Sunday, Dec 18, 2016: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


Old Testament: 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.”


  • Ahaz was king in Judah from 735 to 715 BCE.
  • Early in his reign the Assyrians were coming to power.
  • They were going to join with Syria to fight the Assyrians.  Don’t do it!
  • That is the reason Judah survived that attack, because they did not rebel.
  • The child referenced to was likely Hezekiah.
  • The New Testament (Greek translation) erroneously translated “young woman” to “virgin.”
  • There were some against Jesus who claimed that he was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier. 




The Response: 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 is an example of a deliverance prayer.
  • This is a song of Asaf who was a choir leader in the temple — northern tradition – Israel.
  • The ark imagery is a strong indication the verses came from the north.
  • Refrains are noted in verses 3, 7 and 18.
  • The right hand was that most likely of the current king of Israel.




The Epistle: 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.


  • This is an example of one of Paul’s most mature letters and proven to be authentic.
  • Unlike past letters, Paul never met the followers in Rome before writing this letter.
  • The emphasis is on salvation by faith of both Jews and Gentiles.
  • He wrote an expansive self-identification.
  • The theme centers on God sending his son to save us.




The Gospel: 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.


  • This is the closest Matthew comes to describing the birth of Jesus.
  • The marriages back then were arranged by the families.
  • The girls could be very young and would stay with their own families for a number of years after the wedding ceremony.
  • Joseph is pictured as a dreamer in Matthew and is the main parent of Jesus.
  • Jesus’ blood line flowed through Joseph.
  • There was also the issue with Jesus being born in Bethlehem but living in Nazareth.
  • Jesus is a variation of Joshua, which means “Yahweh saves.”
  • When Joseph named the baby Jesus, it was the same as legally adopting him.
  • This allows it to fit the chronology of descending from Abraham and David.