Readings: June 24, 2013 The Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist
Isaiah 49:1-6 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66 Luke 1:80 The Message
A Light for the Nations
Listen, far-flung islands, pay attention, faraway people: God put me to work from the day I was born. The moment I entered the world he named me. He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate. He kept his hand on me to protect me. He made me his straight arrow and hid me in his quiver. He said to me, “You’re my dear servant, Israel, through whom I’ll shine.” But I said, “I’ve worked for nothing. I’ve nothing to show for a life of hard work. Nevertheless, I’ll let God have the last word. I’ll let him pronounce his verdict.”
“And now,” God says, this God who took me in hand from the moment of birth to be his servant, to bring Jacob back home to him to set a reunion for Israel— What an honor for me in God’s eyes! That God should be my strength! He says, “But that’s not a big enough job for my servant — just to recover the tribes of Jacob, merely to round up the strays of Israel. I’m setting you up as a light for the nations so that my salvation becomes global!” © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
In those days Paul said:
God raised up David as king; of him God testified: ‘I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.’
“From out of David’s descendants God produced a Savior for Israel, Jesus, exactly as he promised—but only after John had thoroughly alerted the people to his arrival by preparing them for a total life-change. As John was finishing up his work, he said, ‘Did you think I was the One? No, I’m not the One. But the One you’ve been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I’m about to disappear.’
“Dear brothers and sisters, children of Abraham, and friends of God, this message of salvation has been precisely targeted to you © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Luke 1:57-66, 80
The Birth of John
When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son. Her neighbors and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother intervened: “No. He is to be called John.”
“But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.” They used sign language to ask
Zachariah what he wanted him named.
Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!
A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”
The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel. © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson