November 24, 2019
Old Testament: Malachi 3:13-18
“Your words against me are hard,” says the Lord.
“You ask, ‘How have we spoken against you?’
“You have said, ‘It is pointless to serve God. What do we gain if we meet his standards or if we walk around feeling sorry for what we’ve done? So now we call arrogant people blessed. Not only are evildoers encouraged, they even test God and get away with it.’”
Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord paid attention and listened. A book was written in his presence to be a reminder to those who feared the Lord and respected his name.
“They will be mine,” says the Lord of Armies. “On that day I will make them my special possession. I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then you will again see the difference between righteous people and wicked people, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him.
Epistle Reading: Colossians 1:13-20
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Gospel Reading: Luke 23:27-43
A large crowd followed Jesus. The women in the crowd cried and sang funeral songs for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “You women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me! Rather, cry for yourselves and your children! The time is coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the women who could not get pregnant, who could not give birth, and who could not nurse a child.’ Then people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ If people do this to a green tree what will happen to a dry one?” Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be executed with him.
When they came to the place called The Skull they crucified him. The criminals were also crucified, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” Meanwhile, the soldiers divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice.
The people stood there watching, but the rulers were making sarcastic remarks. They said, “He saved others. If he is the Messiah that God has chosen let him save himself!”
The soldiers also made fun of him. They would go up to him, offer him some vinegar and say, “If you’re the king of the Jews, save yourself!” A written notice was placed above him. It said, “This is the king of the Jews.”
One of the criminals hanging there insulted Jesus by saying, “So you’re really the Messiah, are you? Well, save yourself and us!”
The other criminal scolded him: “Don’t you fear God at all? Can’t you see that you are condemned in the same way that he is? Our punishment is fair. We’re getting what we deserve, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
Jesus said to him, “I can guarantee this truth: Today you will be with me in paradise.”