Sunday, December 22, 2013: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (7:10-16)


Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”


> Takes place around 734 BCE.  Ahaz was the king of Judah (Southern half of Israel).

> The Northern Kingdom had an alliance with Syria.

> They wanted Judah to join in against a potential invasion from Assyria.

> Other countries also wanted to attach Judah.  They really needed help!

> The young woman was probably one of Ahaz’s wives.

> Matthew changes “young woman” to “virgin.”

> Immanuel means “God with us.”

> The kings referred to are those of Syria and Israel.

> Israel and Judah split into two separate entities around 922 BCE.



Psalm (80:1-7, 16-18)


1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; *

     shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.

2  In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *

    stir up your strength and come to help us.

3  Restore us, O God of hosts; *

    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4  O Lord God of hosts, *

    how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?

5  You have fed them with the bread of tears; *

    you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6   You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *

     and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7   Restore us, O God of hosts; *

      show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

16  Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, *

      the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17  And so will we never turn away from you; *

      give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18  Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *

      show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


> This Psalm originated in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

> Cherubim is in reference to the Ark of the Covenant.

> The refrain is repeated three times.

> The basic message is “Send us a deliverer.”

> This ties in with the last Sunday in Advent.




A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (1:1-7)


Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


> Paul wrote this letter before he visited Rome.

> Paul preached from Jerusalem to the western part of the Balkan Peninsula.

> Paul eventually gets to Rome as a prisoner — captured in Jerusalem.

> It is very important to mention that Jesus was from the “son of David.”

> Paul’s mission was to bring God to the non-Jews (Gentiles).



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew (1:18-25)


Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.


> A young girl could be betrothed at age 12.

> A legal marriage contract would be drawn up.

> The girl, however, would continue to live with her family.

 > There are two completely different stories between Matthew and Luke.  (See below)


infancy-narratives> Joseph was planning a quiet divorce until he is contacted by an angel.

> Joseph experiences a lot of dreams.

> As noted above, Jesus needs to be in the lineage of David.

> However, Joseph, and not Mary is mentioned as a son of David.

> Since Joseph named Jesus, this was a way of adopting him.

> Thus Jesus could be claimed as a son of David.

> Jesus means “Yahweh saves.”