God Chooses Cyrus to Free Israel
45 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his appointed king:
“I hold your right hand.
I will help you defeat nations.
I will help you take other kings’ power away.
I will open doors for you
so city gates will not stop you.
2 I will go before you.
And I will make the mountains flat.
I will break down the bronze gates of the cities.
I will cut through the iron bars on the gates.
3 I will give you the wealth that is stored away.
And I will give you hidden riches.
I will do this so you will know I am the Lord.
I, the God of Israel, call you by name.
4 I do these things for my servants, the people of Jacob.
I do these things for my chosen people, the Israelites.
Cyrus, I call you by name.
I give you a title of honor even though you don’t know me.
5 I am the Lord. There is no other God.
I am the only God.
I will make you strong
even though you don’t know me.
6 I do these things so everyone will know
there is no other God.
From the east to the west they will know
I alone am the Lord.
7 I made the light and the darkness.
I bring peace, and I cause troubles.
I, the Lord, do all these things.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
The Faith of the Thessalonians1 From Paul, Silas, and Timothy.
To the church in Thessalonica, the church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May God’s grace and peace be yours.
2 We always remember you when we pray and thank God for all of you. 3 When we pray to God our Father, we always thank him for the things you have done because of your faith. And we thank him for the work you have done because of your love. And we thank him that you continue to be strong because of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 Brothers, God loves you. And we know that he has chosen you to be his. 5 We brought the Good News to you. But we did not use only words. We brought the Good News with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with sure knowledge that it is true. Also you know how we lived when we were with you. We lived that way to help you. 6 And you became like us and like the Lord. You suffered much, but still you accepted the teaching with the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. 7 So you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Southern Greece. 8 The Lord’s teaching spread from you in Macedonia and Southern Greece. And your faith in God has become known everywhere. So we do not need to say anything about your faith. 9 People everywhere are telling about the good way you accepted us when we were there with you. They tell about how you stopped worshiping idols and changed to serving the living and true God. 10 And you changed to wait for God’s Son to come from heaven. God raised that Son from death. He is Jesus, who saves us from God’s angry judgment that is sure to come.
The Pharisees Try to Trap Jesus
15 Then the Pharisees left the place where Jesus was teaching. They made plans to trap Jesus with a question. 16 They sent some of their own followers and some men from the group called Herodians.[a] These men said, “Teacher, we know that you are an honest man. We know that you teach the truth about God’s way. You are not afraid of what other people think about you. All men are the same to you. 17 So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus knew that these men were trying to trick him. So he said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me a coin used for paying the tax.” The men showed him a silver coin.[b] 20 Then Jesus asked, “Whose picture is on the coin? And whose name is written on the coin?”
21 The men answered, “Caesar’s.”
Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. And give to God the things that are God’s.”
22 The men heard what Jesus said, and they were amazed. They left him and went away.