Old Testament reading: Exodus 7-9
Let the plagues begin! In chapter 7 begins the account of the plagues the Lord brought upon Egypt. These plagues were not simply punishments for wrongdoing, but rather were given as signs to both Israel and Egypt that Jehovah was indeed the LORD. Two items of note – First, each plague appears to show the authority and power of Jehovah over the primary gods of Egypt. In fact, Exodus 12:12 says that the Passover would be Jehovah’s final judgment “against all the gods of Egypt.” This makes for a great series of studies. Second, only the first three plagues affected all the inhabitants of Egypt (including Israel). It wasn’t until the fourth (flies) that God made a distinction between his people and the Egyptians. AS I mentioned of our previous reading, I don’t think it any secret that Israel also needed reminder of the power of Jehovah. After the third plague (lice), Pharaoh’s magicians declared, “It is the finger of God.” In other words, ‘Israel’s God is just getting started and hasn’t broken a sweat.’ Moreover, this was the first plague that was not replicated by Pharaoh’s magicians. Some believe this is due to the very nature of the plague itself, which required creating life from non-life.
New Testament reading: Luke 1
“And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who was to come.” So spake the Lord Jesus concerning John the Baptizer in Matthew 11:14. Whereas Mark begins his gospel account with the work of John, Luke begins his with the events leading up to John’s birth, linking him with his near kin, the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:36). More than 400 years earlier, at the close of Old Testament inspiration, Malachi spoke of one who would come and prepare the way of the Lord (Mal 4:5). John is one of only three New Testament characters can be expressly linked to the Old Testament. Obviously, Jesus is one and Judas Iscariot the other (Ps 41:9, 69:25, 109:8). Jesus said John the Baptizer was the greatest man ever born, but the least member of the kingdom (church) is greater than he (Matt 11:11). Thus, to be born is marvelous, but to be born again (John 3:3-5) is infinitely greater.