Isaiah 49:1-7 The Voice (VOICE)
True peace begins with knowing God. Those who listen and live by His teachings find that wholeness and goodness flood into their lives. The wicked, however, face a different reality; they live with constant danger and problems.
49 Listen to this, everyone—near and far:
6 Eternal One: As My servant you will do even more than this,
7 This is what the Eternal One, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel,
Eternal One: At the sight of you, kings will rise and princes will bow down,
The Eternal has this to say:
Psalm 71:1-14 The Voice (VOICE)
1 I have found shelter in You, Eternal One;
4 Save me from the power of sinful people, O my God,
7 Many find me a mystery,
12 God, stay close by me.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 The Voice (VOICE)
18 For people who are stumbling toward ruin, the message of the cross is nothing but a tall tale for fools by a fool. But for those of us who are already experiencing the reality of being rescued and made right, it is nothing short of God’s power. 19 This is why the Scripture says:
I will put an end to the wisdom of the so-called wise,
20 So now, where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the skilled debater, the best of your time? Step up, if you dare. Hasn’t God made fools out of those who count on the wisdom of this rebellious, broken world? 21 For in God’s deep wisdom, He made it so that the world could not even begin to comprehend Him through its own style of wisdom; in fact, God took immense pleasure in rescuing people of faith through the foolishness of the message we preach. 22 It seems the Jews are always asking for signs and the Greeks are always on the prowl for wisdom. 23 But we tell a different story. We proclaim a crucified Jesus, God’s Anointed. For Jews this is scandalous, for outsiders[b] this is moronic, 24 but for those of us living out God’s call—regardless of our Jewish or Greek heritage—we know the Anointed embodies God’s dynamic power and God’s deep wisdom. 25 You can count on this: God’s foolishness will always be wiser than mere human wisdom, and God’s weakness will always be stronger than mere human strength.
The cross challenges human values because no one expects to find freedom through capital punishment. Unlike most of the thousands who faced crucifixion before and after Jesus, He was clearly not a criminal. God uses this contradiction to reveal His power and wisdom: Jesus has offered Himself to death and has been raised to life to bring liberation to others. Those who truly follow this crucified king do not seek power and authority through the normal patterns of the world; they offer themselves in loving sacrifice for others. That is where God’s transforming power is truly revealed in the church.
26 Look carefully at your call, brothers and sisters. By human standards, not many of you are deemed to be wise. Not many are considered powerful. Not many of you come from royalty, right? 27 But celebrate this: God selected the world’s foolish to bring shame upon those who think they are wise; likewise, He selected the world’s weak to bring disgrace upon those who think they are strong. 28 God selected the common and the castoff, whatever lacks status, so He could invalidate the claims of those who think those things are significant. 29 So it makes no sense for any person to boast in God’s presence. 30 Instead, credit God with your new situation: you are united with Jesus the Anointed. He is God’s wisdom for us and more. He is our righteousness and holiness and redemption. 31 As the Scripture says: “If someone wants to boast, he should boast in the Lord.”[c]
John 12:20-36 The Voice (VOICE)
20 Among the crowds traveling to Jerusalem were Greeks seeking to follow God and worship at the great feast. 21-22 Some of them came to Philip with an important request.
Greek Pilgrims (to Philip): Sir, we are hoping to meet Jesus.
Philip, a disciple from the Galilean village of Bethsaida, told Andrew that these Greeks wanted to see Jesus. Together Andrew and Philip approached Jesus to inform Him about the request.
Jesus (to Philip and Andrew): 23 The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth: unless a grain of wheat is planted in the ground and dies, it remains a solitary seed. But when it is planted, it produces in death a great harvest. 25 The one who loves this life will lose it, and the one who despises it in this world will have life forevermore. 26 Anyone who serves Me must follow My path; anyone who serves Me will want to be where I am, and he will be honored by the Father. 27 My spirit is low and unsettled. How can I ask the Father to save Me from this hour? This hour is the purpose for which I have come into the world. But what I can say is this: 28 “Father, glorify Your name!”
Suddenly a voice echoed from the heavens.
The Father: I have glorified My name. And again I will bring glory in this hour that will resound throughout time.
29 The crowd of people surrounding Jesus were confused.
Some in the Crowd: It sounded like thunder.
Others: A heavenly messenger spoke to Him.
Jesus: 30 The voice you hear has not spoken for My benefit, but for yours. 31 Now judgment comes upon this world, and everything will change. The tyrant of this world, Satan, will be thrown out. 32 When I am lifted up from the earth, then all of humanity will be drawn to Me.
33 These words foreshadowed the nature of His death.
Crowd: 34 The law teaches that the Anointed is the One who will remain without end. How can You say it is essential that the Son of Man be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man You are talking about?
Jesus: 35 Light is among you, but very soon it will flicker out. Walk as you have the light, and then the darkness will not surround you. Those who walk in darkness don’t know where they are going. 36 While the light is with you, believe in the light; and you will be reborn as sons and daughters of the light.
After speaking these words, Jesus left the people to go to a place of seclusion.
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