the Revised Common Lectionary. Comments and questions are intended to encourage reflection for readers preparing to teach, preach, or hear the Word. Reader comments are invited and encouraged. All lectionary links are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible via the PC(USA) Devotions and Readings website, but if you prefer another translation, feel free to use that instead. (Other references are linked to the NRSV via the oremus Bible Browser.)
v. 10 Who is Ahaz? Why did the LORD speak to him?
v. 11 What is the definition of “a sign”? If you were to ask the LORD for a sign, what sign would you ask for?
v. 12 What do you think of the response of Ahaz? To what story or incident in salvation history does not putting “the LORD to the test” refer?
v. 13 What is the meaning of this enigmatic verse?
v. 14 Note that the sign involves “the young woman” with child. There is no mention of a virgin. What is the meaning and significance of “Immanuel”.
v. 15 Another enigmatic verse. What is so special about curds and honey? Locusts and wild honey sounds more symbolic.
v. 16 What is bad news for some is good news for others. Why do Christians tend to quote and emphasize verse 14 while overlooking and neglecting verse 16?
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
v. 1 Who is the “shepherd of Israel? What are “cherubim”?
v.2 Why are only three tribes, and these three tribes, mentioned?
v. 3 What does it mean for God’s face to shine?
v. 4 God gets angry?
v. 7 This is beginning to sound like refrain or response.
v. 17 From the psalmist’s perspective, who is at God’s right hand?
v. 18 Promises! Empty promises?
v. 2 What are the holy scriptures to which Paul refers?
v. 4 “Declared” to be son of God? This does read like a high Christology. It sounds to me like Paul is saying Jesus was declared Son of God in his resurrection, not at his birth.
vs. 1-7 This is a lot of theology to pack into the address of a letter. Do not forget that Romans is Paul’s longest letter.
v. 18 Birth of Jesus! Are we not still in Advent? What does it mean “to be with child from the Holy Spirit”?
v. 19 The innuendo seems to be building.
v. 20 What is the significance, if any, that an angel appeared to Joseph “in a dream”?
v. 21 What is the significance of the name “Jesus”?
v. 22 How much does this verse drive what has preceded it?
v. 23 Why is this verse slightly different that the NRSV translation of Isaiah 7:14?
v. 25 What purpose does this verse serve?