Sunday, March 14, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Great Lent:
Sunday of the Judge
 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”
 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
 “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?”
 And Jesus began to say to them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray.
 Many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.
 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is not yet.
 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.
 “But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.
 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
 And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;
 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
 “But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;
 let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away;
 and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle.
 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!
 Pray that it may not happen in winter.
 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be.
 And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.
 And then if any one says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.
 False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
 But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand.
 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.
 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
 “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
 Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.
 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.
 Watch therefore — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning —
 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
 And what I say to you I say to all: Watch.”
 Thus says the LORD:
“As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, `Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall dwell there.
 Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks,
and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
for my people who have sought me.
 But you who forsake the LORD,
who forget my holy mountain,
who set a table for Fortune
and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny;
 I will destine you to the sword,
and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter;
because, when I called, you did not answer,
when I spoke, you did not listen,
but you did what was evil in my eyes,
and chose what I did not delight in.”
 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
“Behold, my servants shall eat,
but you shall be hungry;
behold, my servants shall drink,
but you shall be thirsty;
behold, my servants shall rejoice,
but you shall be put to shame;
 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart,
but you shall cry out for pain of heart,
and shall wail for anguish of spirit.
 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse,
and the Lord GOD will slay you;
but his servants he will call by a different name.
 So that he who blesses himself in the land
shall bless himself by the God of truth,
and he who takes an oath in the land
shall swear by the God of truth;
because the former troubles are forgotten
and are hid from my eyes.
 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth;
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
 But be glad and rejoice for ever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing,
and her people a joy.
 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the child shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their children with them.
 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain, says the LORD.”
 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you.
 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.
 For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.
 Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more:
 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee,
 as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless.
 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
 Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ
 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith;
 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
 that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
 Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
 Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you.
 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
 Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us.
 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
 Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
 But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
 who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.
 Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
 I entreat Eu-o’dia and I entreat Syn’tyche to agree in the Lord.
 And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
 Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.
 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
 nor will they say, `Lo, here it is!’ or `There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it.
 And they will say to you, `Lo, there!’ or `Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them.
 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day.
 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man.
 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot — they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built,
 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all —
 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed.
 On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back.
 Remember Lot’s wife.
 Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.
 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.”
 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man;
 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, `Vindicate me against my adversary.’
 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, `Though I neither fear God nor regard man,
 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming.’”
 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.
 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?
 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:
 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
 I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’
 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America