Be courageous and strong . . . You will bring the sons of Israel into the land.—Deut. 31:23.
The Israelites were about to take possession of Canaan. To succeed as their leader, Joshua needed God-given wisdom. He also had to exercise faith in Jehovah and prove to be courageous and strong. The wisdom, courage, and faith shown by Joshua during the long conquest of Canaan must have strengthened the Israelites. In addition to valor in battle, however, they needed what might be called quiet courage to do what Joshua urged them to do. At the end of his life, in his farewell address, he said: “You must be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses by never turning away from it.” (Josh. 23:6) We too need the courage to obey Jehovah at all times. This includes occasions when mere men demand that we act contrary to God’s will. (Acts 4:18-20; 5:29) If we prayerfully rely on Jehovah, he will help us to take such a courageous stand. w13 1/15 1:5, 6
Memorial Bible reading: (Daytime events: Nisan 16) John 20:2-18
(Daytime events: Nisan 16) John 20:2-18:
2 So she came running to Simon Peter and to the other disciple, for whom Jesus had affection,+ and she said to them: “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb,+ and we do not know where they have laid him.”
3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out for the tomb. 4 The two of them began running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 Stooping forward, he saw the linen cloths lying there,+ but he did not go in.6 Then Simon Peter also came, following him, and he went into the tomb. And he saw the linen cloths lying there. 7 The cloth that had been on his head was not lying with the other cloth bands but was rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the scripture that he must rise from the dead.+10 So the disciples went back to their homes.
11 Mary, however, kept standing outside near the tomb, weeping. While she was weeping, she stooped forward to look into the tomb, 12 and she saw two angels+ in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and one at the feet.13 And they said to her: “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them: “They have taken my Lord away, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 After saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.+15 Jesus said to her: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She, thinking it was the gardener, said to him: “Sir, if you have carried him off, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her: “Mary!” On turning around, she said to him in Hebrew: “Rab·bo′ni!” (which means “Teacher!”)17 Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers+ and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father+ and your Father and to my God+ and your God.’” 18 Mary Mag′da·lene came and brought the news to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said to her.+
He judges and carries on war in righteousness.—Rev. 19:11.
Soon all present-day nations will face Jesus Christ and his heavenly forces in the final battle against God’s rulership, which battle is “called in Hebrew Har–Magedon.” (Rev. 16:14, 16; 19:12-16) Over 2,500 years ago, the prophet Daniel was inspired to foretell the outcome for human governments in conflict with God’s purpose, writing: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Dan. 2:44) Man-made national boundaries will no longer exist. Such a thrilling prospect should motivate all of us to continue praising and honoring our Creator, Jehovah God, as best we can. w12 12/15 4:16, 17
Memorial Bible reading: (Daytime events:Nisan 16) John 20:2-18
You know, funny story: There’s this craft store called Michaels. Look, my sister knits, and she goes to Michaels. So my sister called me and she’s like, “Oh my god, I’m at Michaels, picking up yarn. You have a poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “What?” She’s like, “There’s a poster, there’s a Falcon poster at Michaels.” I’m like, “Holy s**t!” She’s like, “I’m gonna come and pick you up, and we’re gonna see your poster in this store.” So she picks me up and we go to Michaels.
We go in, and I see the poster and I’m like, “Oh, this is….” She’s like, “I know, I know.” I said, “I’m gonna sign these posters.” I was like, “That would be amazing, you buy a poster and it’s like, actually signed by the Falcon.” Like, it would blow my mind. So I go to the front, I buy a Sharpie, I run back to the back of the store. And she’s like, “I’m gonna take a picture of you signing it.”
I’m in this store and I’m signing all the posters. The manager comes out, he’s like, “Hey, whatcha doing?” I was like, “Oh man, I’m signing these posters so when people buy ‘em, they’re signed.” He’s like, “Well, people are not gonna buy ‘em if they’re signed.” And I was like, “No, no, no, it’s cool. I’m pretty sure there won’t be a problem.” And he goes, “Yeah, but it is gonna be a problem, you’re messin’ up my inventory.” And I’m like, “No, my man, trust me. I mean, I’m the Falcon, that’s me!” And he goes, “Yeah, right. You’re gonna buy those posters.” I said, “What?” He’s like, “You’re gonna buy all those posters or I’m gonna call the police.”
He rolls up all the posters and goes to the front of the store. And I had to buy like 60 Falcon posters that I signed in Michaels.
”—Anthony Mackie getting in trouble for signing his posters at a Micheals (x)
Memorial Bible reading: (Daytime events: Nisan 15) Matthew 27:62-66 (Events after sunset: Nisan 16) John 20:1
(Daytime events: Nisan 15) Matthew 27:62-66: 62 The next day, which was after the Preparation,+ the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together before Pilate,63 saying: “Sir, we recall what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I am to be raised up.’+64 Therefore, command that the grave be made secure until the third day, so that his disciples may not come and steal him+ and say to the people, ‘He was raised up from the dead!’ Then this last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them: “You may have a guard. Go make it as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the grave secure by sealing the stone and posting a guard.
(Events after sunset: Nisan 16) John 20:1: 20 On the first day of the week, Mary Mag′da·lene came to the tomb* early,+ while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone had already been taken away from the tomb.*+
We know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.—Rom. 8:22.
Since 1914, millions have chosen to become willing subjects of God’s enthroned King, Christ Jesus. They refuse to be supporters of Satan’s world. Instead, they use their lives and assets in support of God’s Kingdom, serving its interests. (Rom. 14:7, 8) Soon Christ will destroy Satan’s wicked system. Christ’s perfect government will free the earth of sin and sorrow. It will remove all traces of rebellion against Jehovah’s rightful sovereignty. Loyal servants of God will be in a position to become permanent residents of the earthly Paradise. (Rev. 21:1-5) In a full sense, creation will then have been “set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Rom. 8:21. w12 12/15 3:4, 5, 7
Memorial Bible reading: (Daytime events: Nisan 14) John 19:1-42
19 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged him.+2 And the soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head and clothed him with a purple robe,+3 and they kept coming up to him and saying: “Greetings,* you King of the Jews!” They also kept slapping him in the face.+4 Pilate went outside again and said to them: “See! I bring him outside to you in order for you to know that I find no fault in him.”+5 So Jesus came outside, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them: “Look! The man!” 6 However, when the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted: “To the stake with him! To the stake with him!”*+ Pilate said to them: “Take him yourselves and execute him,*for I do not find any fault in him.”+7 The Jews answered him: “We have a law, and according to the law he ought to die,+ because he made himself God’s son.”+
8 When Pilate heard what they were saying, he became even more fearful,9 and he entered the governor’s residence again and said to Jesus: “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.+10 So Pilate said to him: “Are you refusing to speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and I have authority to execute you?”*11 Jesus answered him: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been granted to you from above. This is why the man who handed me over to you has greater sin.”
12 For this reason Pilate kept trying to find a way to release him, but the Jews shouted: “If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against* Caesar.”+13 Then Pilate, after hearing these words, brought Jesus outside, and he sat down on a judgment seat in a place called the Stone Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gab′ba·tha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation+ of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour.* And he said to the Jews: “See! Your king!” 15 However, they shouted: “Take him away! Take him away! To the stake with him!”* Pilate said to them: “Shall I execute your king?” The chief priests answered: “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be executed on the stake.+
So they took charge of Jesus. 17 Bearing the torture stake* for himself, he went out to the so-called Skull Place,+ which is called Gol′go·tha in Hebrew.+18 There they nailed him to the stake+ alongside two other men, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.+19 Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the torture stake.* It was written: “Jesus the Naz·a·rene′ the King of the Jews.”+20 Many of the Jews read this title, because the place where Jesus was nailed to the stake was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.21 However, the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered: “What I have written, I have written.”
23 Now when the soldiers had nailed Jesus to the stake, they took his outer garments and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier, and they also took the inner garment. But the inner garment was without a seam, being woven from top to bottom. 24 So they said to one another: “Let us not tear it, but let us cast lots over it to decide whose it will be.”+ This was to fulfill the scripture: “They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.”+ So the soldiers actually did these things.
25 By the torture stake* of Jesus, however, there were standing his mother+and his mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Clo′pas and Mary Mag′da·lene.+26 So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved+ standing nearby, he said to his mother: “Woman, see! Your son!” 27 Next he said to the disciple: “See! Your mother!” And from that hour on, the disciple took her into his own home.
28 After this, when Jesus knew that by now all things had been accomplished, in order to fulfill the scripture he said: “I am thirsty.”+29 A jar was sitting there full of sour wine. So they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop* stalk and held it up to his mouth.+30 When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said: “It has been accomplished!”+ and bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.*+
31 Since it was the day of Preparation,+ so that the bodies would not remain on the torture stakes+ on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath day was a great one),+the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and those of the other man who was on a stake alongside him. 33 But on coming to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers jabbed his side with a spear,+ and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And the one who has seen it has given this witness, and his witness is true, and he knows that what he says is true, so that you also may believe.+36 In fact, these things took place for the scripture to be fulfilled: “Not a bone of his will be broken.”*+37 And again, a different scripture says: “They will look to the one whom they pierced.”+
38 Now after these things, Joseph of Ar·i·ma·the′a, who was a disciple of Jesus but a secret one because of his fear of the Jews,+ asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body away.+39 Nic·o·de′mus,+ the man who had come to him in the night the first time, also came, bringing a mixture* of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds.*+40 So they took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices,+ according to the burial custom of the Jews.41 Incidentally, there was a garden at the place where he was executed,* and in the garden was a new tomb*+ in which no one had ever yet been laid. 42 Because it was the day of Preparation+ of the Jews and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
He that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved.—Matt. 24:13.
For us to be preserved alive when God executes judgment on Satan’s world, we must maintain our integrity to the end. But this does not mean that Jehovah expects us to endure in our own wisdom or strength. The Bible assures us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) What do those words imply? For Jehovah to make sure that we are not tempted beyond what we can bear, he has to know everything about us, including the challenges we face, our individual makeup, and just how much we can take. Does God really know us that well? Yes. The Scriptures reveal that Jehovah knows each of us intimately.—Ps. 139:1-6. w12 4/15 5:1, 2
Memorial Bible reading: (Daytime events: Nisan 14) John 19:1-42
Matthew 26:17-19: 17 On the first day of the Unleavened Bread,+ the disciples came to Jesus, saying: “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?”+18 He said: “Go into the city to So-and-so and say to him, ‘The Teacher says: “My appointed time is near; I will celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your home.”’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus instructed them and prepared for the Passover.
Mark 14:12-16: 12 Now on the first day of the Unleavened Bread,+ when they customarily offered up the Passover sacrifice,+ his disciples said to him: “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”+13 With that he sent two of his disciples and said to them: “Go into the city, and a man carrying an earthenware water jar will meet you. Follow him,+14 and wherever he goes inside, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says: “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Prepare it for us there.” 16 So the disciples went out, and they entered the city and found it just as he said to them, and they prepared for the Passover.
Luke 22:7-13: 7 The first day of the Unleavened Bread now arrived, on which the Passover sacrifice must be offered;+8 so Jesus sent Peter and John, saying: “Go and get the Passover ready for us to eat.”+9 They said to him: “Where do you want us to get it ready?” 10 He said to them: “Look! When you enter into the city, a man carrying an earthenware water jar will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters.+11 And say to the landlord of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you: “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’12 And that man will show you a large, furnished upper room. Get it ready there.” 13 So they left and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared for the Passover.
(Events after sunset: Nisan 14)
John 13:1-5: 13 Now because he knew before the festival of the Passover that his hour had come+ for him to leave this world and go to the Father,+ Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end.+2 The evening meal was going on, and the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Is·car′i·ot,+ the son of Simon, to betray him.+3 So Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he came from God and was going to God,+4 got up from the evening meal and laid aside his outer garments. And taking a towel, he wrapped it around his waist.*+5 After that he put water into a basin and started to wash the feet of the disciples and to dry them off with the towel that was wrapped around him.*
14:1-3: 14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled.+ Exercise faith in God;+ exercise faith also in me. 2 In the house of my Father are many dwelling places.* Otherwise, I would have told you, for I am going my way to prepare a place for you.+3 Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will receive you home to myself, so that where I am you also may be.+4 And where I am going, you know the way.”
All those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.—2 Tim. 3:12.
It is good to keep in mind that we cannot remove all problems that beset us.Acts 14:22 tells us: “We must enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations.” Rather than becoming dejected, why not view them as opportunities to manifest courage based on your faith in God’s ability to help you? Even in times of disaster, Jehovah gives real help through the encouragement found in his Word, our supportive brotherhood, and the strength provided by holy spirit. Focusing on these things will lift us up. Instead of dwelling on negative events, do what is practical to cope with each problem and focus on the positive aspects of your life.—Prov. 17:22. w12 10/15 1:10, 11