Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Messiah and John the Baptist

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
Isaiah 11:1-9; Micah 4:8-13; Luke 7:31-35
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm comes from the book of Isaiah. It begins with the claim that new life will spring forth from an injured stump: “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Indeed, Jesus did come from the stump of Jesse. The royal authority of the house of David was dormant for 600 years when Jesus came as King and Messiah. When Jesus came forth, it was like a new green Branch coming from an apparently dead stump. Our verses in Micah relate to Zion and Jerusalem, here called the watchtower of the flock; some conjecture it is the same place where the shepherds were keeping their flocks when the angels brought them tidings of the birth of Christ. Many nations would assemble here against Zion to rejoice in her calamities. They would not understand that the Lord had collected them as sheaves are gathered to be threshed; and that Zion would be strengthened to beat them to pieces. In our reading in Luke, Jesus is no longer just teaching, no longer just healing. He is now also challenging. He is challenging the religious authorities who criticized John and now criticize him. He challenges those in the crowd who are not open to the new thing John announced and Jesus begins. Jesus confronted those who refused to believe and basically said, “You’re not going to believe because you don’t want to believe!” Our verse of the day starts with the classic announcement throughout the Bible that what is about to come is good news. Whenever someone in the Bible—prophet, priest, or angel—starts out a speech with “Do not be afraid,” you know it’s going to be good, even incredibly good. The angel Gabriel assured Mary that she had found favor with God and would become the mother of a son whose name she should call Jesus, the Son of the Highest, one in a nature and perfection with the Lord God.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Luke 1:30-33

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
The favor of God is worth any discomfort it might entail. The Lord chose Mary to give birth to the Savior of the world, but she also had to bear the public shame of people not understanding what He was doing through her and through Jesus.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Prophetic Books of Major Prophets
Isaiah 11:1-9
A Ruler Brings Justice and Peace

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
     from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
     the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
     the Spirit of counsel and of might,
     the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

  He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
     or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
     with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
     with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
     and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
     the leopard will lie down with the goat,
  the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
     and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
     their young will lie down together,
     and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
     and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
     on all my holy mountain,
  for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
     as the waters cover the sea.


The Messiah is called a Rod, and a Branch. The words signify a small, tender product; a shoot, such as is easily broken off. He comes forth out of the stem of Jesse; when the royal family was cut down and almost leveled with the ground, it would sprout again. The house of David was brought very low at the time of Christ's birth. The Messiah thus gave early notice that his kingdom was not of this world. But the Holy Spirit, in all his gifts and graces, shall rest and abide upon him; he shall have the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in him, Colossians 1:19; 2:9. Many consider that seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are here mentioned. And the doctrine of the influences of the Holy Spirit is here clearly taught. The Messiah would be just and righteous in all his government. His threatening shall be executed by the working of his Spirit according to his word. There shall be great peace and quiet under his government. The gospel changes the nature, and makes those who trampled on the meek of the earth, meek like them, and kind to them. But it shall be more fully shown in the latter days. Also Christ, the great Shepherd, shall take care of his flock, that the nature of troubles, and of death itself, shall be so changed, that they shall not do any real hurt. God's people shall be delivered, not only from evil, but from the fear of it. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? The better we know the God of love, the more shall we be changed into the same likeness, and the better disposed to all who have any likeness to him. This knowledge shall extend as the sea, so far shall it spread. And this blessed power there have been witnesses in every age of Christianity, though its most glorious time, here foretold, is not yet arrived. Meanwhile let us aim that our example and endeavors may help to promote the honor of Christ and his kingdom of peace.

From the Prophetic Books of Minor Prophets
Micah 4:8-13
God Will Thresh Out the People

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.”

9 Why do you now cry aloud—
     have you no king?
  Has your ruler perished,
     that pain seizes you like that of a woman in labor?
10 Writhe in agony, Daughter Zion,
      like a woman in labor,
   for now you must leave the city
      to camp in the open field.
   You will go to Babylon;
      there you will be rescued.
   There the Lord will redeem you
      out of the hand of your enemies.

11 But now many nations
      are gathered against you.
   They say, “Let her be defiled,
      let our eyes gloat over Zion!”
12 But they do not know
      the thoughts of the Lord;
   they do not understand his plan,
      that he has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 “Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion,
      for I will give you horns of iron;
   I will give you hooves of bronze,
      and you will break to pieces many nations.”
   You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the Lord,
      their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.


Many nations would assemble against Zion to rejoice in her calamities. They would not understand that the Lord had collected them as sheaves are gathered to be threshed; and that Zion would be strengthened to beat them to pieces. Nothing has yet taken place in the history of the Jewish church agreeing with this prediction. When God has conquering work for his people to do, he will furnish them with strength and ability for it. Believers should cry aloud under distresses, with the prayer of faith, not with despondency.

From the Gospels
Luke 7:31-35
The Messiah and John the Baptist

7:31 Jesus went on to say, “To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:
“‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not cry.’
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved right by all her children.”


We have here the just blame of those who were not wrought upon by the ministry of John Baptist or of Jesus Christ himself. They made a jest of the methods God took to do them good. This is the ruin of multitudes; they are not serious in the concerns of their souls. Let us study to prove ourselves children of Wisdom, by attending the instructions of God's word, and adoring those mysteries and glad tidings which infidels and Pharisees deride and blaspheme.

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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