Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, December 22, 2021

They will beat their swords into plowshares. (Micah 4:3b)

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Luke 1:46b-55; Micah 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:11-22
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 prophecy of the millennial rule of Christ. The prophet Micah foresees a glorious time when all men and nations will submit to God’s judgment in their disputes and quarrels.  Unlike today, all disputes and conflicts will be settled peacefully, without recourse to guns, hostage-taking, and violence. The courts of the Lord will replace the battlefields of the world as the place to resolve the hostilities and conflicts among men and nations. Warfare, no longer needed, will fade away. Weapons will be converted to tools for agriculture; people will use the scarce and valuable resources of the earth to cultivate life instead of craft death. Valuable metal wasted in military attack and defense will be turned into constructive instead of destructive use. The blacksmith will be kept busy: his fire will heat and melt the sword blade, and his hammer will fashion it into a heavy hoe; the metal of the spear will be melted and fashioned into a pruning knife. Armaments, training camps, and military colleges will be no more. Micah’s prophecy sees a Syria without civil war and without refugees. He sees an Israel at peace with all her neighbors. He sees a Mexico without today’s drug wars. He sees a Russia without the aggression of a Putin. He sees a day without the War Against Terror. Our epistle reading is about how Jesus has brought into fellowship with God the very people who were the most alienated from him. In this passage, Paul distinguishes two kinds of people among the Ephesians Christians. There were those of Jewish descent and those from other ethnic origins. God’s plan has brought both groups together as one holy people. Paul describes the Gentiles (non-Jews) as now being just as “near” to God as the Jewish people. Jew and Gentile are no longer divided. Paul pictures two persons, one a Jew and the other a Gentile. But they are replaced by one person, the Christian. Jesus brings peace and reconciliation by joining every Christian into one single structure. This is a universal spiritual temple made of consecrated people. These are all those made holy by Christ’s universal sacrifice. One Christ, one sacrifice, one temple. In our verse of the day, an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people…”

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Luke 2:8-11

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
God cares about everyone, despite his or her occupation or standing in society. By Jewish tradition, shepherds were known to be spiritually unclean. Yet the Lord chose these men to proclaim the birth announcement of His Son—the Savior of the world. The angel told them not to fear, but to open their eyes and watch for the wonderfully good thing that the Lord was doing for them and for the whole world—something that would bring great joy to everyone.

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 4:1-5
A Promise of Peace

4:1 In the last days

  the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
     as the highest of the mountains;
  it will be exalted above the hills,
     and peoples will stream to it.

2 Many nations will come and say,

  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
     to the temple of the God of Jacob.
  He will teach us his ways,
     so that we may walk in his paths.”
  The law will go out from Zion,
     the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He will judge between many peoples
     and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
  They will beat their swords into plowshares
     and their spears into pruning hooks.
  Nation will not take up sword against nation,
     nor will they train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will sit under their own vine
     and under their own fig tree,
  and no one will make them afraid,
     for the Lord Almighty has spoken.
5 All the nations may walk
     in the name of their gods,
  but we will walk in the name of the Lord
     our God for ever and ever.


The nations have not yet so submitted to the Prince of Peace, as to beat their swords into plowshares, nor has war ceased. But very precious promises these are, relating to the gospel church, which will be more and more fulfilled, for He is faithful that has promised. There shall be a glorious church for God set up in the world, in the last days, in the days of the Messiah. Christ himself will build it upon a rock. The Gentiles worshiped their idol gods; but in the period spoken of, the people will cleave to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and delight in doing his will.

From the Epistles
Ephesians 2:11-22
Christ Came to Bring Peace

2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.


Verses 11-13: Christ and his covenant are the foundation of all the Christian's hopes. A sad and terrible description is here; but who is able to remove himself out of it? Would that this were not a true description of many baptized in the name of Christ. Who can, without trembling, reflect upon the misery of a person, separated for ever from the people of God, cut off from the body of Christ, fallen from the covenant of promise, having no hope, no Savior, and without any God but a God of vengeance, to all eternity? To have no part in Christ! What true Christian can hear this without horror? Salvation is far from the wicked; but God is a help at hand to his people; and this is by the sufferings and death of Christ.

Verses 14-18: Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ was their Peace, the author, center, and substance of their being at peace with God, and of their union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.

Verses 19-22: The church is compared to a city, and every converted sinner is free of it. It is also compared to a house, and every converted sinner is one of the family; a servant, and a child in God's house. The church is also compared to a building, founded on the doctrine of Christ; delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New. God dwells in all believers now; they become the temple of God through the working of the blessed Spirit. Let us then ask if our hopes are fixed on Christ, according to the doctrine of his word? Have we devoted ourselves as holy temples to God through him? Are we habitations of God by the Spirit, are we spiritually-minded, and do we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit? Let us take heed not to grieve the holy Comforter. Let us desire his gracious presence, and his influences upon our hearts. Let us seek to discharge the duties allotted to us, to the glory of God.

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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