing, but never had the chance.” The Story of the First Seduction.
Genesis 3:1-7 (MSG) “The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: ‘Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?’ The Woman said to the serpent, ‘Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said. ‘Don’t eat from it: don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’ The serpent told the Woman, ‘You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.’
When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it – she’d know everything! – she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate. Immediately the two of them did see what’s really going on’ – saw themselves naked! They sewed fig leaves together as makeshift clothes for themselves.”
Exodus 1: 8-16 (MSG) “A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm. ‘There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something; Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us.”
So they organized them into work-gangs and put them to hard labor under gang-foremen. They built the storage cities Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder the Egyptians worked them the more children the Israelites had – children everywhere! The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labor. They made them miserable with hard labor – making bricks and mortar and back-breaking work in the fields. They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload.”
Ruth from the MSG introduction to Ruth:
“As we read the broad, comprehensive biblical story of God at work in the world, most of us are entirelyimpressed…
Very impressive. So impressive, in fact, that many of us, while remaining impressed, feel left out. Our unimpressive, very ordinary lives make us feel like outsiders to such a star-studded cast. We disqualify ourselves. Guilt or willfulness or accident makes a loophole and we assume that what is true for everyone else is not true for us. We conclude that we are, somehow, ‘just not religious’ and thus unfit to participate in the big story.
And then we turn a page and come on this small story of two widows and a farmer in their out-of-the-way village.
The outsider Ruth was not born into the faith and felt no natural part of it – like many of us. But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out.
Scripture is a vast tapestry of God’s creating, saving, and blessing ways in this world. The great names in the plot that climaxes at Sinai…and the great names in the sequel…can be intimidating to ordinary, random individuals: ‘Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage.’ But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God’s ways among us. The unassuming ending carries the punch line; ‘Boaz married Ruth, she had a son Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.’
David! In its artful telling of this ‘outsider’ widow, uprooted and obscure, who turns out to be the greatgrandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus, the Book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or ‘out of it,’ as irreplaceable in the full telling of God’s story. We count – every last one of us – and what we do counts.”
1 Samuel 2:12-21 (MSG) A Hard Life With Many Tears.
“By this time Eli was very old. He kept getting reports on how his sons were ripping off the people and sleeping with the women who helped out at the sanctuary. Eli took them to task: ‘What’s going on here? Why are you doing these things? I hear story after story of your corrupt and evil carrying on. Oh, my sons, this is not right! These are terrible reports I’m getting, stories spreading right and left among God’s people! If you sin against another person, there’s help – God’s help. But if you sin against God, who is around to help?’
But they were far gone in disobedience and refused to listen to a thing their father said. So God, who was fed up with them, decreed their death. But the boy Samuel was very much alive, growing up, blessed by God and popular with the people.
A holy man came to Eli and dais” ‘This is God’s message: I revealed myself openly to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. Out of all the tribes of Israel, I chose your family to be my priests to preside at the altar, to burn incense, to wear the priestly robes in my presence. I put your ancestral family in charge of all the sacrificial offerings of Israel. So why do you now treat as mere loot these very sacrificial offerings that I commanded for my worship? Why do you treat your sons better than me, turning them loose to get fat on these offerings, and ignoring me? Therefore – this is God’s word, the God of Israel speaking – I once said that you and your ancestral family would be my priests indefinitely, but now – God’s words, remember! – there is no way this can continue.
I honor those who honor me;
those who scorn me I demean.
‘Be well warned: It won’t be long before I wipe out both your family and your future family. No one in your family will make it to old age! You’ll see good things that I’m doing in Israel, but you’ll see it and weep, for no one in your family will live to enjoy it. I will leave one person to serve at my altar, but it will be a hard life, with many tears. Everyone else in your family will die before their time. What happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be the proof: Both will die the same day. Then I’ll establish for myself a true priest. He’ll do what I want him to do, be what I want him to be. I’ll make his position secure and he’ll do his work freely in the service of my anointed one. Survivors from your family will come to him begging for handouts, saying, ‘Please, give me some priest work, just enough to put some food on the table.’”
2 Samuel 11 & 12 (MSG)
2 Samuel 13 (MSG)
Judges 19 (MSG) “It was an era when there was no king in Israel. A Levite, living as a stranger in the backwoods hill country of Ephraim, got himself a concubine, a woman from Bethlehem in Judah. But she quarreled with him and left, returning to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there four months. Then her husband decided to go after her and try to win her back. He had a servant and a pair of donkeys with him. When he arrived at her father’s house, the girl’s father saw him, welcomed him, and made him feel at home. His father-in-law, the girl’s father, pressed him to stay. He stayed with him three days; they feasted and drank and slept.
On the fourth day, they got up at the crack of dawn and got ready to go. But the girl’s father said to his son-in-law; ‘Strengthen yourself with a hearty breakfast and then you can go.’ So they sat down and ate breakfast together.
The girl’s father said to the man, ‘Come now; be my guest. Stay the night – make it a holiday.” The man got up to go, but his father-in-law kept after him, so he ended up spending another night. On the fifth day; he was again up early, ready to go. The girl’s father said, ‘You need some breakfast.’ They went back and forth, and the day slipped on as they ate and drank together. But the man and his concubine were finally ready to go. Then his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said, “Look, the day’s almost gone – why not stay the night? There’s very little daylight left; stay another night and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get an early start and set off for your own place’ But this time the man wasn’t willing to spend another night. He got things ready, left, and went as far as Jebus (Jerusalem) with his pair of saddled donkeys, his concubine, and his servant. At Jebus, though the day was nearly gone. The servant said to his master, ‘It’s late; let’s go into this Jebusite city and spend the night.’
But his master said, ‘We’re not going into any city of foreigners. We’ll go on the Gibeah.’ He directed his servant, ‘Keep going. Let’s go on ahead. We’ll spend the night either at Gibeah or Ramah.’ So they kept going. As they pressed on, the sun finally left them in the vicinity of Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. They left the road there to spend the night at Gibeah.
The Levite went and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them in to spend the night. Then, late in the evening, an old man came in from his day’s work in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim and lived temporarily in Gibeah where all the local citizens were Benjaminites. When the old man looked up and saw the traveler in the town square, he said, ‘Where are you going? And where are you from?’
The Levite said, ‘We’re just passing through. We’re coming from Bethlehem on our way to a remote spot in the hills of Ephraim. I come from there. I’ve just made a trip to Bethlehem in Judah and I’m on my way back home, but no one has invited us in for the night. We wouldn’t be any trouble: We have food and straw for the donkeys, and bread and wine for the woman, the young man, and me – we don’t need anything.’
The old man said, ‘It’s going to be all right; I’ll take care of you. You aren’t going to spend the night in the town square.’ He took them home and fed the donkeys. They washed up and sat down to a good meal. They were relaxed and enjoying themselves when the men of the city, a gang of local hell-raisers all, surrounded the house and started pounding on the door. They yelled for the owner of the house, the old man, ‘Bring out the man who came to your house. We want to have sex with him.’
He went out and told them, ‘No, brother! Don’t be obscene – this man is my guest. Don’t commit this outrage. Look my virgin daughter and his concubine are here. I’ll bring them out for you. Abuse them if you must, but don’t do anything so senselessly vile to this man.
But the men wouldn’t listen to him. Finally, the Levite pushed his concubine out the door to them. They raped her repeatedly all night long. Just before dawn they let her go. The woman came back and fell at the door of the house where her master was sleeping. When the sun rose, there she was. It was morning. Her master got up and opened the door to continue his journey. There she was, his concubine, crumpled in a heap at the door, her hands on the threshold.
‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Let’s get going.’ There was no answer.
He lifted her onto his donkey and set out for home. When he got home he took a knife and dismembered his concubine – cut her into twelve pieces. He sent her, piece by piece, throughout the country of Israel. And he ordered the men he sent out, ‘Say to every man in Israel: ‘Has such a thing as this ever happened from the time the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until now? Think about it! Talk it over. Do something!’
Chapter 20. Then all the People of Israel came out. The congregation met in the presence of God at Mizpah. They were all there, from Dan to Beersheba, as one person! The leaders of all the people, representing all the tribes of Israel, took their places in the gathering of God’s people. There were 400 divisions of sword-wielding infantry.
Meanwhile the Benjaminites got wind that the Israelites were meeting at Mizpah.
The People of Israel said, ‘Now tell us. How did this outrageous evil happen?’
The Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, spoke: ‘My concubine and I came to spend the night at Gibeah, a Benjaminite town. That night the men of Gibeah came after me. They surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They gang-raped my concubine and she died. So I took my concubine, cut up her body, and sent her piece by piece – twelve pieces! – to every part of Israel’s inheritance. This vile and outrageous crime was committed in Israel! So, Israelites, make up your minds. Decide on some action!’ All the people were at once and as one person on their feet. ‘None of us will go home; not a single one of us will go to his own house. Here’s our plan for dealing with Gibeah; we’ll march against it by drawing lots. We’ll take ten of every hundred men from all the tribes of Israel (a hundred of every thousand, and a thousand of every ten thousand) to carry food for the army. When the troops arrive at Gibeah they will settle accounts for this outrageous and vile evil that was done in Israel.’ So all the men in Israel were gathered against the city, totally united.
The Israelite tribes sent messengers throughout the tribe of Benjamin saying. ‘What’s the meaning of this outrage that took place among you? Surrender the men right here and now, these hell-raisers of Gibeah. We’ll put them to death and burn the evil out of Israel.’
But they wouldn’t do it. The Benjaminites refused to listen to their brothers, the People of Israel. Instead they raised an army from all their cities and rallied at Gibeah to go to war against the People of Israel. In no time at all they had recruited from their cities twenty-six divisions of sword-wielding infantry. From Gibeah they got 700 hand-picked fighters, the best. There were another 700 super marksmen who were ambidextrous – they could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
The men of Israel, excluding Benjamin, mobilized 400 divisions of sword-wielding fighting men. They set out and went to Bethel to inquire of God. The People of Israel said. ‘Who of us shall be first to go into battle with the Benjaminites?’
God said, ‘Judah goes first.’
The People of Israel got up the next morning and camped before Gibeah. The army of Israel marched out against Benjamin and took up their positions, ready to attack Gibeah, but the Benjaminites poured out of Gibeah and devastated twenty-two Israelite divisions on the ground.
The Israelites went back to the sanctuary and wept before God until evening. They again inquired of God, ‘Shall we again go into battle against the Benjaminites, our brothers?
God said, ‘Yes. Attack.’
The army took heart. The men of Israel took up the positions they had deployed on the first day. On the second day, the Israelites again advanced against Benjamin. This time as the Benjaminites came out of the city, on this second day, they devastated another eighteen Israelite divisions, all swordsmen. All the People of Israel, the whole army, were back at Bethel, weeping, sitting there in the presence of God. That day they fasted until evening. They sacrificed Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings before God.
And they again inquired of God. The Chest of God’s Covenant was there at that time with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, as the ministering priest. They asked, ‘Shall we again march into battle against the Benjaminites, our brothers? Or should we call it quits?’
And God said, ‘Attack. Tomorrow I’ll give you victory.’
This time Israel placed men in ambush all around Gibeah. On the third day when Israel set out, they took up the same positions before the Benjaminites as before. When the Benjaminites came out to meet the army, they moved out from the city. Benjaminites began to cut down some of the troops, just as they had before. About thirty men fell in the field and on the roads to Bethel and Gibeah.
The Benjaminites started bragging. ‘We’re dropping them like flies, just as before!’
But the Israelites strategized: ‘Now let’s retreat and pull them out of the city onto the main roads.’ So every Israelite moved farther out to Baal Tamar; at the same time the Israelite ambush rushed from its place west of Gibeah.
Ten crack divisions from all over Israel now arrived at Gibeah – intense, bloody fighting! The Benjaminites had no idea that they were about to go down in defeat – God routed them before Israel. The Israelites decimated twenty-five divisions of Benjamin that day – 25,100 killed. They were all swordsmen. The Benjaminites saw that they were beaten.
The men of Israel acted like they were retreating before Benjamin, knowing that they could depend on the ambush they had prepared for Gibeah.
The ambush erupted and made quick work of Gibeah. The ambush spread out and massacred the city. The strategy for the main body of the ambush was that they send up a smoke signal from the city. Then the men of Israel would turn in battle. When that happened, Benjamin had killed about thirty Israelites and thought they were on their way to victory, yelling out, ‘They’re on the run, just as in the first battle!’ But then the signal went up from the city - a huge column of smoke. When the Benjaminites looked back, there it was, the whole city going up in smoke.
By the time the men of Israel had turned back on them, the men of Benjamin fell apart – they could see that they were trapped. Confronted by the Israelites, they tried to get away down the wilderness road, but by now the battle was everywhere. The men of Israel poured out of the towns, killing them right and left, hot on their trail, picking them off east of Gibeah.
Eighteen divisions of Benjaminites were wiped out, all their best fighters.
Five divisions turned to escape to the wilderness, to Rimmon Rock, but the Israelites caught and slaughtered them on roads.
Keeping the pressure on, the Israelites brought down two more divisions.
The total of the Benjammites killed that day came to twenty-five divisions of infantry, their best swordsmen.
Six hundred men got away. They made it to Rimmon Rock in the wilderness and held out there for four months.
The men of Israel came back and killed all the Benjaminites who were left, all the men and animals they found in every town, and then torched the towns, sending them up in flames.”
Esther 1-9. Because God’s people would not do as He commanded, a young girl was called to save her people from death. The price of their disobedience was Esther confined for life to the King’s harem. MSG introduction to Esther: “It seems odd that the awareness of God, or even of the people of God, brings out the worst in some people. God, the source of all goodness and blessing and joy at times becomes the occasion for nearly unimaginable acts of cruelty, atrocity, and evil.
The Book of Esther opens a window on this world of violence directed, whether openly or covertly against God and God’s people.
It turns out that no God-representing men and women get killed in the story – in a dramatic turnaround, the plot fails. But millions before and after Esther have been and, no doubt, will continue to be killed. No matter how many of them you kill, you can’t get rid of the communities of God-honoring, God-serving, God-worshiping people scattered all over the earth. This is still the final and definitive word.”
Job 1-42. Satan’s abuse of Job and his family.
MSG introduction: “Job did not take his sufferings quietly or piously. He disdained going for a second opinion to outside physicians or philosophers. Job took his stance before God, and there he protested his suffering, protested mightily.
It is not only because Job suffered that he is important to us. It is because he suffered in the same ways that we suffer – in the vital areas of family, personal health, and material things. Job is also important to us because he searchingly questioned and boldly protested his suffering. Indeed, he went ‘to the top with his questions… He refuses to accept the role of a defeated victim.”
Jeremiah 1-52 (MSG) What happens when everything you believe in and live by is smashed to bits by circumstances?
Ezekiel 37 (MSG) Breath of Life – A Story of Renewal..
“God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and sat me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them – a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain – dry bones, bleached by the sun.
He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’
I said, ‘Master God, only you know that.’
He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones: ‘Dry bones, listen to the Message of God!
God, the Master, told the dry bones, ‘Watch this; I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breath life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!
I prophesied just as I’d been commanded. As I prophesied, there was a sound and, oh, rustling! The bones moved and came together, bone to bone. I kept watching. Sinews formed then muscles on the bones, then skin stretched over them. But they had no breath in them.
He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath. Prophesy, son of man. Tell the breath, ‘God, the Master, says, Come from the four winds. Come, breath. Breathe on these slain bodies. Breath life!’
So I prophesied, just as he commanded me. The breath entered them and they cam alive! They stood up on their feet, a huge army.
Then God said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they’re saying. ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there’s nothing left of us.’
‘Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive – O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breath my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.’”…
Hosea 1-14 Hosea’s faithfulness to his wife is likened to God’s faithfulness to us when we go after other god’s and thus abuse the tender relationship between God and us.
Zechariah 3:6-10 (MSG) “God’s Angel then charged Joshua, ‘Orders from God-of-the-Angel-Armies: ‘If you live the way I tell you and remain obedient in my service, then you’ll make the decisions around here and oversee my affairs. And all my attendants standing here will be at your service.
Careful, High Priest Joshua – both you and your friends sitting here with you, for your friends are in on this, too! Here’s what I’m doing next: I’m introducing my servant Branch. And note this: This stone that I’m placing before Joshua, a single stone with seven eyes’ – Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies – I engrave with these words: ‘I’ll strip the land of its filthy sin, all at once, in a single day.’
At that time, everyone will get along with one another, with friendly visits across the fence, friendly visits on one another’s porches.”
Jonah 1 – 4 (MSG)
Matthew 7:24-27 (MSG) ‘These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit – but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. ‘But if you just use my words in the Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.’
When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying – quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.”
Matthew 18:21-35 (MSG)
The Story about the Sheep and the Goats and The Judgment
Matthew 25:31-46 (MSG).
Mark 1:40-45. (MSG).
Mark 5:1-20. (MSG).
Mark 7:1-12. (MSG)
Mark 10:17-30. (MSG)
Mark 11:15-19. (MSG)
Luke 10:25-32 (MSG)
Luke 14:7-24 (MSG)
Luke 15:1-7 (MSG)
Luke 15:8-10 (MSG)
Luke 15:11-32 (MSG)
Luke 17:11-19 (MSG) “It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ Taking a good look at them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough – and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, ‘Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up. On your way. Your faith had healed and saved you.’”
Matthew 18:18-27 (MSG) “One day one of the local officials asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?’
Jesus said,’ Why are you calling me good? No one is good – only God. You know the commandments, don’t you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother.’ He said, ‘I’ve kept them all for as long as I can remember.’
When Jesus heard that, he said, ‘then there’s only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God’s kingdom? I’d say it’s easier to thread a camel through a needle’s eye than get a rich person into God’s kingdom.’
‘Then who has any chance at all?’ the others asked.
‘No chance at all,’ Jesus said, ‘if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it,’
Peter tried to regain some initiative: ‘We left everything we owned and followed you, didn’t we?’ ‘Yes,’ said Jesus, ‘and you won’t regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sister, parents, children – whatever – will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!’”
Matthew 18:35-43 (MSG) “He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. They told him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene is going by,’
He yelled, ‘Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!
Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, ‘Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, ’What do you want from me?’
He said, ‘Master, I want to see again.’
Jesus said, ‘Go ahead – see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!’ The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing – and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God.”
Luke 19:1-10 (MSG)
Luke 20:9-18 (MSG)
John 4:1-42 (MSG)
John 5:1-16 (MSG) “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people – blind, crippled, paralyzed – were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, ‘Do you want to get well?’
The sick man said, ‘Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.’
Jesus said, ‘Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.’ The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.
That day happened to be the Sabbath. The Jews stopped the healed man and said, ‘It’s the Sabbath. You can’t carry your bedroll around. It’s against the rules.’
But he told them, ‘The man who made me well told me to. He said, ‘Take your bedroll and start walking.’ They asked, ‘Who gave you the order to take it up and start walking?’ But the healed man didn’t know, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd.
A little later Jesus found him in the Temple and said, ‘You look wonderful! You’re well! Don’t return to a sinning life or something worse might happen.’
The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him wel.. That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus – because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath.
But Jesus defended himself. ‘My Father is working straight through, even on the Sabbath. So am I.’ That really set them off. The Jews were now not only out to expose him; they were out to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was calling God his own Father, putting himself on a level with God.”
John 8:1-11 (MSG) “Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.
The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, ‘The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.’ Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her, ;Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?’ ‘No one, Master.’
‘Neither do I,’ said Jesus. ‘Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.’”
John 15: 16-27 (MSG)
Acts 6:8-7:60 (MSG)
Acts 9:1-19 (MSG)