Leviticus 17-18 The Message (MSG)
Holy Living: Sacrifices and Blood
17 1-7 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites. Tell them, This is what God commands: Any and every man who slaughters an ox or lamb or goat inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it to God in front of The Dwelling of God—that man is considered guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood and must be cut off from his people. This is so the Israelites will bring to God the sacrifices that they’re in the habit of sacrificing out in the open fields. They must bring them to God and the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and sacrifice them as Peace-Offerings to God. The priest will splash the blood on the Altar of God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and burn the fat as a pleasing fragrance to God. They must no longer offer their sacrifices to goat-demons—a kind of religious orgy. This is a perpetual decree down through the generations.
8-9 “Tell them, Any Israelite or foreigner living among them who offers a Whole-Burnt-Offering or Peace-Offering but doesn’t bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to sacrifice it to God, that person must be cut off from his people.
10-12 “If any Israelite or foreigner living among them eats blood, I will disown that person and cut him off from his people, for the life of an animal is in the blood. I have provided the blood for you to make atonement for your lives on the Altar; it is the blood, the life, that makes atonement. That’s why I tell the People of Israel, ‘Don’t eat blood.’ The same goes for the foreigner who lives among you, ‘Don’t eat blood.’
13-14 “Any and every Israelite—this also goes for the foreigners—who hunts down an animal or bird that is edible, must bleed it and cover the blood with dirt, because the life of every animal is its blood—the blood is its life. That’s why I tell the Israelites, ‘Don’t eat the blood of any animal because the life of every animal is its blood. Anyone who eats the blood must be cut off.’
15-16 “Anyone, whether native or foreigner, who eats from an animal that is found dead or mauled must wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening and is then clean. If he doesn’t wash or bathe his body, he’ll be held responsible for his actions.”
18 1-5 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, I am God, your God. Don’t live like the people of Egypt where you used to live, and don’t live like the people of Canaan where I’m bringing you. Don’t do what they do. Obey my laws and live by my decrees. I am your God. Keep my decrees and laws: The person who obeys them lives by them. I am God.
6 “Don’t have sex with a close relative. I am God.
7 “Don’t violate your father by having sex with your mother. She is your mother. Don’t have sex with her.
8 “Don’t have sex with your father’s wife. That violates your father.
9 “Don’t have sex with your sister, whether she’s your father’s daughter or your mother’s, whether she was born in the same house or elsewhere.
10 “Don’t have sex with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter. That would violate your own body.
11 “Don’t have sex with the daughter of your father’s wife born to your father. She is your sister.
12 “Don’t have sex with your father’s sister; she is your aunt, closely related to your father.
13 “Don’t have sex with your mother’s sister; she is your aunt, closely related to your mother.
14 “Don’t violate your father’s brother, your uncle, by having sex with his wife. She is your aunt.
15 “Don’t have sex with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; don’t have sex with her.
16 “Don’t have sex with your brother’s wife; that would violate your brother.
17 “Don’t have sex with both a woman and her daughter. And don’t have sex with her granddaughters either. They are her close relatives. That is wicked.
18 “Don’t marry your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sex with her while your wife is living.
19 “Don’t have sex with a woman during the time of her menstrual period when she is unclean.
20 “Don’t have sex with your neighbor’s wife and violate yourself by her.
21 “Don’t give any of your children to be burned in sacrifice to the god Molech—an act of sheer blasphemy of your God. I am God.
22 “Don’t have sex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent.
23 “Don’t have sex with an animal and violate yourself by it.
“A woman must not have sex with an animal. That is perverse.
24-28 “Don’t pollute yourself in any of these ways. This is how the nations became polluted, the ones that I am going to drive out of the land before you. Even the land itself became polluted and I punished it for its iniquities—the land vomited up its inhabitants. You must keep my decrees and laws—natives and foreigners both. You must not do any of these abhorrent things. The people who lived in this land before you arrived did all these things and polluted the land. And if you pollute it, the land will vomit you up just as it vomited up the nations that preceded you.
29-30 “Those who do any of these abhorrent things will be cut off from their people. Keep to what I tell you; don’t engage in any of the abhorrent acts that were practiced before you came. Don’t pollute yourselves with them. I am God, your God.”
Matthew 27:27-50 The Message (MSG)
27-31 The soldiers assigned to the governor took Jesus into the governor’s palace and got the entire brigade together for some fun. They stripped him and dressed him in a red toga. They plaited a crown from branches of a thornbush and set it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand for a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mocking reverence: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” they said. “Bravo!” Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick. When they had had their fun, they took off the toga and put his own clothes back on him. Then they proceeded out to the crucifixion.
32-34 Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.
35-40 After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they whiled away the time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
41-44 The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.
45-46 From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
47-49 Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.”
50 But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.