Sunday, December 30, 2012: “Today’s Scripture Readings”


A Reading from the Book of  Isaiah (61:10-62:3)


I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.


> Isaiah can be broken into three parts:

>   I.  1 – 39: historical

>  II.  40 – 55: exile

> III.  56 – 66: return from exile

> At this time the Persians conquered the Babylonians.

> They allowed the Jews to return home as long as they paid tribute to Persia.

> Things were different when they got back home – chaos and wild animals.

> Belief was more general that God will come back some day and make things better.

> The opening words were like the Song of Hannah or the Song of Mary.

> God is going to bring out the new beginning.

> A new, glorious beginning for Jerusalem is exalted.



Psalm 147:13-21


13   Worship the Lord, O Jerusalem; *

       praise your God, O Zion;

14 For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; *

       he has blessed your children within you.

15 He has established peace on your borders; *

       he satisfies you with the finest wheat.

16 He sends out his command to the earth, *

        and his word runs very swiftly.

17   He gives snow like wool; *

        he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.

18 He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; *

        who can stand against his cold?

19 He sends forth his word and melts them; *

       he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.

20  He declares his word to Jacob, *

       his statutes and his judgments to Israel.

21 He has not done so to any other nation; *

       to them he has not revealed his judgments.



> Song of praise

> First twelve verses tell about how God restored Israel.

> Verses 16 – 19: winter and spring — God brings them both.

> Verses 20 – 21: gift of God’s word.



A Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the  Galatians (3:23-25; 4:4-7)


Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed.  Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.


> New beginning with coming of Jesus

> Disciplinarian = equivalent to a nanny or tutor.

> As adults in the faith – do not need to be disciplined.

> God will send the Messiah when he is ready.

> Paul does not go into detail about the life of Jesus.

> What is important to him is Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the fact he is alive and with us now.

> “Abba” is more like “daddy” than father.

> This is how Jesus refers to God.



The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to John (1:1-18)


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.  (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.


> Sometimes these verses are referred to as the prologue of John’s gospel (summary).

> He uses the same words as in Genesis when referring to the beginning.

> “Word” in Greek can also mean the idea of God.

> With the light/darkness theme, the entire gospel is summarized here.

> The sole purpose of John the Baptist is to bear witness to Jesus.

> There is a great emphasis to declare that John the Baptist is not the Messiah.

> “World” in John can have a negative connotation – those things opposed to God.

> One could add at the end… “And this is how it happened.”

> Moses saw God from the back, but Jesus saw him face-to-face.