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First Reading: Isaiah Chapter 49 and 50

Isaiah 49

49:1 The Servant, the Light to the Gentiles

"Listen, O coastlands, to Me,And take heed, you peoples from afar!The LORD has called Me from the womb;From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name. 2 And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,And made Me a polished shaft;In His quiver He has hidden Me."
3 "And He said to me,'You are My servant, O Israel,In whom I will be glorified.' 4 Then I said, 'I have labored in vain,I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain;Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD,And my work with my God.'"
5 "And now the LORD says,Who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,To bring Jacob back to Him,So that Israel is gathered to Him (For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD,And My God shall be My strength), 6 Indeed He says,'It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob,And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
7 Thus says the LORD,The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,To Him whom man despises,To Him whom the nation abhors,To the Servant of rulers:"Kings shall see and arise,Princes also shall worship,Because of the LORD who is faithful,The Holy One of Israel;And He has chosen You."
8 Thus says the LORD:
"In an acceptable time I have heard You,And in the day of salvation I have helped You;I will preserve You and give You As a covenant to the people,To restore the earth,To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,'To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.'
"They shall feed along the roads,And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights. 10 They shall neither hunger nor thirst,Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;For He who has mercy on them will lead them,Even by the springs of water He will guide them. 11 I will make each of My mountains a road,And My highways shall be elevated. 12 Surely these shall come from afar;Look! Those from the north and the west,And these from the land of Sinim."
13 Sing, O heavens!Be joyful, O earth!And break out in singing, O mountains!For the LORD has comforted His people,And will have mercy on His afflicted.
14 God Will Remember Zion

But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me,And my Lord has forgotten me."
15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child,And not have compassion on the son of her womb?Surely they may forget,Yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;Your walls are continually before Me. 17 Your sons shall make haste;Your destroyers and those who laid you waste Shall go away from you. 18 Lift up your eyes, look around and see;All these gather together and come to you.As I live," says the LORD,"You shall surely clothe yourselves with them all as an ornament,And bind them on you as a bride does.
19 "For your waste and desolate places,And the land of your destruction,Will even now be too small for the inhabitants;And those who swallowed you up will be far away. 20 The children you will have,After you have lost the others,Will say again in your ears,'The place is too small for me;Give me a place where I may dwell.' 21 Then you will say in your heart,'Who has begotten these for me,Since I have lost my children and am desolate,A captive, and wandering to and fro?And who has brought these up?There I was, left alone;But these, where were they?'"
22 Thus says the Lord GOD:
"Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,And set up My standard for the peoples;They shall bring your sons in their arms,And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; 23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,And their queens your nursing mothers;They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth,And lick up the dust of your feet.Then you will know that I am the LORD,For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me."
24 Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,Or the captives of the righteous be delivered?
25 But thus says the LORD:
"Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,And the prey of the terrible be delivered;For I will contend with him who contends with you,And I will save your children. 26 I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh,And they shall be drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine.All flesh shall know That I, the LORD, am your Savior,And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Isaiah 50

50:1 The Servant, Israel's Hope

Thus says the LORD:
"Where is the certificate of your mother's divorce,Whom I have put away?Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you?For your iniquities you have sold yourselves,And for your transgressions your mother has been put away. 2 Why, when I came, was there no man?Why, when I called, was there none to answer?Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?Or have I no power to deliver?Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea,I make the rivers a wilderness;Their fish stink because there is no water,And die of thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness,And I make sackcloth their covering."
4 "The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned,That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary.He awakens Me morning by morning,He awakens My ear To hear as the learned. 5 The Lord GOD has opened My ear;And I was not rebellious,Nor did I turn away. 6 I gave My back to those who struck Me,And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 "For the Lord GOD will help Me;Therefore I will not be disgraced;Therefore I have set My face like a flint,And I know that I will not be ashamed. 8 He is near who justifies Me;Who will contend with Me?Let us stand together.Who is My adversary?Let him come near Me. 9 Surely the Lord GOD will help Me;Who is he who will condemn Me?Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;The moth will eat them up.
10 "Who among you fears the LORD?Who obeys the voice of His Servant?Who walks in darkness And has no light?Let him trust in the name of the LORDAnd rely upon his God. 11 Look, all you who kindle a fire,Who encircle yourselves with sparks:Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled — This you shall have from My hand:You shall lie down in torment.

Second Reading: John Chapter 1

John 1

1:1 The Eternal Word
(Gen 1:1-2:3)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
6 John's Witness: The True Light

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 The Word Becomes Flesh

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said,'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'"
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
19 A Voice in the Wilderness
(Matt 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-20)

Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."
21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
"Are you the Prophet?"
And he answered, "No."
22 Then they said to him, "Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?"
23 He said:"I am
'The voice of one crying in the wilderness:'Make straight the way of the LORD,"'
as the prophet Isaiah said."
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"
26 John answered them, saying,"I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose."
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The Lamb of God
(Matt 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water."
32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."
35 The First Disciples

Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said,"Behold the Lamb of God!"
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?"
They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?"
39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone).
43 Philip and Nathanael

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, "Follow Me." 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote — Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
46 And Nathanael said to him,"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
Philip said to him, "Come and see."
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!"
48 Nathanael said to Him, "How do You know me?"
Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"
50 Jesus answered and said to him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." 51 And He said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Bible Background



Part 1 of 3

The author is the apostle John who also wrote the letters of John and Revelations. The gospel of John was written in order that men may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and consequently the Redeemer of all who believe in Him and the things concerning the Kingdom of God. John cites eight signs (miracles) to establish and prove this point, culminating in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. John is the only book of the four Gospels that does not cite any parables; instead John emphasizes Jesus as the manifestation of God.

Key Verse: "These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 20:31 KJV


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