Leviticus 1The Message (MSG)
1 1-2 God called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When anyone presents an offering to God, present an animal from either the herd or the flock.
3-9 “If the offering is a Whole-Burnt-Offering from the herd, present a male without a defect at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting that it may be accepted by God. Lay your hand on the head of the Whole-Burnt-Offering so that it may be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. Slaughter the bull in God’s presence. Aaron’s sons, the priests, will make an offering of the blood by splashing it against all sides of the Altar that stands at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Next, skin the Whole-Burnt-Offering and cut it up. Aaron’s sons, the priests, will prepare a fire on the Altar, carefully laying out the wood, and then arrange the body parts, including the head and the suet, on the wood prepared for the fire on the Altar. Scrub the entrails and legs clean. The priest will burn it all on the Altar: a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God.
10-13 “If the Whole-Burnt-Offering comes from the flock, whether sheep or goat, present a male without defect. Slaughter it on the north side of the Altar in God’s presence. The sons of Aaron, the priests, will throw the blood against all sides of the Altar. Cut it up and the priest will arrange the pieces, including the head and the suet, on the wood prepared for burning on the Altar. Scrub the entrails and legs clean. The priest will offer it all, burning it on the Altar: a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God.
14-17 “If a bird is presented to God for the Whole-Burnt-Offering it can be either a dove or a pigeon. The priest will bring it to the Altar, wring off its head, and burn it on the Altar. But he will first drain the blood on the side of the Altar, remove the gizzard and its contents, and throw them on the east side of the Altar where the ashes are piled. Then rip it open by its wings but leave it in one piece and burn it on the Altar on the wood prepared for the fire: a Whole-Burnt-Offering, a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God.”
Leviticus 2The Message (MSG)
2 1-3 “When you present a Grain-Offering to God, use fine flour. Pour oil on it, put incense on it, and bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests. One of them will take a handful of the fine flour and oil, with all the incense, and burn it on the Altar for a memorial: a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God. The rest of the Grain-Offering is for Aaron and his sons—a most holy part of the Fire-Gifts to God.
4 “When you present a Grain-Offering of oven-baked loaves, use fine flour, mixed with oil but no yeast. Or present wafers made without yeast and spread with oil.
5-6 “If you bring a Grain-Offering cooked on a griddle, use fine flour mixed with oil but without yeast. Crumble it and pour oil on it—it’s a Grain-Offering.
7 “If you bring a Grain-Offering deep-fried in a pan, make it of fine flour with oil.
8-10 “Bring the Grain-Offering you make from these ingredients and present it to the priest. He will bring it to the Altar, break off a memorial piece from the Grain-Offering, and burn it on the Altar: a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God. The rest of the Grain-Offering is for Aaron and his sons—a most holy part of the gifts to God.
11-13 “All the Grain-Offerings that you present to God must be made without yeast; you must never burn any yeast or honey as a Fire-Gift to God. You may offer them to God as an offering of firstfruits but not on the Altar as a pleasing fragrance. Season every presentation of your Grain-Offering with salt. Don’t leave the salt of the covenant with your God out of your Grain-Offerings. Present all your offerings with salt.
14-16 “If you present a Grain-Offering of firstfruits to God, bring crushed heads of the new grain roasted. Put oil and incense on it—it’s a Grain-Offering. The priest will burn some of the mixed grain and oil with all the incense as a memorial—a Fire-Gift to God.”
Leviticus 3The Message (MSG)
3 1-5 “If your offering is a Peace-Offering and you present an animal from the herd, either male or female, it must be an animal without any defect. Lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s sons, the priests, will throw the blood on all sides of the Altar. As a Fire-Gift to God from the Peace-Offering, present all the fat that covers or is connected to the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat around them at the loins, and the lobe of the liver that is removed along with the kidneys. Aaron and his sons will burn it on the Altar along with the Whole-Burnt-Offering that is on the wood prepared for the fire: a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance to God.
6-11 “If your Peace-Offering to God comes from the flock, bring a male or female without defect. If you offer a lamb, offer it to God. Lay your hand on the head of your offering and slaughter it at the Tent of Meeting. The sons of Aaron will throw its blood on all sides of the Altar. As a Fire-Gift to God from the Peace-Offering, present its fat, the entire fat tail cut off close to the backbone, all the fat on and connected to the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat around them on the loins, and the lobe of the liver which is removed along with the kidneys. The priest will burn it on the Altar: a meal, a Fire-Gift to God.
12-16 “If the offering is a goat, bring it into the presence of God, lay your hand on its head, and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron’s sons will throw the blood on all sides of the Altar. As a Fire-Gift to God present the fat that covers and is connected to the entrails, the two kidneys and the fat which is around them on the loins, and the lobe of the liver which is removed along with the kidneys. The priest will burn them on the Altar: a meal, a Fire-Gift, a pleasing fragrance.
16-17 “All the fat belongs to God. This is the fixed rule down through the generations, wherever you happen to live: Don’t eat the fat; don’t eat the blood. None of it.”
Acts 13The Message (MSG)
Barnabas, Saul, and Doctor Know-It-All
13 1-2 The congregation in Antioch was blessed with a number of prophet-preachers and teachers:
One day as they were worshiping God—they were also fasting as they waited for guidance—the Holy Spirit spoke: “Take Barnabas and Saul and commission them for the work I have called them to do.”
3 So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off.
4-5 Sent off on their new assignment by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went down to Seleucia and caught a ship for Cyprus. The first thing they did when they put in at Salamis was preach God’s Word in the Jewish meeting places. They had John along to help out as needed.
6-7 They traveled the length of the island, and at Paphos came upon a Jewish wizard who had worked himself into the confidence of the governor, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man not easily taken in by charlatans. The wizard’s name was Bar-Jesus. He was as crooked as a corkscrew.
7-11 The governor invited Barnabas and Saul in, wanting to hear God’s Word firsthand from them. But Dr. Know-It-All (that’s the wizard’s name in plain English) stirred up a ruckus, trying to divert the governor from becoming a believer. But Saul (or Paul), full of the Holy Spirit and looking him straight in the eye, said, “You bag of wind, you parody of a devil—why, you stay up nights inventing schemes to cheat people out of God. But now you’ve come up against God himself, and your game is up. You’re about to go blind—no sunlight for you for a good long stretch.” He was plunged immediately into a shadowy mist and stumbled around, begging people to take his hand and show him the way.
12 When the governor saw what happened, he became a believer, full of enthusiasm over what they were saying about the Master.
Don’t Take This Lightly
13-14 From Paphos, Paul and company put out to sea, sailing on to Perga in Pamphylia. That’s where John called it quits and went back to Jerusalem. From Perga the rest of them traveled on to Antioch in Pisidia.
14-15 On the Sabbath they went to the meeting place and took their places. After the reading of the Scriptures—God’s Law and the Prophets—the president of the meeting asked them, “Friends, do you have anything you want to say? A word of encouragement, perhaps?”
16-20 Paul stood up, paused and took a deep breath, then said, “Fellow Israelites and friends of God, listen. God took a special interest in our ancestors, pulled our people who were beaten down in Egyptian exile to their feet, and led them out of there in grand style. He took good care of them for nearly forty years in that godforsaken wilderness and then, having wiped out seven enemies who stood in the way, gave them the land of Canaan for their very own—a span in all of about 450 years.
20-22 “Up to the time of Samuel the prophet, God provided judges to lead them. But then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, out of the tribe of Benjamin. After Saul had ruled forty years, God removed him from office and put King David in his place, with this commendation: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’
23-25 “From out of David’s descendants God produced a Savior for Israel, Jesus, exactly as he promised—but only after John had thoroughly alerted the people to his arrival by preparing them for a total life-change. As John was finishing up his work, he said, ‘Did you think I was the One? No, I’m not the One. But the One you’ve been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I’m about to disappear.’
26-29 “Dear brothers and sisters, children of Abraham, and friends of God, this message of salvation has been precisely targeted to you. The citizens and rulers in Jerusalem didn’t recognize who he was and condemned him to death. They couldn’t find a good reason, but demanded that Pilate execute him anyway. They did just what the prophets said they would do, but had no idea they were following to the letter the script of the prophets, even though those same prophets are read every Sabbath in their meeting places.
29-31 “After they had done everything the prophets said they would do, they took him down from the cross and buried him. And then God raised him from death. There is no disputing that—he appeared over and over again many times and places to those who had known him well in the Galilean years, and these same people continue to give witness that he is alive.
32-35 “And we’re here today bringing you good news: the Message that what God promised the fathers has come true for the children—for us! He raised Jesus, exactly as described in the second Psalm:
My Son! My very own Son!
“When he raised him from the dead, he did it for good—no going back to that rot and decay for him. That’s why Isaiah said, ‘I’ll give to all of you David’s guaranteed blessings.’ So also the psalmist’s prayer: ‘You’ll never let your Holy One see death’s rot and decay.’
36-39 “David, of course, having completed the work God set out for him, has been in the grave, dust and ashes, a long time now. But the One God raised up—no dust and ashes for him! I want you to know, my very dear friends, that it is on account of this resurrected Jesus that the forgiveness of your sins can be promised. He accomplishes, in those who believe, everything that the Law of Moses could never make good on. But everyone who believes in this raised-up Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God.
40-41 “Don’t take this lightly. You don’t want the prophet’s sermon to describe you:
Watch out, cynics;
42-43 When the service was over, Paul and Barnabas were invited back to preach again the next Sabbath. As the meeting broke up, a good many Jews and converts to Judaism went along with Paul and Barnabas, who urged them in long conversations to stick with what they’d started, this living in and by God’s grace.
44-45 When the next Sabbath came around, practically the whole city showed up to hear the Word of God. Some of the Jews, seeing the crowds, went wild with jealousy and tore into Paul, contradicting everything he was saying, making an ugly scene.
46-47 But Paul and Barnabas didn’t back down. Standing their ground they said, “It was required that God’s Word be spoken first of all to you, the Jews. But seeing that you want no part of it—you’ve made it quite clear that you have no taste or inclination for eternal life—the door is open to all the outsiders. And we’re on our way through it, following orders, doing what God commanded when he said,
I’ve set you up
48-49 When the non-Jewish outsiders heard this, they could hardly believe their good fortune. All who were marked out for real life put their trust in God—they honored God’s Word by receiving that life. And this Message of salvation spread like wildfire all through the region.
50-52 Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.