Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Great and Holy Wednesday
 It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth, and kill him;
 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult of the people.”
 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
 But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted?
 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her.
 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me.
 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying.
 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
 And when they heard it they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.
 And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.
 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth,
 and said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.
 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree,
 while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on — since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”
 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.”
 And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.
 Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
 They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”
 The LORD said, “I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.
 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?”
 The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, `Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’
 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son.”
 But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
 Then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way.
 The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
 seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him?
 No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
 Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor’rah is great and their sin is very grave,
 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.”
 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD.
 Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?
 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
 Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
 And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
 Abraham answered, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
 Again he spoke to him, and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”
 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”
 He said, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”
 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”
 And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth,
 and said, “My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the street.”
 But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house;
 and they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”
 Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him,
 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.
 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
 But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door.
 But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door.
 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door.
 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place;
 for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up, get out of this place; for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.”
 But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city.
 And when they had brought them forth, they said, “Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley; flee to the hills, lest you be consumed.”
 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords;
 behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life; but I cannot flee to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me, and I die.
 Behold, yonder city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there — is it not a little one? — and my life will be saved!”
 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.
 Make haste, escape there; for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zo’ar.
 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zo’ar.
 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomor’rah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
 and he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
 But Lot’s wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD;
 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomor’rah and toward all the land of the valley, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.
 Now Lot went up out of Zo’ar, and dwelt in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zo’ar; so he dwelt in a cave with his two daughters.
 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood,
let us wantonly ambush the innocent;
 like Sheol let us swallow them alive
and whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
 we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with spoil;
 throw in your lot among us,
we will all have one purse” —
 my son, do not walk in the way with them,
hold back your foot from their paths;
 for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood.
 For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird;
 but these men lie in wait for their own blood,
they set an ambush for their own lives.
 Such are the ways of all who get gain by violence;
it takes away the life of its possessors.
 So it was annulled on that day, and the traffickers in the sheep, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.
 Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty shekels of silver.
 Then the LORD said to me, “Cast it into the treasury” — the lordly price at which I was paid off by them. So I took the thirty shekels of silver and cast them into the treasury in the house of the LORD.
 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Ca’iaphas,
 and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult among the people.”
 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table.
 But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?
 For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor.”
 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.
 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.
 In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial.
 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.
 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America