Grace and Peace to you from Jesus Christ,
There is an old maxim that says, “If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.” A theme of this week is the path/road/highway of the Lord. Where is it going? Who will travel on it? How long is the journey?
Isaiah 40:1-11 – The voice in this reading seems to shift from God, to the prophet, and some other heavenly being. See if you can’t discern where this happens. In verses 1-2 why should Jerusalem be consoled? Who does the word “Jerusalem” represent? What should the people do in preparation for the coming of God? In verses 6-7, what are the people like? In verse 8, what endures forever? In verses 9-11 how does the Lord appear?
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 – During the 3 year lectionary cycle the Psalm is chosen to compliment the Old Testament reading. In this Psalm we again hear the Old Testament themes of God’s steadfast love, faithfulness, righteousness, and peace. In the missing verses, 3-7, we hear the psalmist asking God for restoration and salvation. What does the psalmist propose to do in verse 8? What is the psalmist confident of and why in verse 9? Notice the oddness of verses 10 and 11. What do you think the psalmist is trying to get at with love and faithfulness meeting, and righteousness and peace kissing? The connection to Isaiah 40 comes in verse 13. What plows or paves the path before God?
2 Peter 3:8-15a – If you want to keep peace and sanity in your house don’t read verses 1-7. In the verses we are supposed to read what does Peter want us to do? How are we to treat those who abuse us? Why would others make us suffer (verse 14)?
Mark 1:1-18 – Notice that verse 1 is not a complete sentence. Some think this may have been a title at one time. Is this the beginning of the Gospel (Good News) about God’s salvation through his Son Jesus or is it the beginning of the Gospel (Good News) about God’s redemption proclaimed by Jesus? Or both? In verse 2, the writer, whom we will call Mark, says that Isaiah wrote what follows in verse 2 and 3 but actually the first part is from the prophet Malachi (3:1). Who does Mark introduce with that quote? Where did he appear and what did he do? Who came out to see him? What was his proclamation and who was he talking about? As we come to Christmas, what is missing from Mark? Is this important?
May your week be blest by the Lord as you read and ponder these scriptures!