Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 47

Prayer Point: The world may be chaotic, but Jesus has been crowned king of heaven and earth. Praise God that he has defeated sin and death through the death and resurrection of his Son and pray that the day will come when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Luke 22:54-69

Background. Jesus has been arrested, betrayed by Judas, and abandoned by his other disciples. There is one, Peter, who follows at a distance. Perhaps he is haunted by his brash promise in Luke 22:33, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and death.” The trouble is that Jesus has predicted that Peter will fail and deny him three times (Luke 22:34). And now we pick up the story …

Play close attention to …
The cause of Peter’s failure and his response to it.
How Jesus identifies himself to his interrogators. Compare it to Daniel 7:13-14.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.
What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

2 Peter 1:12-21 

Background. 2 Peter is a letter that was written by the Apostle Peter and circulated among the churches that existed at the time. The letter opened with him encouraging the churches to grow in their faith and an observation that if they weren’t experiencing growth it was because “they had forgotten that they had been cleansed from[their] past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)

Peter will also remind the churches to pay attention to the words of the prophets. This is a reference to what we call the Old Testament and in particular books such as Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel. Peter does not see these books as contradictory to the teachings of Jesus, but are made “more certain” in that their words were fulfilled by the life of Christ.

Pay close attention to …
How Peter wants to encourage these Christians now that he knows that he is nearing the end of his life (verse 8-9, 12-14)
The message that Peter shared with these Christians, what he saw, what he passed on. Compare Mark 9:2-12 to verses 16-18.
The respect Peter gives to the Old Testament prophets in verses 19-21.

Listen. Believe. Obey. Share.
What is the passage saying? About God? About ourselves? (Listen)
What is God asking us to believe? (Believe)
What is God asking us to do? (Obey)
Who can we share this with? (Share)

Isaiah 9:1-7       Galilee of the Nations

This is another passage with great significance in the life of Christ. Prophecy had foretold that the Christ would be of the family of David and born in Bethlehem. Here we see that Isaiah prophesies that the Christ will also have “roots” in Galilee. “In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.” (Isaiah 9:1 ESV) Notice in Matthew: “When Jesus heard that John [the Baptist] had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth [in Galilee], he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali — to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentles — the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living on the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:12-16 NIV) The issue is raised again in John Chapter 7: “When they heard these words, some of the people said, ‘This really is the Prophet [spoken of by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:14-22].’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (John 7:40-44 ESV)

To whom does this passage refer? (This passage refers to Christ. Notice the contrasts of light and darkness. John will make good use of this imagery in the opening of his gospel.)

What is this messiah going to do? (He will multiply the nation [extend salvation beyond the borders of Israel, i.e., the Gentiles (v. 9:3a); he will increase joy (v. 9:3b) [“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you the my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” — John 15:9-11 ESV]); he will break the rod of his oppressor (v. 9:4b).)
According to this passage, what kind of a messiah can the people expect to get? (Unfortunately there are two images of the messiah in Isaiah. One is that of a victorious king and the other is one of a “suffering servant”. This particular passage announces the arrival of a powerful king who will take on all comers. The picture drawn here is one of a magnificent king who is, in fact, the Prince of Peace. Jesus is all of this and so much more. He is also the suffering servant. I am not surprised that his disciples were bewildered by many of Jesus’ actions as they did not jive with their own expectations. We know the “end” of the story which greatly prejudices how we view Jesus and his plan. We like to think we would always do better than Jesus’ own disciples, but I really doubt it. Jesus’ disciples were looking for someone to free them (the Jews) from the power of Rome just as Moses had delivered the Hebrews from Pharaoh in Egypt. Jesus delivers us from much more than the power of Rome, he frees us from the power of sin and death. The day of the victorious king will come even if it is not today. — j.t.)

Who will make sure that this victorious king will achieve all that is set before him? He will be a successor to David (which means he will be a king). From this the expression “Son of David” takes on so much significance. This king will be different because, according to this passage, his throne will last forever. Back to the question: who will make sure of all of this? (“The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:7b ESV))

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