Saturday: Preparation for the Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany
Hebrew Scripture (Latter Prophets): Isaiah 46:1-13
Bel bows down, Nebo stoops,
their idols are on beasts and cattle;
these things you carry are loaded as burdens on weary animals.
They stoop, they bow down together;
they cannot save the burden,
but themselves go into captivity.
Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from your birth,
carried from the womb;
even to your old age I am he,
even when you turn gray I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, as though we were alike?
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales—
they hire a goldsmith, who makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries out to it,
it does not answer or save anyone from trouble.
Remember this and consider,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, “My purpose shall stand,
and I will fulfill my intention,”
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man for my purpose from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have planned, and I will do it.
Listen to me, you stubborn of heart,
you who are far from deliverance:
I bring near my deliverance,
it is not far off, and my salvation will not tarry;
I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.
Psalm 147:1-11, 20c
Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the Lord!
New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 12:9-14
He left that place [the field where the apostles plucked heads of grain] and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
There is a midrash/hypertext story about the miracle of the withered hand you might want to read. Here is a link: The Miracle of the Withered Hand.
Year B Epiphany 5 Saturday
Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.
Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.
Image credit: Jesus Heals the Man with the Withered Hand by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image. Image cropped by Michael Gilbertson to delete surrounding text.