Saturday, January 29, 2022
Psalm 71:1-6; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21; John 1:43-51
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible
Introduction & Summary
In our reading in Second Chronicles, we are given the final summary of, first, the folly and sin of Judah, her king, princes, and people; and second, the just displeasure and necessary punishment of Jehovah after an unparalleled forbearance. In Zedekiah’s reign, Judah bottomed out spiritually. The king refused to humble himself before either God or Nebuchadnezzar, even though God repeatedly sent messages and messengers urging him to do so. Hardness of heart now characterized the Davidic king as it had characterized the pharaoh of the Exodus. God humbled this king against his will as He had previously humbled that pharaoh.
Our reading in John begins as Jesus starts to travel to Galilee. However, Jesus became distracted when he saw Philip. Jesus approached Philip, looked intently at him, and said: “Follow me.” Philip went to Nathanael and told him: “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael was not at all impressed with Philip’s report. Instead, Nathanael responded by asking: “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
The principle of our verse of the day is exemplified by Jesus Himself, who “came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The self-giving manner in which Jesus fulfills His messianic role, which is the first and foremost role in the kingdom, provides the standard for His disciples in whatever secondary roles they might exercise in the kingdom of God.
Today’s Verse of the Day:
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”We sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we can measure our success the same way the world does. We mistakenly believe that if the Lord receives glory from our service, then it should be glorious for us as well. Yet when we remember God’s faithful servants from the Bible, we realize their situations were often far from easy or glamorous. Likewise, the Lord may call us to do the simple, humble acts that show compassion toward other people and which display the character of Christ. They are not done for personal gain; rather, they are done out of an overflow of His love in us and for His glory.
Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
You Have Been My Strength
let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
6 From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
David prays that he might never be made ashamed of dependence upon God. With this petition every true believer may come boldly to the throne of grace. The gracious care of Divine providence in our birth and infancy, should engage us to early piety. He that was our Help from our birth, ought to be our Hope from our youth.
From the Historical Books
2 Chronicles 36:11-21
Zedekiah Ignores Jeremiah and Jerusalem Falls
15 The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.
The ruin of Judah and Jerusalem came on by degrees. The methods God takes to call back sinners by his word, by ministers, by conscience, by providences, are all instances of his compassion toward them, and his unwillingness that any should perish. See here what woeful havoc sin makes, and, as we value the comfort and continuance of our earthly blessings, let us keep that worm from the root of them. They had many times plowed and sowed their land in the seventh year, when it should have rested, and now it lay unplowed and unsown for ten times seven years. God will be no loser in his glory at last, by the disobedience of men. If they refused to let the land rest, God would make it rest. What place, O God, shall thy justice spare, if Jerusalem has perished? If that delight of thine were cut off for wickedness, let us not be high-minded, but fear.
From the Gospels
Can Anything Good Come Out of Nazareth?
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
See the nature of true Christianity, it is following Jesus; devoting ourselves to him, and treading in his steps. Observe the objection Nathanael made. All who desire to profit by the word of God, must beware of prejudices against places, or denominations of men. They should examine for themselves, and they will sometimes find good where they looked for none. Many people are kept from the ways of religion by the unreasonable prejudices they conceive. The best way to remove false notions of religion, is to make trial of it. In Nathanael there was no guile. His profession was not hypocritical. He was not a dissembler, nor dishonest; he was a sound character, a really upright, godly man. Christ knows what men are indeed. Does He know us? Let us desire to know him. Let us seek and pray to be Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile; truly Christians, approved of Christ himself. Some things weak, imperfect, and sinful, are found in all, but hypocrisy belongs not to a believer's character. Jesus witnessed what passed when Nathanael was under the fig-tree. Probably he was then in fervent prayer, seeking direction as to the Hope and Consolation of Israel, where no human eye observed him. This showed him that our Lord knew the secrets of his heart. Through Christ we commune with, and benefit by the holy angels; and things in heaven and things on earth are reconciled and united together.
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. www.commontexts.org. 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.