Home > Reading > Daily Reading – January 3, 2024

John 6:1–14 (Listen)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

6:1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”


Tenth Day of Christmas

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle, aside from the resurrection, that is recorded in all four gospels. The stories are similar, but John gives us an extra twist. We are told that Jesus asked Philip where they will purchase enough bread to feed all those people. Then the text says, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” Why would Jesus give a test before feeding the 5000, and why Philip in particular? John gives us some clues in prior verses. Philip was one of the first disciples called by Jesus. In John 1:45-46 we are told that Jesus called Philip to follow him and Philip immediately goes to his friend Nathanael and tells him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Upon seeing Jesus, Nathanael declares that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and the King of Israel.
This encounter is immediately followed by the story of the wedding in Cana where Jesus performs His first miracle by turning 180 gallons of water into fine wine. The story ends with this verse, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
In John chapter five, Jesus encounters a group of Jewish leaders who are offended that He performed a miracle on the Sabbath, and question His authority to do so. Jesus tells them that His authority comes from God the Father and ends by saying, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” Immediately after this we have the story about the feeding of the 5000 where Jesus tests Philip. So, why Philip? Perhaps because he is the one who first declared that Jesus was the one about whom Moses wrote. Perhaps it was because he was one of the disciples who witnessed the first food miracle when Jesus turned water into wine. Perhaps it was because Jesus wanted to see if Philip truly believed his friend’s declaration that Jesus is the Son of God and the promised King of Israel.
The test was not just meant for Philip, but for every one of us who proclaims Jesus to be God incarnate. Do we truly embrace the words we confess in our creeds, proclaim from our pulpits, sing in our hymns and speak in our liturgies, or do we put limits on what we believe our Lord Jesus can do?
At the last supper Philip asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9). Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the risen Lord, God Incarnate. He and the Father are one. There are no limits to what He can or is willing to do in order to save His people. Jesus’ test of Philip was not intended to trap him but rather encourage him toward a faith that is deeper than words, a faith that truly believes that all things are possible for God.

Prayer: Gracious God, give us faith to live our lives secure in the knowledge that You are a God of unlimited power, providence and grace. Help us to face seemingly impossible tasks secure in the knowledge that nothing is impossible for You. We pray this in the name of the one who fed the hungry, healed the sick, and promised eternal life to those who put their faith in Him, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. David F. Keener

1 Kings 19:1–8 (Listen)

Elijah Flees Jezebel

19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.

Ephesians 4:1–16 (Listen)

Unity in the Body of Christ

4:1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

  “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
    and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

John 6:1–14 (Listen)

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

6:1 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”


Morning Psalms

Psalm 111 (Listen)

Great Are the Lord’s Works

111:1   Praise the LORD!
  I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
    in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
  Great are the works of the LORD,
    studied by all who delight in them.
  Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
    and his righteousness endures forever.
  He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
    the LORD is gracious and merciful.
  He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever.
  He has shown his people the power of his works,
    in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
  The works of his hands are faithful and just;
    all his precepts are trustworthy;
  they are established forever and ever,
    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
  He sent redemption to his people;
    he has commanded his covenant forever.
    Holy and awesome is his name!
10   The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
    all those who practice it have a good understanding.
    His praise endures forever!

Psalm 147:1–12 (Listen)

He Heals the Brokenhearted

147:1   Praise the LORD!
  For it is good to sing praises to our God;
    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
  The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
    he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
  He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
  He determines the number of the stars;
    he gives to all of them their names.
  Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    his understanding is beyond measure.
  The LORD lifts up the humble;
    he casts the wicked to the ground.
  Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
    make melody to our God on the lyre!
  He covers the heavens with clouds;
    he prepares rain for the earth;
    he makes grass grow on the hills.
  He gives to the beasts their food,
    and to the young ravens that cry.
10   His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11   but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
    in those who hope in his steadfast love.
12   Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
    Praise your God, O Zion!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 107 (Listen)

Book Five

Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So

107:1   Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
  Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
  and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.
  Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
  hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
  Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
  He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
  Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
  For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
10   Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11   for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12   So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
13   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
14   He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
15   Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16   For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17   Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
18   they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
19   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
20   He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
21   Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22   And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
23   Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
24   they saw the deeds of the LORD,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
25   For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26   They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
27   they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits’ end.
28   Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
29   He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30   Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
31   Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
32   Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33   He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
34   a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
35   He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
36   And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
37   they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
38   By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.
39   When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
40   he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41   but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.
42   The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
43   Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

Psalm 15 (Listen)

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

A Psalm of David.

15:1   O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?
    Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
  He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
    and speaks truth in his heart;
  who does not slander with his tongue
    and does no evil to his neighbor,
    nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
  in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the LORD;
  who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
  who does not put out his money at interest
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
  He who does these things shall never be moved.

“”Charles Porterfield Krauth,
Teacher, 1883″”

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.

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