Day 119 April 29
16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your shepherd’s rod and hit the land’s dirt so that lice appear in the whole land of Egypt.’” 17 They did this. Aaron stretched out his hand with his shepherd’s rod, hit the land’s dirt, and lice appeared on both people and animals. All the land’s dirt turned into lice throughout the whole land of Egypt.
18 The religious experts tried to produce lice by their secret knowledge, but they weren’t able to do it. There were lice on people and animals. 19 The religious experts said to Pharaoh, “This is something only God could do!” But Pharaoh was stubborn, and he wouldn’t listen to them, just as the LORD had said.
20 The LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes out to the water. Say to him, This is what the LORD says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. 21 If you refuse to let my people go, I’ll send swarms of insects on you, your officials, your people, and your houses. All Egyptian houses will be filled with swarms of insects and also the ground that they cover. 22 But on that day I’ll set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live. No swarms of insects will come there so you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. 23 I’ll put a barrier between my people and your people. This sign will happen tomorrow.” 24 The LORD did this. Great swarms of insects came into the houses of Pharaoh and his officials and into the whole land of Egypt. The land was ruined by the insects.
At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.
2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?” He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.
4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.
6-10 It was a custom at the Feast to release a prisoner, anyone the people asked for. There was one prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the insurrectionists who had committed murder during the uprising against Rome. As the crowd came up and began to present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate anticipated them: “Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?” Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him.
11-12 But the high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas. Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?” 13 They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!” 14 Pilate objected, “But for what crime?” But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!”
15 Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.
16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.
How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Prayer: give us faith to go out with courage, not knowing where we may have to go, but trusting in you this day. Amen.
Day 119 April 29