Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for the Wednesday of Holy Week
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.

* Isaiah 50: 4-9a

The LORD God has given me the gift of the gab
    so that my words can teach others
    and put a spring in the step of the weary.

As I wake up each new day,
    God makes me hungry for learning.
The LORD cleaned out my ears
    so that I could hear every word.
I learned eagerly;
    I never rebelled or quit.

I was opposed by others,
    but I gritted my teeth and stood my ground.
I looked them in the eye
    when they insulted me and spat in my face.
I took it on the chin and did not fight back,
    when they gave me a belting and tore out my hair.

The Lord GOD is always there for me,
    so no disgrace ever gets to me.
I have steeled my jaw and dug in my heels,
    and I’m sure I’ll never be ashamed of my stand
        because I can trust God to back me up.

So, who thinks they can take me on?
    Let them stand up and face me!
Who are my opponents?
    Let’s see what they’re made of!

The Lord GOD is backing me;
    so who is going to accuse me of doing wrong?

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* Psalm 70

Please God, deliver me!
........Help me, LORD, quickly!

These people are out to get me, LORD;
........leave them confused
................with egg all over their faces.
They are trying to do me harm;
........knock them off their perches
................and send them packing.

When they smirk and make a joke of me, them out of town in disgrace.

Put a smile on the face
........of everyone who seeks you, LORD.
Give everyone who loves your ways
........reason to celebrate your greatness forever.

But right now, God, I need your help in a hurry;
........I can’t make ends meet.
You are the one who helps me;
........the one who rescues me from danger.
................Quickly, LORD, help me without delay!

©2002 Nathan Nettleton

* Hebrews 12: 1-3

........So, we are by no means running the race alone! The air around us is thick with encouragement — all these heroes who bore witness to the truth before us, cheering us on. So let’s strip down for the run that lies ahead, tossing aside everything that would hold us back, especially the sin that clings on so tenaciously. And then let’s get on with it — run and run and never quit until we’ve crossed the line. We can do it if we just keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, because he has led the way and become the first to complete this faith marathon. He was so focussed on the goal that he was able to push on through the pain barriers, enduring the agony and humiliation of the cross. He knew that the celebrations would make it all worth while, and sure enough, he now enjoys the number one seat of honour alongside God’s throne.
........So, whenever you feel yourself running low on energy or confidence, think again about him and how he endured the violent hostility directed at him by faithless people, and draw new strength from that.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* John 13: 21-32

........During the supper, Jesus began to get quite churned up, and before long they all knew why. “I kid you not,” he said, “one of you lot is going to double-cross me.”
........The disciples began scanning each others faces, looking for a clue as to who he was talking about. Simon Peter whispered to one of the other disciples — the one with whom Jesus was most intimate and who was sitting next to him at the time — saying, “Ask him who he’s talking about.”
........So he did. He leaned over and asked, “Lord, who is it?”
........Jesus answered quietly, “I’ll dip this bread in the gravy and hand it to him. He’s the one.”
........So Jesus dipped a piece of bread in the gravy and handed it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. When he received the piece of bread, the satan got into his head and took over. Jesus said to him, “What you’ve got to do, you’ve got to do. Go, and get it over and done with quickly.”
........At the time, no one else at the table understood what he meant when he said this to Judas. Judas handled their finances, so some of them just assumed that Jesus was telling him to go and buy some things they needed for the Passover celebration, or perhaps to go and give some money to people in need. Anyway, after receiving the piece of bread, Judas immediately disappeared off into the night.
........Once he was gone, Jesus spoke to the remaining disciples, saying, “Now the moment of glory has arrived for the Son of Humanity, and it is God’s glory too. If God’s glory is made known in him, then God will pour out his own glory on him. It’s all happening right now.”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton