BELOW ARE THE READINGS FOR THE LAST SUNDAY SERVICE PLUS READINGS FOR FORTHCOMING SUNDAYS
29 March: Lent 5
Romans 8: 6 – 11
6 To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. 7 And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it. 8 Those who obey their human nature cannot please God. 9 But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to — if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you.
John 11: 1 – 45
1 A man named Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, was ill. Bethany was the town where Mary and her sister Martha lived. 2 (This Mary was the one who poured the perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.) 3 The sisters sent Jesus a message: “Lord, your dear friend is ill.” 4 When Jesus heard it, he said, “The final result of this illness will not be the death of Lazarus; this has happened in order to bring glory to God, and it will be the means by which the Son of God will receive glory.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he received the news that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two more days. 7 Then he said to the disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” 8 “Teacher,” the disciples answered, “just a short time ago the people there wanted to stone you; and are you planning to go back?” 9 Jesus said, “A day has twelve hours, hasn’t it? So whoever walks in broad daylight does not stumble, for they see the light of this world. 10 But if they walk during the night they stumble, because they have no light.” 11 Jesus said this and then added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples answered, “If he is asleep, Lord, he will get well.” 13 Jesus meant that Lazarus had died, but they thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 but for your sake I am glad that I was not with him, so that you will believe. Let us go to him.” 16 Thomas (called the Twin) said to his fellow-disciples, “Let us all go with the Teacher, so that we may die with him!” 17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had been buried four days before. 18 Bethany was less than three kilometres from Jerusalem, 19 and many Judeans had come to see Martha and Mary to comfort them over their brother’s death. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, Lord, my brother would not have died! 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask him for.” 23 “Your brother will rise to life,” Jesus told her. 24 “I know,” she replied, “that he will rise to life on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; 26and all those who live and believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord!” she answered. “I do believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” 28 After Martha said this, she went back and called her sister Mary privately. “The Teacher is here,” she told her, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up and hurried out to meet him. 30 (Jesus had not yet arrived in the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.) 31 The people who were in the house with Mary, comforting her, followed her when they saw her get up and hurry out. They thought that she was going to the grave to weep there. 32 Mary arrived where Jesus was, and as soon as she saw him, she fell at his feet. “Lord,” she said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died!” 33 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people who were with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved. 34 “Where have you buried him?” he asked them. “Come and see, Lord,” they answered. 35 Jesus wept. 36 “See how much he loved him!” the people said. 37 But some of them said, “He gave sight to the blind man, didn’t he? Could he not have kept Lazarus from dying?” 38 Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. 39 “Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered. Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!” 40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” 41 They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” 43 After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave clothes, and with a cloth round his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.” 45 Many of the people who had come to visit Mary saw what Jesus did, and they believed in him.
5 April: Palm Sunday
Philippians 2: 5 – 11
5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God.7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant.He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death — his death on the cross. 9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.10 And so, in honour of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, 11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Shining as Lights in the World
Matthew 26: 14 to end of 27
14 Then one of the twelve disciples — the one named Judas Iscariot — went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What will you give me if I betray Jesus to you?” They counted out thirty silver coins and gave them to him. 16 From then on Judas was looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them. 17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Where do you want us to get the Passover meal ready for you?” 18 “Go to a certain man in the city,” he said to them, “and tell him: ‘The Teacher says, My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.’ ” 19 The disciples did as Jesus had told them and prepared the Passover meal. 20 When it was evening, Jesus and the twelve disciples sat down to eat. 21 During the meal Jesus said, “I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples were very upset and began to ask him, one after the other, “Surely, Lord, you don’t mean me?” 23 Jesus answered, “One who dips his bread in the dish with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will die as the Scriptures say he will, but how terrible for that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born!” 25 Judas, the traitor, spoke up. “Surely, Teacher, you don’t mean me?” he asked. Jesus answered, “So you say.” 26 While they were eating, Jesus took a piece of bread, gave a prayer of thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples. “Take and eat it,” he said; “this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God, and gave it to them. “Drink it, all of you,” he said; 28“this is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will never again drink this wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” 30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “This very night all of you will run away and leave me, for the scripture says, ‘God will kill the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you.” 33 Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “I will never leave you, even though all the rest do!” 34 Jesus said to Peter, “I tell you that before the cock crows tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.” 35 Peter answered, “I will never say that, even if I have to die with you!” And all the other disciples said the same thing. 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. Grief and anguish came over him, 38 and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 He went a little farther on, threw himself face downwards on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.” 40 Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, “How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me even for one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Once more Jesus went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 He returned once more and found the disciples asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. 44 Again Jesus left them, went away, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look! The hour has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to the power of sinners. 46 Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!” 47 Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs and sent by the chief priests and the elders. 48 The traitor had given the crowd a signal: “The man I kiss is the one you want. Arrest him!” 49 Judas went straight to Jesus and said, “Peace be with you, Teacher,” and kissed him. 50 Jesus answered, “Be quick about it, friend!” Then they came up, arrested Jesus, and held him tight. 51 One of those who were with Jesus drew his sword and struck at the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “All who take the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you know that I could call on my Father for help, and at once he would send me more than twelve armies of angels? 54 But in that case, how could the Scriptures come true which say that this is what must happen?” 55 Then Jesus spoke to the crowd, “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw? Every day I sat down and taught in the Temple, and you did not arrest me. 56 But all this has happened in order to make what the prophets wrote in the Scriptures come true.” Then all the disciples left him and ran away. 57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the teachers of the Law and the elders had gathered together. 58 Peter followed from a distance, as far as the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He went into the courtyard and sat down with the guards to see how it would all come out. 59 The chief priests and the whole Council tried to find some false evidence against Jesus to put him to death; 60but they could not find any, even though many people came forward and told lies about him. Finally two men stepped up 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to tear down God’s Temple and three days later build it up again.’ ” 62 The High Priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Have you no answer to give to this accusation against you?” 63 But Jesus kept quiet. Again the High Priest spoke to him, “In the name of the living God I now put you on oath: tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus answered him, “So you say. But I tell all of you: from this time on you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!” 65 At this the High Priest tore his clothes and said, “Blasphemy! We don’t need any more witnesses! You have just heard his blasphemy! 66 What do you think?” They answered, “He is guilty and must die.” 67 Then they spat in his face and beat him; and those who slapped him 68 said, “Prophesy for us, Messiah! Guess who hit you!” 69 Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard when one of the High Priest’s servant women came to him and said, “You, too, were with Jesus of Galilee.” 70 But he denied it in front of them all. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” he answered, 71 and went on out to the entrance of the courtyard. Another servant woman saw him and said to the men there, “He was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 Again Peter denied it and answered, “I swear that I don’t know that man!” 73 After a little while the men standing there came to Peter. “Of course you are one of them,” they said. “After all, the way you speak gives you away!” 74 Then Peter said, “I swear that I am telling the truth! May God punish me if I am not! I do not know that man!” Just then a cock crowed, 75 and Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the cock crows, you will say three times that you do not know me.” He went out and wept bitterly.1 Early in the morning all the chief priests and the elders made their plans against Jesus to put him to death. 2 They put him in chains, led him off, and handed him over to Pilate, the Roman governor. 3 When Judas, the traitor, learnt that Jesus had been condemned, he repented and took back the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned by betraying an innocent man to death!” he said. “What do we care about that?” they answered. “That is your business!” 5 Judas threw the coins down in the Temple and left; then he went off and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “This is blood money, and it is against our Law to put it in the temple treasury.” 7 After reaching an agreement about it, they used the money to buy Potter’s Field, as a cemetery for foreigners. 8That is why that field is called “Field of Blood” to this very day. 9 Then what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: “They took the thirty silver coins, the amount the people of Israel had agreed to pay for him, 10 and used the money to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord had commanded me.” 11 Jesus stood before the Roman governor, who questioned him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked.“So you say,” answered Jesus. 12 But he said nothing in response to the accusations of the chief priests and elders. 13 So Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear all these things they accuse you of?” 14 But Jesus refused to answer a single word, with the result that the Governor was greatly surprised. 15 At every Passover Festival the Roman governor was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the crowd asked for. 16 At that time there was a well-known prisoner named Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to set free for you? Jesus Barabbas or Jesus called the Messiah?” 18He knew very well that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous. 19 While Pilate was sitting in the judgement hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night I suffered much on account of him.” 20 The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask Pilate to set Barabbas free and have Jesus put to death. 21 But Pilate asked the crowd, “Which one of these two do you want me to set free for you?” “Barabbas!” they answered. 22 “What, then, shall I do with Jesus called the Messiah?” Pilate asked them. “Crucify him!” they all answered. 23 But Pilate asked, “What crime has he committed?” Then they started shouting at the top of their voices: “Crucify him!” 24 When Pilate saw that it was no use to go on, but that a riot might break out, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am not responsible for the death of this man! This is your doing!” 25 The whole crowd answered, “Let the responsibility for his death fall on us and our children!” 26 Then Pilate set Barabbas free for them; and after he had Jesus whipped, he handed him over to be crucified. 27 Then Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace, and the whole company gathered round him. 28 They stripped off his clothes and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 Then they made a crown out of thorny branches and placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand; then they knelt before him and mocked him. “Long live the King of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spat on him, and took the stick and hit him over the head. 31When they had finished mocking him, they took the robe off and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha, which means, “The Place of the Skull”. 34 There they offered Jesus wine mixed with a bitter substance; but after tasting it, he would not drink it. 35 They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. 36 After that they sat there and watched him. 37 Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then they crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.39 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: 40“You were going to tear down the Temple and build it up again in three days! Save yourself if you are God’s Son! Come on down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders jeered at him: 42 “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Isn’t he the king of Israel? If he comes down off the cross now, we will believe in him! 43 He trusts in God and claims to be God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!” 44 Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way. 45 At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. 46 At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” 47 Some of the people standing there heard him and said, “He is calling for Elijah!” 48 One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make him drink it. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!” 50 Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last.51 Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, 52 the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. 53 They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them. 54 When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!” 55 There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee. 57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea arrived; his name was Joseph, and he also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went into the presence of Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. 59 So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, 60 and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, facing the tomb. 62 The next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘I will be raised to life three days later.’ 64 Give orders, then, for his tomb to be carefully guarded until the third day, so that his disciples will not be able to go and steal the body, and then tell the people that he was raised from death. This last lie would be even worse than the first one.”
12 April – Easter Day
Acts 10: 34 -43
34 Peter began to speak: “I now realise that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. 35 Those who worship him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, proclaiming the Good News of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know of the great event that took place throughout the land of Israel, beginning in Galilee after John preached his message of baptism. 38 You know about Jesus of Nazareth and how God poured out on him the Holy Spirit and power. He went everywhere, doing good and healing all who were under the power of the Devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything that he did in the land of Israel and in Jerusalem. Then they put him to death by nailing him to a cross. 40 But God raised him from death three days later and caused him to appear, 41 not to everyone, but only to the witnesses that God had already chosen, that is, to us who ate and drank with him after he rose from death. 42 And he commanded us to preach the gospel to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets spoke about him, saying that all who believe in him will have their sins forgiven through the power of his name.”
John 20: 1 – 18
1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the entrance. 2S he went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. 4 The two of them were running, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and saw the linen wrappings, but he did not go in. 6 Behind him came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there 7 and the cloth which had been round Jesus’ head. It was not lying with the linen wrappings but was rolled up by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand the scripture which said that he must rise from death.) 10 Then the disciples went back home. 11 Mary stood crying outside the tomb. While she was still crying, she bent over and looked in the tomb 12 and saw two angels there dressed in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13“Woman, why are you crying?” they asked her. She answered, “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have put him!” 14 Then she turned round and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15“Woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who is it that you are looking for?” She thought he was the gardener, so she said to him, “If you took him away, sir, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned towards him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher”.) 17 “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” 18 So Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and related to them what he had told her.
19 April Easter 2
Acts 2: 14a, 36 – 41
14 Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd. 22“Listen to these words, fellow-Israelites! Jesus of Nazareth was a man whose divine authority was clearly proven to you by all the miracles and wonders which God performed through him. You yourselves know this, for it happened here among you. 23 In accordance with his own plan God had already decided that Jesus would be handed over to you; and you killed him by letting sinful men crucify him. 24 But God raised him from death, setting him free from its power, because it was impossible that death should hold him prisoner. 25 For David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord before me at all times;he is near me, and I will not be troubled. 26 And so I am filled with gladness, and my words are full of joy. And I, mortal though I am, will rest assured in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me in the world of the dead; you will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave. 28 You have shown me the paths that lead to life, and your presence will fill me with joy.’ 29 “My fellow-Israelites, I must speak to you plainly about our famous ancestor King David. He died and was buried, and his grave is here with us to this very day. 30 He was a prophet, and he knew what God had promised him: God had made a vow that he would make one of David’s descendants a king, just as David was. 31 David saw what God was going to do in the future, and so he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah when he said: ‘He was not abandoned in the world of the dead; his body did not rot in the grave.’ 32 God has raised this very Jesus from death, and we are all witnesses to this fact.
John 20: 19 – end
19 It was late that Sunday evening, and the disciples were gathered together behind locked doors, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities. Then Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 After saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then stretch out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!” 30 In his disciples’ presence Jesus performed many other miracles which are not written down in this book. 31 But these have been written in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you may have life.