Sunday, December 21, 2014: “Today’s Scripture Readings


A Reading from the Second Book of Samuel (7:1-11, 16)


Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”  But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle.  Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.


> Nathan was a prophet close to David.

> He supported David, but also condemned him.

> David is at the height of his power – Jerusalem was established.

> He proposed building a temple.

> God noted that instead, he would build a royal house for David.

> God did not want to be held captive in a temple.

> Normally he travelled out to the people in the Ark of the Covenant.

> In a temple, God becomes domesticated and obedient to the king.

> Jesus is portrayed as being a descendent of David.



Canticle 15


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: *

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him *

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *

for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers, *

to Abraham and his children for ever.


> These verses fit in with Christmas – Mary’s Magnificat.

> Luke has a series of three canticles that he inserts into his verses.

> The canticle highlights the reversal of roles:  raise the lowly and bring down the mighty.

> The them is that God is doing great new things.



A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (16:25-27)


Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.


> These verses may be the conclusion of the letter or it may be chapter 15.

> This is a concluding doxology of praise to Christ.



The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (1:26-38)


In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”  The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.


> This one of two annunciation stories:  Jesus shown here and a similar one by Luke about John the Baptist.

> It also ties in with the throne of David.

> Luke’s story begins and ends with Nazareth.

> Luke creates a census story to get Jesus to Bethlehem.

> Girls in those days typically married in their mid-teens.

> Angels as separate beings were only discussed in the late Old Testament.

> Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist.

> Jesus and Joshua are similar names, both meaning Yahweh saves.

> “Son of the Most High” is another one of Luke’s expressions.

> The descending of the Holy Spirit was similar to the event at Pentecost with the disciples.

> The sixth month refers to Elizabeth’s pregnancy.