Week 26

19 - 25 November

Psalms 119.113-end, 120 - 122, Ezra,  John 13 - end, Proverbs 28

19 November
Ezra 1 - 2John 13
20 November
Ezra 3 - 4John 14 - 15
21 November
Ezra 5John 16 - 17
22 November
Ezra 6 - 7John 1828.1-14
23 November
Ezra 8John 1928.15-end
24 November
121Ezra 9John 20
25 November
Ezra 10John 21


Psalm 119 delights in God's law, emphasising study of it.  It has 22 sections, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  God's word requires us to respond in obedience and faith.
Psalm 120 is a song of ascent, which probably refers to the journeys pilgrims made to Jerusalem for important festivals.  It is a prayer for peace in Jerusalem, as timely now as it was when it was first written.
Psalm 121 is also a song of ascent.  Its focus is the trust which sustains throughout the journey of life.
Psalm 122, another song of ascent, overflows with joy for Jerusalem.


It isn't clear if the book of Ezra was written before that of Nehemiah.  Both concern the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian exile.  Its theme is not so much what happened, it is more concerned with theological issues in the reconstruction of the temple, the community and the walls of the city of Jerusalem.
This book is an attempt to explain why God allowed his people to be taken into exile, and what their return requires of them, if they are to continue to be his people.  It is becoming clear that exile - judgement - is not God's final word, and the promises to Abraham and David may yet be made good.
The community needs to hear a message of encouragement, and to be reminded that they are heirs to the promises God made to their ancestors.

John 13 - end

Chapters 13 to 19 anticipate and then describe Jesus' hour, when he fulfils his mission on earth.  Where earlier chapters described the signs Jesus gave, pointing to who he is, these chapters describe the greatest sign of all, in which he is revealed as the Messiah.
Jesus' final night, in John's gospel, is not the night before the Passover, but the night before that, because Jesus is the Passover lamb here, dying at the very point when the Passover lambs were sacrificed in the temple.  There is no last supper with bread and wine, but instead the washing of the disciples' feet, followed by Judas' betrayal.
Chapters 14-17 contain Jesus' farewell discourse with his disciples, followed by his prayer for those whom the Father has given him.  The focus is on love, the love which may require ultimate sacrifice, laying down one's life for others.
Chapters 18 and 19 describe the sequence of events in which Jesus is taken prisoner, questioned and condemned, and then dies upon the cross.
John 20 recounts the events of Easter morning, with Mary Magdalene the first to meet the risen Lord, followed by his appearance in the evening to the disciples, gathered together.  There he gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will make of them a community based on forgiveness.  The story of Thomas makes it clear exactly who Jesus is, Lord and God.
Chapter 21 has been added to the original gospel, probably by someone other than the original author, and describes the relationship between Peter and the 'disciple whom Jesus loved'. 

Proverbs 28

Here 'law' is moral instruction generally, not simply the law of Moses.  Poverty is better than greed and riches obtained unjustly.

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