Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Coming of Christ

The Daily Bible Readings
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Luke 1:46b-55; Micah 4:6-8; 2 Peter 1:16-21
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction & Summary

In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm comes from the gospel of Luke. Luke is the only one to speak of Mary’s song. Mary is visiting with her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Upon that visit, Elizabeth asked, “How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary’s song is a song of praise. She is not just sharing her thoughts with her cousin. She says that the Lord is great, and her spirit is rejoicing with the news that has come to her. Today, Mary’s song is called The Magnificat, meaning “my soul magnifies the Lord” in Latin.

Our reading in Micah is a continuation of Micah’s prophecy of the millennial rule of Christ. God’s restoration will not be just for the strong but also for the weak and disadvantaged. They will especially know the blessing of His restoration. These promises are so glorious that it would be easy for Israel to think they were too good to be true. Therefore, God gave them a special promise, vowing to you it shall come.

Our epistle reading is intended to counteract the claim being made by some that the apostles invented the promise of Jesus’ return. It focuses on fulfilled prophecies about Christ. Peter points to his eyewitness experience of the transfiguration as confirmation those prophecies are true. As a result, Peter knows that those prophecies yet to be fulfilled will happen one day. This includes predictions of the return of Christ as judge and king.

The true message in our verse of the day is that these good tidings, which spoke of joy to mankind and peace on earth, were for a particular group of people. The good tidings of great joy and lasting peace the angels sang were for MEN OF GOODWILL. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Luke 2:11-14

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The angels spoke peace to the earth at Jesus’ first coming (Luke 2:14). More than four hundred times in Scripture, the Lord says that we are not to fear, but to enjoy peace. The prophet Isaiah referred to Jesus as the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). Throughout His ministry, the Lord Jesus spoke peace. To the woman with an issue of blood He said, “Go in peace” (Mark 5:34); to a stormy sea He said, “Quiet! Be still!” (4:39); and to His disciples He said, “My peace I give you” (John 14:27). The Lord calls us to peace as we await His return.

Apart from Jesus, there is no peace—not within a human heart and not among human beings or nations. With Jesus, we can experience peace that surpasses our rational capacity and settles deep within (Phil. 4:7). We are to seek and find this peace as we await the Lord’s return.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Gospels
Luke 1:46b-55
My Soul Gives Glory to God

46b “My soul glorifies the Lord
47    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
      of the humble state of his servant.
   From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
      holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
      from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
      he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
      but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
      but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
      remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
      just as he promised our ancestors.”


It is very good for those who have the work of grace begun in their souls, to communicate one to another. On Mary's arrival, Elisabeth was conscious of the approach of her who was to be the mother of the great Redeemer. At the same time she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and under his influence declared that Mary and her expected child were most blessed and happy, as peculiarly honored of and dear to the Most High God. Mary, animated by Elisabeth's address, and being also under the influence of the Holy Ghost, broke out into joy, admiration, and gratitude. She knew herself to be a sinner who needed a Savior, and that she could no otherwise rejoice in God than as interested in his salvation through the promised Messiah. Those who see their need of Christ, and are desirous of righteousness and life in him, he fills with good things, with the best things; and they are abundantly satisfied with the blessings he gives. He will satisfy the desires of the poor in spirit who long for spiritual blessings, while the self-sufficient shall be sent empty away.

From the Prophetic Books of Minor Prophets
Micah 4:6-8
Dominion Shall Return to Zion

4:6 “In that day,” declares the Lord,

  “I will gather the lame;
     I will assemble the exiles
     and those I have brought to grief.
7 I will make the lame my remnant,
     those driven away a strong nation.
  The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion
     from that day and forever.
8 As for you, watchtower of the flock,
     stronghold of Daughter Zion,
  the former dominion will be restored to you;
     kingship will come to Daughter Jerusalem.”


The collecting the captives from Babylon was an earnest of healing, purifying, and prospering the church; and the reign of Christ shall continue till succeeded by the everlasting kingdom of heaven. Let us stir up each other to attend the ordinances of God, that we may learn his holy ways, and walk in them, receiving the law from his hands, which, being written in our hearts by his Spirit, may show our interest in the Redeemer's righteousness.

From the Epistles
2 Peter 1:16-21
Making Known the Coming of Christ

1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.


The gospel is no weak thing, but comes in power, Romans 1:16. The law sets before us our wretched state by sin, but there it leaves us. It discovers our disease, but does not make known the cure. It is the sight of Jesus crucified, in the gospel, that heals the soul. Try to dissuade the covetous worlding from his greediness, one ounce of gold weighs down all reasons. Offer to stay a furious man from anger by arguments, he has not patience to hear them. Try to detain the licentious, one smile is stronger with him than all reason. But come with the gospel, and urge them with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, shed to save their souls from hell, and to satisfy for their sins, and this is that powerful pleading which makes good men confess that their hearts burn within them, and bad men, even an Agrippa, to say they are almost persuaded to be Christians, Acts 26:28. God is well pleased with Christ, and with us in him. This is the Messiah who was promised, through whom all who believe in him shall be accepted and saved. The truth and reality of the gospel also are foretold by the prophets and penmen of the Old Testament, who spake and wrote under influence, and according to the direction of the Spirit of God. How firm and sure should our faith be, who have such a firm and sure word to rest upon! When the light of the Scripture is darted into the blind mind and dark understanding, by the Holy Spirit of God, it is like the day-break that advances, and diffuses itself through the whole soul, till it makes perfect day. As the Scripture is the revelation of the mind and will of God, every man ought to search it, to understand the sense and meaning. The Christian knows that book to be the word of God, in which he tastes a sweetness, and feels a power, and sees a glory, truly divine. And the prophecies already fulfilled in the person and salvation of Christ, and in the great concerns of the church and the world, form an unanswerable proof of the truth of Christianity. The Holy Ghost inspired holy men to speak and write. He so assisted and directed them in delivering what they had received from him, that they clearly expressed what they made known. So that the Scriptures are to be accounted the words of the Holy Ghost, and all the plainness and simplicity, all the power and all the propriety of the words and expressions, come from God. Mix faith with what you find in the Scriptures, and esteem and reverence the Bible as a book written by holy men, taught by the Holy Ghost.

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

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