Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prayer Psalm: 111

Prayer Point. Psalm 111 gives us a number of reasons to praise the Lord.  Pick two or three that you have personally experienced and offer God your praise.

John 1:1-7, 19-20, 29-34

Background. John begins his gospel or biography of Jesus by retelling the story of creation which is recorded in Genesis chapter 1. From Genesis we learn that God spoke the universe into existence. We understand through John that the words God spoke was actually a person, “the Word,” whom we know as Jesus.

John also introduces us to a second character, John, who is John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus and not the author of this book which does make things a bit confusing.

Pay close attention to …

  • The Word’s (Jesus’) role in the creation of the world.
  • How Jesus the light is received by a world that is plunged in darkness.
  • John the Baptist’s relationship with Jesus the Word. How he understands himself, how he understands Jesus.
  • Who Jesus is and what he will do according to John the Baptist.

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)

Hebrews 1:1-12

Background. The book of Hebrews, or more properly the letter to the Hebrews, was written to a group of discouraged Christians. They were Jewish and because of their new faith in Jesus, they were rejected by their people and persecuted. Apparently their suffering was so severe that they were considering abandoning their faith in Christ and returning to Judaism. The letter’s purpose is to show these Christians that Jesus was the fulfillment of their Jewish faith and if they left Jesus, they would have nothing to return to. The author’s approach is to demonstrate that the faith they grew up with pointed to Jesus.

Pay close attention to …

  • How God spoke to the Jewish people in the past and how he now speaks to his people in these “last days.”
  • How Jesus the Son is superior to the prophets of the Old Testament and even the angels.

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 40:1-11

Background. These verses in Chapter 40 of Isaiah are echoed in the four gospels (though my favorite is the rendering John gives: “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, ‘I am not the Christ.’ They asked him, ‘Then who are you? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ [Apparently John didn’t get the memo because Elijah is exactly whom Jesus said he was {Matthew 17:10-13} — j.t.] ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Finally they said, ‘Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord” ‘ ” (John 1:19-23 NIV) [This passage in Isaiah is typically thought of as Advent material. I have looked in several references, none of them cites this passage as a reading for anytime during Advent. I think our association of this scripture to Advent stems chiefly from Handel’s Messiah.]

Pay close attention to:

  • The fact that Jerusalem’s sin has been paid for and by how much (v. 2)
  • Where the “way of the LORD” is prepared (v. 3)
  • Where the highway of the LORD is (v.3)
  • The imagery of the valleys and mountains; rough ground and rugged places (v. 4)
  • To what all mankind together will see (v. 5)
  • What man is like (v. 6)
  • What the word of God is like (v. 8)
  • What the “good tidings” [gospel] are (9b)
  • How the Sovereign Lord tends his flock (v. 11)

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)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s