The three chapters for today deals with the resurrection in the New Testament and famine and some sneaky testing of his brothers by Joseph in the Old Testament.
January 21: John 20, Genesis 42, Genesis 43 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
John 20 deals with the resurrection, and Jesus was not there, only his grave clothes, strips of cloth, not the “Turin Shroud.” It was the first day of the week and Jesus showed himself to all the disciples except Thomas. He doubted their testimony, and it is from this we have the expression “Doubting Thomas.” Later, when even he saw Jesus, he bowed down and worshiped him saying “My Lord, and my God”. Jesus also gave the promise they would receive the Holy Spirit.
In Genesis 42 there was famine in Canaan, as happened quite regularly, so Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy food. They met Joseph, now governor of Egypt, and he demanded to see Benjamin, who was left behind with Jacob. They agreed to do so and left one of the brothers behind as collateral. Joseph was very distraught at the proposition, since Joseph and Benjamin were his favorite children.
And in Genesis 43 the famine continued, so they had to go back to Egypt for more. This time they had to bring Benjamin with them to keep their promise to Joseph. Joseph gave them all food from his table, and he gave a five times larger portion to Benjamin. So ends that chapter.
The chapter chosen for today is so gigantic, and the consequences of reading and the potential life changing results of understanding the message, it deserves to be digested by itself.
January 20: John 19 (click on the chapter to read it)
I took the liberty to incorporate all the seven words of Christ on the cross. This requires to take passages from the Gospel of Luke, as well as from the Gospel pf Matthew or Mark. It helped me a lot to get the time-order of events as well as the completeness of Christ substitutionary sacrifice on the Cross and the completeness of it. It is finished!
Today’s three chapters makes for fantastic reading, even if it is only read as literature. There is deep spiritual meaning in the Bible, and the New Testament chapter should be mandatory reading for all, to help us understand our history and literature.
January 19: John 18, Genesis 40, Genesis 41 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
John 18 deals with the last 24 hours of Jesus life, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent arrest of Jesus, the trial before Annas, Peter’s first denial, Jesus trial before Caiaphas, Peter’s second and third denial, the cock crowing, Jesus paraded before Pilate, seeing a way out, Pilate sent him to Herod, who sent him back to Pilate, Pilate offered to release Jesus or Barabbas, the people demanded that Barabbas be released.
Genesis 40 deals with dreams. Joseph’s two fellow cellmates in prison each had a dream, Joseph interpreted the dreams that the cup-bearer will be released and restored to his former position, while the baker will be hanged on a tree.
In Genesis 41 Pharaoh himself had a dream, and Joseph was released from prison to interpret the dream. It dealt with seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Joseph interpreted the dream so well that Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all affairs of Egypt. The seven years of plenty came and good harvests filled the storehouses. Then came the seven years of famine.
The four chapters chosen for today are all great literature, as well as spiritually deep.
January 18: John 17, Genesis 37, Genesis 38, Genesis 39 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
John 18 is commonly called Jesus’ high priestly prayer. In some conservative circles it is also called “The Lord’s prayer.” In it Jesus prays for himself, then he prays for his disciples, and then he prays for all future believers. In the end of the chapter he prays that the believers will see his glory, the glory God gave him before the creation of the world.
Genesis 37 tells of Joseph’s dreams, outrageous as they were they made his brothers jealous, so they sold him into slavery to Potiphar in Egypt.
Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah and Tamar. One of the rules of the Old Testament is that if a man dies without producing an heir it was the duty of his brother to try to produce an offspring to his widow. Onan shirked this responsibility, and that was the sin of Onan. Tamar was thus still barren, so she tricked Judah into committing adultery. You can read it for yourself. Judah finally confessed: She is more righteous than I.
Genesis 39 then picks up the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. The story is a classic, and for doing the right thing, Joseph is falsely accused and thrown in jail.
The three chapters chosen for today are all different. John 16 is full of promise and trouble, more promise and trouble in Genesis 35, followed by a chapter on genealogy.
January 17: John 16, Genesis 35, Genesis 36 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In John 16 Jesus continued his instructions to his disciples, beginning with explaining why it is good he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit. He ends with this encouragement: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Genesis 35. Jacob returned to Bethel, got rid of all the idols and built an altar. Moving on from Bethel, Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, a birth so hard Rachel died in childbirth. Finally it tells of the death of Isaac.
In Genesis 36 is recorded the genealogy of Esau and the rulers of Edom.
The four chapters chosen for today are full of promise, but also trouble and conflict.
January 16: John 15, Genesis 32, Genesis 33, Genesis 34 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
In John 15 Jesus continued his instructions to the disciples. There are many memorable quotes from this chapter: “I am the true vine, I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing, as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, love each other as I have loved you, greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends, this is my command: Love each other” and “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
In Genesis 32 Jacob, schemer as the was, prepared to meet Esau. He figured Esau wanted to kill him, so he split up his company in two, and gave instructions to his messengers on what to say to make Esau less vindictive. Then the Jacob family crossed the Ford of Jabbok. On the other side they camped for the night, and Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and prevailed, but got a limp in his hip. God then ggave Jacob a new, spiritual name, Israel.
In Genesis 33 Jacob finally met up with Esau, and it turned out that Esau was rejoicing to see Jacob and all his children.
Trouble started in Genesis 34. Dinah was violated by an uncircumcised person, two of her brothers executed revenge on not only the violator but every male in the whole town, killing them all. Jacob said: “You have troubled me to make me a stink among the inhabitants of the land.” And so trouble started.
The three chapters chosen for today deal with departures, promises, and yes, deceit.
January 15: John 14, Genesis 30, Genesis 31 (click on the chapter to begin reading)
John 14 records the events of the hour after the Passover meal before they all depart to Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples he is going away to prepare a mansion, more precisely a dwelling place for them. Since he was leaving he promised to send another comforter or advocate. (I have put in a short explanation on the difference in the interpretation of this passage between Christianity and Islam). Jesus then explained clearly he will be going away and send the Holy Spirit in his place.
Genesis 30 records the remaining children born to Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also tells a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own was bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargained with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquired the majority of the flocks, and became wealthy.
This displeased the sons of Laban, so in Genesis 31 Jacob fled from Laban. However, as Jacob, wives and children all were set to depart, Rachel stole Laban’s idols. Laban found out the idols were missing, pursued Jacob and caught up with him. Laban looked for the idols, at no avail, Rachel had hid them under the saddle of her camel and sat on it claiming she had her period. Finally Laban gave in, said farewell to all and he and Joseph established the Mizpah.