Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Lev 20
"Having set forth moral principles for the observation of
Israelites, Yahweh now proceeds to outline the penalties attached to
disobedience in these several particulars. Discipline and punishment is
necessary in an organized society, for otherwise, flesh being what it is, human
nature would flout the divine will. The Land of Canaan was burdened with the
vilest forms of wickedness, and rigorous, ruthless measures were needed to keep
at bay the vices and immoral practises that were common throughout the land.
Hence severe penalties were laid down, which the rulers were to carry out. The
Law listed offences that could not be atoned for, and were not forgivable except
by specific divine decree (as in the case of David), but in Christ there is
justification for things 'that could not be justified under the law' (Mar
3:28,29; Act 13:39)" (HP Mansfield, "Christadelphian Expositor").
Reading 2 - Psa 119:165
"Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make
them stumble" (Psa 119:165).
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to
you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid"
(Joh 14:27). "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In
this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"
"Offend them" (KJV) should read -- as in NIV -- 'make them
stumble' (compare "the stone of stumbling": Isa 8:14,15; Psa 118:22). If a man's
faith is true, it supports him through all circumstances of strain or distress.
Yet how often it happens that when times are rough, the first casualty is the
steady observance of religious duties: perhaps mid-week classes are let go, and
then some Sundays slide by without the Lord being remembered in the appointed
manner. This is not a collapse of faith, but a revealing of non-faith: "He that
loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling
in him" (1Jo 2:10).
"Be big enough never to be offended. It is the petty mind that
takes offense. Be big enough to make allowances, to understand, to sympathize.
If we are 'touchy', we have no solid, reserve power for good: things are fine,
and we can do wonders, as long as our back is scratched, but we haven't the
maturity and stamina to face reality" (GVG).
Reading 3 - Luk 3:1,2
"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar -- when
Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother
Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene --
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John
son of Zechariah in the desert" (Luke 3:1,2).
In two verses only, Luke presents the great parade -- of all
the powerful and wealthy and prominent men of the world in his day. There they
stand on the world's "stage" for all to respect and admire! But God -- being no
respecter of persons, and desiring that no flesh should glory in His presence --
now absolutely sets all the mighty to one side, passing them by entirely, and
condescends to speak to a man of the wilderness -- a man of simple food and
simple clothes and simple habits. The Creator of heaven and earth has no need
for lavish palaces or fine temples; instead, He chooses to dwell with shepherds
in the fields (Luke 2:8-14), and a "wild man" on the river bank!