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December 17, 2022

Daily Scripture

Isaiah 25:6-9, John 1:24-30, 34-37

Isaiah 25

6 On this mountain,
the LORD of heavenly forces will prepare for all peoples
a rich feast, a feast of choice wines,
of select foods rich in flavor,
of choice wines well refined.
7 He will swallow up on this mountain the veil that is veiling all peoples,
the shroud enshrouding all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever.
The LORD God will wipe tears from every face;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from off the whole earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
9 They will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
for whom we have waited—
and he has saved us!
This is the LORD , for whom we have waited;
let’s be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”

John 1

24 Those sent by the Pharisees 25 asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
26 John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize. 27 He comes after me, but I’m not worthy to untie his sandal straps.” 28 This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.
34 “I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.” 35 The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

An ordinary store promotion announcement didn’t seem ordinary at all to Buddy the Elf. Beside himself with joy, he exclaimed, “Santa! Santa’s coming! I know him! I know him!” But the event let Buddy down—the “Santa” he met didn’t even smell like Santa but smelled like “beef and cheese.” * Isaiah looked to a much happier ending when “on that day,” at history’s glorious end, God’s people will say, “Look! This is our God, for whom we have waited—and he has saved us!” And John the Baptist had a very personal sense of that kind of joy. Having preached tirelessly in the wilderness that God’s promised redeemer was at hand, when he saw Jesus, he confidently told his hearers, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” That’s the core of our faith and our mission—preparing people to recognize their God, with a joyous “I know him!”

  • “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” was a clear signal that Jesus’ self-giving life and death would fulfill all the symbolism of Israel’s sacrificial system of worship. In the Temple, a worshipper confessed his or her sin over an innocent lamb. Then a priest sacrificed the lamb and placed its blood symbolically on the altar to clear the sinner from guilt. What does the image of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” tell you about one key reason he came (cf. also Matthew 1:21)? How can you prepare your heart this Advent season to fully accept forgiveness from “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? John the Baptist had even more to say: “I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.” On what basis did the desert prophet reach that belief? What leads you to believe and testify that the Jesus born at Christmas “is God’s Son”?

Lord Jesus, give me the boldness of John the Baptist to step into the adventure you began 2000 years ago. Help me bravely bear witness that I know you as the life-changing, divine source of love and forgiveness. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Zachariah Clark

Zachariah Clark

Zachariah Clark is a senior at Blue Valley Southwest High School and has been a student in Rezlife for about 4 months. Zachariah enjoys photography, reading, and studying theology. Though Zachariah’s plans for after high school are undecided, he is interested in pursuing full-time ministry.

Growing up in church, I learned from a young age many Bible stories, including those about burned offerings. How weird to have to kill an animal to be saved from our sins! I thought. I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore! When I was younger, I thought the Israelites’ burned offerings literally saved them from their sins. It seemed to me these sacrifices were irrelevant to us today because now we know about Jesus. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate learning about the Israelites’ practice of burned offerings and to see that they are relevant for us today because of Jesus.

The prophet Micah asks “With what should I approach the LORD and bow down before God on high? Should I come before him with entirely burned offerings, with year-old calves?” (Micah 6:6). In a prayer for forgiveness David says, “You don’t want sacrifices. If I gave an entirely burned offering, you wouldn’t be pleased” (Psalms 51:16). Micah and David likely regularly practiced giving burned offerings to God in obedience with the Mosaic Law. Yet they saw the bigger picture—that burned offerings were just a symbol of something much bigger: The Messiah. God used burned offerings to teach the Israelites about what He had planned to do for them: to forgive their sins.

When John the Baptist said “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” he saw Jesus as the ultimate burned offering, the ultimate sacrifice. God, made manifest through Jesus, forgave our sins so we could be made whole again. God made himself a sacrifice, so that we could once again have communion God, just as we did in Eden. Just as the burned offerings provided the Israelites a way to reconnect with God, Jesus provides all of us a way to reconnect with God.

Jesus is the reason I can speak to God in confidence, knowing that, because Jesus is the Lamb of God, He sees me without error.

God, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Lamb. Thank you for providing a way for us to be with You. Help me, this Christmas season, to slow down and see the depth and importance of what we are celebrating. Help me to understand and believe that You, Jesus, have taken my sins away. Amen.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.