Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience

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Read Through The New Testament in just 8 weeks with the NLT Bible and Immerse: Messiah
QUICK START GUIDE
3 ways to get the most out of your experience
  1. Use Immerse: Messiah instead of your regular chapter-and-verse Bible. This special reader’s edition restores the Bible to its natural simplicity and beauty by removing chapter and verse numbers and other historical additions. Letters look like letters, songs look like
    songs, and the original literary structures are visible in each book. 
  2. Commit to making this a community experience. Immerse is designed for groups to encounter large portions of the Bible together
    for 8 weeks—more like a book club, less like a Bible study. By meeting every week in small groups and discussing what you read in open, honest conversations, you and your community can come together to be transformed through an authentic experience with the Scriptures.
  3. Aim to understand the big story. Read through “The Stories and the Story” (p. 483) to see how the books of the Bible work together
    to tell God’s story of his creation’s restoration. As you read through Immerse: Messiah, rather than ask, “How do I fit God into my busy life?” begin asking, “How can I join in God’s great plan by living out my part in his story?”
4 Questions to get your conversations started:
  1. What stood out to you this week?
  2. Was there anything confusing or troubling?
  3. Did anything make you think differently about God?
  4. How might this change the way we live?
Part of NLT Immerse: The Reading Bible, Complete Set, the Winner of the 2022 Christian Book Award for Bible of the Year!
Messiah is the first of six volumes of Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience program. Messiah takes the reader on a new and unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each part of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together combine to provide the reader with enjoyable and impactful readings all centered on Jesus. The end result is a Bible developed for the purpose of being read and understood, not referred to. Messiah is a new way to interact with God’s Word.
Messiah delivers Scripture to the reader as it was originally created: without chapter or verse breaks. While references are made available for ease of finding specific Scripture references, those references do not appear within the actual text of Scripture. This makes for uninterrupted reading of God’s Word. Created with the look and feel of a paperback book, and written using the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, the most readable translation available, Messiah enables you to easily read and understand the Bible.

Currently featured in the Saddleback Church "Anchored Life Challenge." To join the challenge and read through the New Testament in 8 weeks, join at https://saddleback.com/anchored

What is Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience?

Read (and listen!) through the New Testament in 8 weeks with your small group or on your own.

Immerse: Messiah is the first of six volumes in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience. Messiah takes the reader on a unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each section of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together they combine to provide a life-changing reading experience centered on Jesus. This fresh arrangement of the books highlights the depth of the New Testament’s fourfold witness to Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God, who fulfills all the longings and promises of the collected Scriptures, can be experienced in Messiah through the rich variety of lenses provided by the books of the new covenant.

The Immerse Bible Series is the proud winner of the prestigious Bible of the Year award from the ECPA Christian Book Awards. Immerse: The Reading Bible is specially crafted for a distraction-free listening and reading experience, helping you dive in and get immersed in Scripture. You’ll have a great experience using Immerse by yourself. But for an even richer experience, try reading with friends.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is an invitation to a different kind of community interaction with the Bible. Less like a Bible study, more like a book club.

- 8 or 16-week Bible listening plans take you through a large section of the Bible like the New Testament or the Torah
- Meet once a week for a free-flowing discussion about the text
- Wrestle with questions and celebrate ‘aha!’ moments together

Nothing impacts spiritual growth more than spending time in Scripture. Immerse removes many of the barriers that make Bible reading difficult and invites communities to become transformed together through the power of God’s word.

Immerse Messiah 3
===

Andy Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for week one, day

Rick Warren: three. As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set

Andy Wood: out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare

Rick Warren: for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus, because he was on

Andy Wood: his way to Jerusalem.

When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, Lord, should we call down

Rick Warren: fire from heaven to burn them up? But Jesus turned and rebuked them, so they went on to another village. As they were walking along, someone said to

Andy Wood: Jesus, I will follow you wherever you go. But Jesus replied, Foxes

Rick Warren: have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of

Andy Wood: Man has no place

Rick Warren: even to lay his head.

He said to another person, Come, follow me.

Andy Wood: The man agreed, but he said, Lord, first let me return home and

Rick Warren: bury my [00:01:00] father.

Andy Wood: But Jesus told him, Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach about the kingdom of God. Another said, Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say goodbye to my family.

But Jesus told him, Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. The Lord now chose seventy two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. These were His instructions to them. The harvest is great, but the workers are few.

So pray to the Lord, who is in charge of the harvest. Ask Him to send more workers into His fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don't take any money with

Rick Warren: you,

Andy Wood: nor a

Rick Warren: traveler's bag. Nor an extra pair of sandals,

Andy Wood: and don't stop to greet anyone on the road. [00:02:00] Whenever you enter someone's home first, say, may God's peace beyond this house.

If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand. If

Rick Warren: they are not, the

Andy Wood: blessing will return to you. Don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place eating and drinking what they provide. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality because those who work deserve their pay. If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you, heal the sick and tell them, The kingdom of God is near you now.

But if a town refuses to welcome

Rick Warren: you, go out into its streets and say,

Andy Wood: We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet, to show that we have abandoned you to your fate.

Rick Warren: And know this, the kingdom of God is near.

Andy Wood: I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on Judgment Day. What sorrow awaits you, Chorazin and

Rick Warren: Bethsaida, for if the miracles I [00:03:00] did

Andy Wood: and you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented

Rick Warren: of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.

Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be

Andy Wood: better off on Judgment Day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. Then he said to the disciples, Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me, and anyone who rejects

Rick Warren: you is rejecting me, and anyone who rejects me is rejecting

Andy Wood: God who sent me.

When the Seventy Two Disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, Lord, even the demons obey

Rick Warren: us when we use your name. Yes, he told them,

Andy Wood: I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy,

Rick Warren: and you can walk among [00:04:00] snakes and scorpions and crush them.

Nothing will injure

Andy Wood: you, but don't rejoice because evil spirits obey

Rick Warren: you. Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven. At that same time, Jesus was filled

Andy Wood: with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,

Rick Warren: thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and

Andy Wood: for revealing them to the childlike.

Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. My

Rick Warren: father has entrusted everything to me.

Andy Wood: No one truly knows the son except the father. And no one truly knows the father except the son, and those to whom the son chooses to reveal

Rick Warren: him. Then when they were alone, he turned

Andy Wood: to the disciples and said, Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen.

I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see,

Rick Warren: but they didn't

Andy Wood: see it. [00:05:00] And they longed to hear

Rick Warren: what you hear, but they

Andy Wood: didn't hear it. One day, an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question. Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus replied, What does the law of Moses say?

How do you read it? The man answered, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your

Rick Warren: mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Andy Wood: Right, Jesus told him. Do this and you will live. The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

Jesus replied with a story. A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits.

Rick Warren: They stripped him of his

Andy Wood: clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance, a priest came along,

Rick Warren: but when he saw the man

Andy Wood: lying [00:06:00] there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.

A temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan

Rick Warren: came along,

Andy Wood: and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.

Rick Warren: Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn,

Andy Wood: where he took care of him.

The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here. Now which of these

Rick Warren: three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? Jesus asked.

Andy Wood: The man replied, The

Rick Warren: one who showed him mercy.

Then Jesus said, Yes. Now

Andy Wood: go and do the same. As Jesus and the

Rick Warren: disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, They came to a certain [00:07:00] village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary,

Andy Wood: sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was

Rick Warren: preparing.

She came to Jesus and said, Lord,

Andy Wood: doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me. But the Lord said to her, My dear Martha. You are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about.

Rick Warren: Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away

Andy Wood: from her.

Once Jesus was in a

Rick Warren: certain place, praying.

Andy Wood: As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Jesus said, This is how you should pray. Father,

Rick Warren: may your name be kept holy.

Andy Wood: May your kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food

Rick Warren: we need, and forgive us our [00:08:00] sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Andy Wood: And don't let us yield to

Rick Warren: temptation. Then teaching them more

Andy Wood: about prayer, he used this story. Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to

Rick Warren: him, A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit,

Andy Wood: and I have nothing for him to eat. And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, Don't bother me.

The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you. But I tell you this, Though he won't do it for friendship's sake, If you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need, Because of your shameless persistence. And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to [00:09:00] everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You fathers, if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a

Rick Warren: snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion?

Andy Wood: Of course not. So if you sinful people know how to give

Rick Warren: good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly

Andy Wood: Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? One day, Jesus cast out a demon from a man who

Rick Warren: couldn't speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, but some

Andy Wood: of them said, No wonder he can cast out demons.

He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons. Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He knew their thoughts, so he said, Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. [00:10:00] You say, I am empowered by Satan, but if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can

Rick Warren: his kingdom survive?

Andy Wood: And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe.

Until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him. Strips him of his weapons and carries off his belongings. Anyone who isn't with me, opposes me. And anyone who isn't working with me, is actually working against me. When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, I will return

Rick Warren: to the person I came from.

So it returns,

Andy Wood: and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.

Rick Warren: [00:11:00] Then the spirit finds seven other

Andy Wood: spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and

Rick Warren: live there. And

Andy Wood: so that person is worse off than before. As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, God bless your mother, the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you, Jesus replied.

But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice. As the crowd pressed

Rick Warren: in on Jesus, he said, This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him

Andy Wood: was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had

Rick Warren: sent him.

What happens to the Son of

Andy Wood: Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God. The Queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on Judgment

Rick Warren: Day and condemn it. For she came from a

Andy Wood: distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. [00:12:00] Now someone greater than Solomon is here, but you refuse to listen.

The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this

Rick Warren: generation on Judgment Day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here,

Andy Wood: but he

Rick Warren: refused to repent. No one lights a

Andy Wood: lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light, but when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness.

Rick Warren: Make sure that

Andy Wood: the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.

As Jesus was speaking,

Rick Warren: one [00:13:00] of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table.

Andy Wood: His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand

Rick Warren: washing

Andy Wood: ceremony required by Jewish custom.

Rick Warren: Then the Lord said to him, You

Andy Wood: Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy, full of greed and wickedness.

Fools! Didn't God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. What sorrow awaits you, Pharisees, for you are careful to tithe even the tiniest

Rick Warren: income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice

Andy Wood: and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

What sorrow awaits you, Pharisees, for you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces. [00:14:00] Yes, what sorrow awaits you,

Rick Warren: for you are like hidden graves

Andy Wood: in a field. People walk over them, without

Rick Warren: knowing the corruption they are stepping on.

Teacher, said an expert in religious

Andy Wood: law, you have insulted us too, in what you just said. Yes, said Jesus. What sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law, for you crush people with unbearable religious

Rick Warren: demands, and you never lift a finger to ease

Andy Wood: the burden. What sorrow awaits you, for you build

Rick Warren: monuments for the prophets

Andy Wood: your own ancestors killed long ago.

But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building

Rick Warren: the monuments.

Andy Wood: This is what God in His wisdom said about you. I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others. As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all [00:15:00] God's prophets from the creation of the world.

From the murder of Abel, to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation. What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law, for you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.

As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him

Rick Warren: into saying something they could use against

Andy Wood: him. Meanwhile, the crowds grew

Rick Warren: until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned

Andy Wood: first to his disciples and

Rick Warren: warned them,

Andy Wood: Beware of the yeasts

Rick Warren: of the Pharisees, their hypocrisy.

The time is coming when everything

Andy Wood: that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. [00:16:00] Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light. And what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear.

Rick Warren: Dear friends, don't

Andy Wood: be afraid of those who want to kill your body.

They cannot do any more to you after that. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He's the one to fear. What is the price of five sparrows? Two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of

Rick Warren: them, and the very hairs on your head are all

Andy Wood: numbered.

So don't be afraid. You are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. I tell you the truth. Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God's angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God's angels.

Anyone who [00:17:00] speaks

Rick Warren: against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And

Andy Wood: when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.

And then someone called from the crowd. Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father's estate with me. Jesus replied, Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that? Then he said, Beware, guard against every kind of greed, life is not

Rick Warren: measured by how much you own. Then he told them a story.

A rich man had a fertile

Andy Wood: farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, What should I do? I don't have room for all my

Rick Warren: crops. Then he said,

Andy Wood: I know. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store all my wheat and other [00:18:00] goods, and I'll sit back and say to

Rick Warren: myself, My friend, you

Andy Wood: have enough stored away for years to come.

Now take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry.

Rick Warren: But God

Andy Wood: said to him, you fool. You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for? Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth, but not have a rich relationship with God. Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear, for life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.

Rick Warren: Look at the ravens. They don't plant or harvest

Andy Wood: or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable

Rick Warren: to him than any birds.

Andy Wood: Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like [00:19:00] that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?

Look at the lilies and how they grow.

Rick Warren: They don't work or make their clothing,

Andy Wood: yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

And don't be concerned about what to eat and what

Rick Warren: to drink. Don't worry about such things.

Andy Wood: These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world. But your father already knows your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don't be afraid, little flock, for it gives your father great happiness

Rick Warren: to give

Andy Wood: you the kingdom.

Rick Warren: Sell your possessions and give to those in need.

Andy Wood: This will store up treasure for you in heaven. And the purses of heaven [00:20:00] never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe. No thief can steal it, and no moth can destroy it.

Rick Warren: Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart

Andy Wood: will also be. Be dressed for service, and keep your lamps burning as though you

Rick Warren: were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast.

Then you will be

Andy Wood: ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth. He himself

Rick Warren: will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat.

Andy Wood: He may come in the middle of the night or just before

Rick Warren: dawn, but

Andy Wood: whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

Rick Warren: Understand

Andy Wood: this. If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected, [00:21:00] Peter asked. Lord. It's that illustration just for us, or for everyone, and the Lord replied, A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the Master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants

Rick Warren: and feeding them.

If the Master returns

Andy Wood: and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth. The Master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if a servant thinks, my master won't be back for a while, and he begins beating the other servants,

Rick Warren: partying and getting drunk?

The master will return

Andy Wood: unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in

Rick Warren: pieces and banish

Andy Wood: him with the unfaithful. And a servant who knows what the master wants,

Rick Warren: but isn't prepared and doesn't carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.

Andy Wood: But someone who does not know, and then

Rick Warren: does something wrong, will be punished only lightly.

When someone has been given [00:22:00] much, much will be required in return. And when someone has been entrusted with

Andy Wood: much, even more will be required. I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning. I have a terrible baptism of

Rick Warren: suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until

Andy Wood: it is accomplished.

Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other. From now on families will be split apart. Three in favor of me and two against, or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son, and son against father. Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother, and mother in law against daughter

Rick Warren: in law, and daughter in law against mother in law.

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and

Andy Wood: said, When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, Here comes a shower. And you are right. When the south wind [00:23:00] blows, you say, Today will be a scorcher. And it is. You fools. You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don't know how to interpret the present times.

Why can't you decide for yourselves what is right? When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won't be free again until you have paid the very last

Rick Warren: penny.

About this time, Jesus was informed

Andy Wood: that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee, as they were offering sacrifices at the temple. Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee? Jesus asked, Is that why they suffered? Not

Rick Warren: at all.

Andy Wood: And you will perish too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.

And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in [00:24:00] Siloam fell on them? Were

Rick Warren: they the worst sinners in

Andy Wood: Jerusalem? No. And I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too. Then Jesus told this story. A man planted a fig tree

Rick Warren: in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was

Andy Wood: always disappointed.

Finally, he said to his

Rick Warren: gardener,

Andy Wood: I've waited three

Rick Warren: years and there hasn't been a single fig. Cut it down. It's just taking up space in the garden. The gardener answered. Sir, give it one more chance.

Andy Wood: Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine.

If not,

Rick Warren: then you can cut it down.

Andy Wood: One Sabbath day, as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit.

Rick Warren: She had been bent

Andy Wood: double for 18 years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, Dear woman, you are [00:25:00] healed of your sickness.

Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. There are six days of the week for working, he said to the crowd. Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath. But the Lord replied, You hypocrites, each of you works on the Sabbath day.

Don't you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn't it right that she be released, even on

Rick Warren: the Sabbath? This shamed his enemies,

Andy Wood: but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.

Then Jesus said, What is the kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate

Rick Warren: it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted

Andy Wood: in a garden. [00:26:00] It grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make

Rick Warren: nests in its branches. He also

Andy Wood: asked, What else is the kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread.

Rick Warren: Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures

Andy Wood: of flour, it permeated every part of the dough. This concludes today's Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.

Immerse Messiah 3
===

Andy Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for week one, day

Rick Warren: three. As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set

Andy Wood: out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare

Rick Warren: for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus, because he was on

Andy Wood: his way to Jerusalem.

When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, Lord, should we call down

Rick Warren: fire from heaven to burn them up? But Jesus turned and rebuked them, so they went on to another village. As they were walking along, someone said to

Andy Wood: Jesus, I will follow you wherever you go. But Jesus replied, Foxes

Rick Warren: have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of

Andy Wood: Man has no place

Rick Warren: even to lay his head.

He said to another person, Come, follow me.

Andy Wood: The man agreed, but he said, Lord, first let me return home and

Rick Warren: bury my [00:01:00] father.

Andy Wood: But Jesus told him, Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead. Your duty is to go and preach about the kingdom of God. Another said, Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say goodbye to my family.

But Jesus told him, Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. The Lord now chose seventy two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. These were His instructions to them. The harvest is great, but the workers are few.

So pray to the Lord, who is in charge of the harvest. Ask Him to send more workers into His fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Don't take any money with

Rick Warren: you,

Andy Wood: nor a

Rick Warren: traveler's bag. Nor an extra pair of sandals,

Andy Wood: and don't stop to greet anyone on the road. [00:02:00] Whenever you enter someone's home first, say, may God's peace beyond this house.

If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand. If

Rick Warren: they are not, the

Andy Wood: blessing will return to you. Don't move around from home to home. Stay in one place eating and drinking what they provide. Don't hesitate to accept hospitality because those who work deserve their pay. If you enter a town and it welcomes you, eat whatever is set before you, heal the sick and tell them, The kingdom of God is near you now.

But if a town refuses to welcome

Rick Warren: you, go out into its streets and say,

Andy Wood: We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet, to show that we have abandoned you to your fate.

Rick Warren: And know this, the kingdom of God is near.

Andy Wood: I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on Judgment Day. What sorrow awaits you, Chorazin and

Rick Warren: Bethsaida, for if the miracles I [00:03:00] did

Andy Wood: and you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented

Rick Warren: of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse.

Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be

Andy Wood: better off on Judgment Day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. Then he said to the disciples, Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me, and anyone who rejects

Rick Warren: you is rejecting me, and anyone who rejects me is rejecting

Andy Wood: God who sent me.

When the Seventy Two Disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, Lord, even the demons obey

Rick Warren: us when we use your name. Yes, he told them,

Andy Wood: I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy,

Rick Warren: and you can walk among [00:04:00] snakes and scorpions and crush them.

Nothing will injure

Andy Wood: you, but don't rejoice because evil spirits obey

Rick Warren: you. Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven. At that same time, Jesus was filled

Andy Wood: with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,

Rick Warren: thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and

Andy Wood: for revealing them to the childlike.

Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. My

Rick Warren: father has entrusted everything to me.

Andy Wood: No one truly knows the son except the father. And no one truly knows the father except the son, and those to whom the son chooses to reveal

Rick Warren: him. Then when they were alone, he turned

Andy Wood: to the disciples and said, Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen.

I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see,

Rick Warren: but they didn't

Andy Wood: see it. [00:05:00] And they longed to hear

Rick Warren: what you hear, but they

Andy Wood: didn't hear it. One day, an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question. Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus replied, What does the law of Moses say?

How do you read it? The man answered, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your

Rick Warren: mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Andy Wood: Right, Jesus told him. Do this and you will live. The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor?

Jesus replied with a story. A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits.

Rick Warren: They stripped him of his

Andy Wood: clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance, a priest came along,

Rick Warren: but when he saw the man

Andy Wood: lying [00:06:00] there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.

A temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan

Rick Warren: came along,

Andy Wood: and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.

Rick Warren: Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn,

Andy Wood: where he took care of him.

The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I'll pay you the next time I'm here. Now which of these

Rick Warren: three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? Jesus asked.

Andy Wood: The man replied, The

Rick Warren: one who showed him mercy.

Then Jesus said, Yes. Now

Andy Wood: go and do the same. As Jesus and the

Rick Warren: disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, They came to a certain [00:07:00] village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary,

Andy Wood: sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was

Rick Warren: preparing.

She came to Jesus and said, Lord,

Andy Wood: doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me. But the Lord said to her, My dear Martha. You are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth being concerned about.

Rick Warren: Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away

Andy Wood: from her.

Once Jesus was in a

Rick Warren: certain place, praying.

Andy Wood: As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Jesus said, This is how you should pray. Father,

Rick Warren: may your name be kept holy.

Andy Wood: May your kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food

Rick Warren: we need, and forgive us our [00:08:00] sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Andy Wood: And don't let us yield to

Rick Warren: temptation. Then teaching them more

Andy Wood: about prayer, he used this story. Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to

Rick Warren: him, A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit,

Andy Wood: and I have nothing for him to eat. And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, Don't bother me.

The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you. But I tell you this, Though he won't do it for friendship's sake, If you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need, Because of your shameless persistence. And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to [00:09:00] everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You fathers, if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a

Rick Warren: snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion?

Andy Wood: Of course not. So if you sinful people know how to give

Rick Warren: good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly

Andy Wood: Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? One day, Jesus cast out a demon from a man who

Rick Warren: couldn't speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, but some

Andy Wood: of them said, No wonder he can cast out demons.

He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons. Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He knew their thoughts, so he said, Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. [00:10:00] You say, I am empowered by Satan, but if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can

Rick Warren: his kingdom survive?

Andy Wood: And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe.

Until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him. Strips him of his weapons and carries off his belongings. Anyone who isn't with me, opposes me. And anyone who isn't working with me, is actually working against me. When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, I will return

Rick Warren: to the person I came from.

So it returns,

Andy Wood: and finds that its former home is all swept and in order.

Rick Warren: [00:11:00] Then the spirit finds seven other

Andy Wood: spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and

Rick Warren: live there. And

Andy Wood: so that person is worse off than before. As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, God bless your mother, the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you, Jesus replied.

But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice. As the crowd pressed

Rick Warren: in on Jesus, he said, This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him

Andy Wood: was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had

Rick Warren: sent him.

What happens to the Son of

Andy Wood: Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God. The Queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on Judgment

Rick Warren: Day and condemn it. For she came from a

Andy Wood: distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. [00:12:00] Now someone greater than Solomon is here, but you refuse to listen.

The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this

Rick Warren: generation on Judgment Day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here,

Andy Wood: but he

Rick Warren: refused to repent. No one lights a

Andy Wood: lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light, but when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness.

Rick Warren: Make sure that

Andy Wood: the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.

As Jesus was speaking,

Rick Warren: one [00:13:00] of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table.

Andy Wood: His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand

Rick Warren: washing

Andy Wood: ceremony required by Jewish custom.

Rick Warren: Then the Lord said to him, You

Andy Wood: Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy, full of greed and wickedness.

Fools! Didn't God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. What sorrow awaits you, Pharisees, for you are careful to tithe even the tiniest

Rick Warren: income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice

Andy Wood: and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

What sorrow awaits you, Pharisees, for you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces. [00:14:00] Yes, what sorrow awaits you,

Rick Warren: for you are like hidden graves

Andy Wood: in a field. People walk over them, without

Rick Warren: knowing the corruption they are stepping on.

Teacher, said an expert in religious

Andy Wood: law, you have insulted us too, in what you just said. Yes, said Jesus. What sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law, for you crush people with unbearable religious

Rick Warren: demands, and you never lift a finger to ease

Andy Wood: the burden. What sorrow awaits you, for you build

Rick Warren: monuments for the prophets

Andy Wood: your own ancestors killed long ago.

But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building

Rick Warren: the monuments.

Andy Wood: This is what God in His wisdom said about you. I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others. As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all [00:15:00] God's prophets from the creation of the world.

From the murder of Abel, to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation. What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law, for you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.

As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. They wanted to trap him

Rick Warren: into saying something they could use against

Andy Wood: him. Meanwhile, the crowds grew

Rick Warren: until thousands were milling about and stepping on each other. Jesus turned

Andy Wood: first to his disciples and

Rick Warren: warned them,

Andy Wood: Beware of the yeasts

Rick Warren: of the Pharisees, their hypocrisy.

The time is coming when everything

Andy Wood: that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. [00:16:00] Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light. And what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear.

Rick Warren: Dear friends, don't

Andy Wood: be afraid of those who want to kill your body.

They cannot do any more to you after that. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He's the one to fear. What is the price of five sparrows? Two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of

Rick Warren: them, and the very hairs on your head are all

Andy Wood: numbered.

So don't be afraid. You are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. I tell you the truth. Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God's angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God's angels.

Anyone who [00:17:00] speaks

Rick Warren: against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And

Andy Wood: when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.

And then someone called from the crowd. Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father's estate with me. Jesus replied, Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that? Then he said, Beware, guard against every kind of greed, life is not

Rick Warren: measured by how much you own. Then he told them a story.

A rich man had a fertile

Andy Wood: farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, What should I do? I don't have room for all my

Rick Warren: crops. Then he said,

Andy Wood: I know. I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store all my wheat and other [00:18:00] goods, and I'll sit back and say to

Rick Warren: myself, My friend, you

Andy Wood: have enough stored away for years to come.

Now take it easy. Eat, drink, and be merry.

Rick Warren: But God

Andy Wood: said to him, you fool. You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for? Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth, but not have a rich relationship with God. Then turning to his disciples, Jesus said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear, for life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.

Rick Warren: Look at the ravens. They don't plant or harvest

Andy Wood: or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable

Rick Warren: to him than any birds.

Andy Wood: Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like [00:19:00] that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?

Look at the lilies and how they grow.

Rick Warren: They don't work or make their clothing,

Andy Wood: yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

And don't be concerned about what to eat and what

Rick Warren: to drink. Don't worry about such things.

Andy Wood: These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world. But your father already knows your needs. Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don't be afraid, little flock, for it gives your father great happiness

Rick Warren: to give

Andy Wood: you the kingdom.

Rick Warren: Sell your possessions and give to those in need.

Andy Wood: This will store up treasure for you in heaven. And the purses of heaven [00:20:00] never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe. No thief can steal it, and no moth can destroy it.

Rick Warren: Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart

Andy Wood: will also be. Be dressed for service, and keep your lamps burning as though you

Rick Warren: were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast.

Then you will be

Andy Wood: ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth. He himself

Rick Warren: will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat.

Andy Wood: He may come in the middle of the night or just before

Rick Warren: dawn, but

Andy Wood: whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.

Rick Warren: Understand

Andy Wood: this. If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected, [00:21:00] Peter asked. Lord. It's that illustration just for us, or for everyone, and the Lord replied, A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the Master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants

Rick Warren: and feeding them.

If the Master returns

Andy Wood: and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth. The Master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if a servant thinks, my master won't be back for a while, and he begins beating the other servants,

Rick Warren: partying and getting drunk?

The master will return

Andy Wood: unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in

Rick Warren: pieces and banish

Andy Wood: him with the unfaithful. And a servant who knows what the master wants,

Rick Warren: but isn't prepared and doesn't carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.

Andy Wood: But someone who does not know, and then

Rick Warren: does something wrong, will be punished only lightly.

When someone has been given [00:22:00] much, much will be required in return. And when someone has been entrusted with

Andy Wood: much, even more will be required. I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning. I have a terrible baptism of

Rick Warren: suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until

Andy Wood: it is accomplished.

Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other. From now on families will be split apart. Three in favor of me and two against, or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son, and son against father. Mother against daughter, and daughter against mother, and mother in law against daughter

Rick Warren: in law, and daughter in law against mother in law.

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and

Andy Wood: said, When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, Here comes a shower. And you are right. When the south wind [00:23:00] blows, you say, Today will be a scorcher. And it is. You fools. You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don't know how to interpret the present times.

Why can't you decide for yourselves what is right? When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won't be free again until you have paid the very last

Rick Warren: penny.

About this time, Jesus was informed

Andy Wood: that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee, as they were offering sacrifices at the temple. Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee? Jesus asked, Is that why they suffered? Not

Rick Warren: at all.

Andy Wood: And you will perish too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.

And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in [00:24:00] Siloam fell on them? Were

Rick Warren: they the worst sinners in

Andy Wood: Jerusalem? No. And I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish too. Then Jesus told this story. A man planted a fig tree

Rick Warren: in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was

Andy Wood: always disappointed.

Finally, he said to his

Rick Warren: gardener,

Andy Wood: I've waited three

Rick Warren: years and there hasn't been a single fig. Cut it down. It's just taking up space in the garden. The gardener answered. Sir, give it one more chance.

Andy Wood: Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine.

If not,

Rick Warren: then you can cut it down.

Andy Wood: One Sabbath day, as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit.

Rick Warren: She had been bent

Andy Wood: double for 18 years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, Dear woman, you are [00:25:00] healed of your sickness.

Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God! But the leader in charge of the synagogue was indignant that Jesus had healed her on the Sabbath day. There are six days of the week for working, he said to the crowd. Come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath. But the Lord replied, You hypocrites, each of you works on the Sabbath day.

Don't you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn't it right that she be released, even on

Rick Warren: the Sabbath? This shamed his enemies,

Andy Wood: but all the people rejoiced at the wonderful things he did.

Then Jesus said, What is the kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate

Rick Warren: it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted

Andy Wood: in a garden. [00:26:00] It grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make

Rick Warren: nests in its branches. He also

Andy Wood: asked, What else is the kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread.

Rick Warren: Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures

Andy Wood: of flour, it permeated every part of the dough. This concludes today's Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.