Friday (December 16):
33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 56:1-3,6-8
1 Thus says the LORD: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” .6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants, every one who keeps the sabbath, and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant — 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. 8 Thus says the Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”
Meditation: Do you know what it’s like to be on fire with God’s love? Jesus describes John the Baptist as a “burning and shining lamp” who gave light to those around him. A lamp does not give light by itself. It must first be lit. John’s message gave warmth because his heart was lit by the fire of God’s love and truth. Just as natural light dispels the darkness and makes the way clear, so God’s word brings light to dispel the spiritual darkness in our lives and to open the way to freedom and joy in God’s kingdom. John’s light pointed his hearers to the way of repentance and God. His message echoes the words of the prophet Isaiah: “salvation and deliverance will come to those who keep justice and do righteousness” (Isaiah 65:1). The prophets saw from afar how God would send his “anointed one”, the Messiah, to bring deliverance and freedom to those crushed by sin and oppression. Jesus bears witness in his own person and in the mighty works which he performed that God’s deliverance has truly come to those who accept him as Savior of Israel and Redeemer of humankind. The Lord Jesus gives us the fire of his Holy Spirit, not only to purify our hearts and minds, but to transform our lives into living torches of his saving love and mercy. Do you allow the light of God’s truth and love to shine in your heart and mind?
“Lord Jesus, let the fire of your love and truth burn in my heart that I may radiate the joy of the gospel to those around me.”
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, [Selah]
2 that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for uou did judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. [Selah]
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!