Day 299 October 26
Then there was a great protest of the people and their wives against their fellow Jews. 2 Some said, “With our sons and daughters we are many, and we all need grain to eat and stay alive.”
3 Others said, “We have to mortgage our fields, our vineyards, and our houses in order to get grain during the famine.” 4 Still others said, “We have had to borrow money against our fields and vineyards in order to pay the king’s tax.”
5 “We are of the same flesh and blood as our kin, and our children are the same as theirs. Yet we are just about to force our sons and daughters into slavery, and some of our daughters are already slaves! There is nothing we can do since our fields and vineyards now belong to others.”
6 I was very angry when I heard their protest and these complaints. 7 After thinking it over, I brought charges against the officials and the officers. I told them, “You are all taking interest from your own people!” I also called for a large assembly in order to deal with them. 8 “To the best of our ability,” I said to them, “we have bought back our Jewish kin who had been sold to other nations. But now you are selling your own kin, who must then be bought back by us!” At this they were silent, unable to offer a response.
9 So I continued, “What you are doing isn’t good! Why don’t you walk in the fear of our God? This will prevent the taunts of the nations that are our enemies! 10 I myself, along with my family and my servants, am lending them money and grain. But let’s stop charging this interest! 11 Give it back to them, right now. Return their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses. And give back the interest on money, grain, wine, and oil that you are charging them.”
12 They replied, “We’ll return everything, and we won’t charge anything else. We’ll do what you’ve asked.” So I called the priests and made them swear to do what they had promised. 13 I also shook out the fold of my robe, saying, “So may God shake out everyone from their house and property if they don’t keep this promise. So may they be shaken out and emptied!” The whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
14 When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. 15 He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” 17 After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come.” 19 After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.
21 “But look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table. 22 The Human One goes just as it has been determined. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays him.” 23 They began to argue among themselves about which of them it could possibly be who would do this.
11 But Christ has appeared as the high priest of the good things that have happened. He passed through the greater and more perfect meeting tent, which isn’t made by human hands (that is, it’s not a part of this world). 12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time. 13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of cows made spiritually contaminated people holy and clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Jesus wash our consciences clean from dead works in order to serve the living God? He offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice without any flaw.
Prayer: how much more, O Lord, do you wash us thoroughly clean, in order that we may serve the Living God? Amen, amen.