Bible reading for December 22 -- 26
Dec 22 -- Zechariah 9 and John 12
Dec 23 -- Zechariah 10 and John 13
Dec 24 -- Zechariah 11 and John 14
Dec 25 -- Zechariah 12 and John 15
Dec 26 -- Zechariah 13 and John 16
We are in the Christmas holiday season, and so, I'm combining several days' readings. Next week we will be finishing the 2021 Bible reading schedule! Congratulations to those of you who have been reading along with us. Thanks for your kind and helpful notes along the way. And may you and yours have a blessed Christmas! --Sandy
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9)
THREE REMARKABLE PROPHECIES (Zech 9-12). The prophet Isaiah gave us many wonderful descriptions of the Messiah-to-come, including his miraculous birth. Daniel gave us a sketch of the Messianic kingdom timeline, and it was likely his influence that led the Magi to Judea many years later. Micah told us the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Now, Zechariah gives us a succession of three prophecies. In chapter nine, we are told -- in the context of God's promise to defeat Israel's nearby enemies through the agency of Greece (Alexander the Great, to be precise) -- that Israel's King would come to her in righteousness, and also in humility and peace. He would enter Jerusalem not on a war-horse, but on a lowly beast of burden, the foal of a donkey (9:9). He would speak and offer peace to the nations, which is the gospel we now proclaim.
BETRAYED AND CRUCIFIED. In chapter 11 we learn that the people's valuation of the Lord would be 30 pieces of silver, which represents a low value in their eyes. And in chapter 12 we see, however, that the people will one day finally repent and grieve over what they had done: "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn" (12:10). All three of these prophecies were fulfilled in the last week of Jesus' ministry on earth -- the humble entry to Jerusalem, the betrayal, and the piercing of death. The proclamation of the gospel of peace is ongoing, as is the ingathering of believing Israel. There will yet be a nationwide repentance among the Jews in the future.
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:23-24)
THE HOUR HAS COME (ch 12). Some Greeks had traveled to Jerusalem to worship at the Passover. They ask Philip, "...we wish to see Jesus" (v 21). When told this, Jesus answered, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (12:23-24). The theme of divine timing ("my time... my hour...") runs throughout the gospel of John. Now, that time had come! The world was knocking at the door. The Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15) would die and be placed in the grave, and soon the season of global fruit-bearing would begin. This is the glory of the Son's finished work -- his atoning death and resurrection life. The fruit-bearing is continuing today and will do so until he returns. Are there those around you, those with whom you have contact, perhaps saying to themselves, "We wish to see Jesus"? Ask God to lead you to those who would like to know him. Are you ready to share the good news?
THE UPPER ROOM (chs 13-16). This section records one of the longest discourses by Jesus, and here he is preparing his disciples for his trial, death, resurrection, and their life after his ascension. Here are some of my previous posts on these chapters:
Image credit: "The Three Wise Men," by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1925). About this newsletter: I'm Sandy Young, and I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Subscribe for email at Buttondown.email/Sandy. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. A very helpful resource is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.