The Upper Room is here for you in these anxious times. Click Here

Buy or Subscribe Today

Disciplines is available in a variety of formats: print, digital, and print/digital combo packages. A digital subscription includes access to author bios, the ability to comment, and audio lectio.

Sign Up Today

According to Jesus, John the Baptist has a lot going for him. Jesus labels John the greatest of the prophets.

Crowds of people hikes out into the desert near the Dead Sea to hear John’s message. John offers not sugar-coated platitudes but harsh words pointing out people’s sins and calling...

Jesus, thank you for the incredible and direct relationship we can have with God that you have made possible. Help us not to neglect this precious gift but to practice living in your presence daily. Amen.


1 Comment
Log In to leave a comment
Lectionary Week
December 9–15, 2019
Scripture Overview

Isaiah anticipates a future time of total restoration. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the lame will walk, and the people will return to Jerusalem with joy. Since ancient times, some have understood this as a description of the age of the Messiah. Luke records the song of Mary. After Elizabeth blesses her and her unborn child, Mary praises God for God’s strength, mercy, and generosity. In the epistle, James encourages his audience to be patient as they await the second coming of the Lord. In the same way, we wait for the birth of the Messiah during Advent. An uncertain John the Baptist sends a message to Jesus to ask if he is the promised Messiah. Jesus responds by affirming that he fulfills the messianic expectations in the prophets.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Isaiah 35:1-10. When has scripture strengthened you through personal or societal crises?
Read Luke 1:47-55. Those with power interpret scripture differently than those who are oppressed. How can you make room for perspectives other than your own as you interpret scripture?
Read James 5:7-10. When have you had to endure frustration with patience? How have you been strengthened by these experiences?
Read Matthew 11:2-11. What does it mean to you to be greater than John the Baptist?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.