Home > Reading > Daily Reading – December 12, 2023

Matthew 22:34–40 (Listen)

The Great Commandment

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”


Tuesday of the Second Week in Advent

Loving one another is not always the easiest thing to do, is it? When people betray you, hurt you, or abuse you, it’s hard to love those who take advantage of us. But that cannot be the end of the story. In Matthew 22:34–40, Jesus is literally commanding us to love the Lord our God with our whole being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Also known as the Great Commandment, Christ is compelling us to love. 
And this is only possible because God first loved us. In this time of Advent, as we prepare and get ready for Jesus’ birth and second coming, Christ is being sent to save us from our sins because of the Father’s love for His treasured creation. Any opportunity for us to love only comes from God’s modeling.
I was extremely blessed as a child. I had parents who loved me in all circumstances. Did I always deserve this love? No. But I was still the recipient of this imperfect, consistent care in my life.
Whether we struggle with the aspect of loving others, we cannot just slough it off with no consequence. Jesus is calling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Yes, this love won’t be perfect. Yes, this love won’t always be constant. Yes, this love will have ups and downs. Clearly, we must strive to love the best we can in the name of Christ. If loving another is so hard, then we need to give that person to the Savior to assist us in showing concern.
The Greek word for love in this context is agape. Agape is a sacrificial love, a love that comes from us to another. As we anticipate the Father’s wondrous love for us by sending Jesus, may we be led to love others. Loving is difficult at best in some circumstances, but any love we have to provide comes directly from Jesus.

Prayer: Father, help us to love in Jesus’ name. You know that we sometimes struggle to love others. Lord, since You first loved us, please provide us with the strength and grace to love the best we can. Even though our human love will fall short, let us follow Your command, and love our neighbors as ourselves. As we cling ever closer to you, may Your love flow through us. We pray all these things in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Bradley J. Hales

Amos 7:10–17 (Listen)

Amos Accused

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said,

  “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
    and Israel must go into exile
    away from his land.’”

12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15 But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.

  “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
    and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’

17 Therefore thus says the LORD:

  “‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
    and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
  you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
    and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

Revelation 1:9–16 (Listen)

Vision of the Son of Man

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

Matthew 22:34–46 (Listen)

The Great Commandment

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Whose Son Is the Christ?

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

44   “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
  “Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet”’?

45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.


Morning Psalms

Psalm 33 (Listen)

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

33:1   Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!
    Praise befits the upright.
  Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
    make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
  Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
  For the word of the LORD is upright,
    and all his work is done in faithfulness.
  He loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
    and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
    he puts the deeps in storehouses.
  Let all the earth fear the LORD;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
  For he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.
10   The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
    he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11   The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
12   Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
13   The LORD looks down from heaven;
    he sees all the children of man;
14   from where he sits enthroned he looks out
    on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15   he who fashions the hearts of them all
    and observes all their deeds.
16   The king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17   The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
    and by its great might it cannot rescue.
18   Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19   that he may deliver their soul from death
    and keep them alive in famine.
20   Our soul waits for the LORD;
    he is our help and our shield.
21   For our heart is glad in him,
    because we trust in his holy name.
22   Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
    even as we hope in you.

Psalm 146 (Listen)

Put Not Your Trust in Princes

146:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD, O my soul!
  I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
  Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
  When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.
  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the LORD his God,
  who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
  who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed,
    who gives food to the hungry.
  The LORD sets the prisoners free;
    the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
  The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the LORD loves the righteous.
  The LORD watches over the sojourners;
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10   The LORD will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

Learn More