The Preaching of Repentance Prepares Usfor the Coming of the Lord
The preaching and baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptizer was completed with the first Advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the Forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed, and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy; He fills up our valleys with His peace. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does he perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight, abounding in faith and love, so that our very lives are offered in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).
Monday, 30 November 2009—Psalm 81:8, 10–11, 13; Antiphon, Luke 3:4b—The children of Israel had been delivered by the Lord out of their bondage in Egypt, and yet rejected Him. The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit exhorts us to heed John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance. During this pœnitential season, let us examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and prepare to meet our Savior who comes to us.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009—Psalm 66:1–12—A song of praise to the Lord for all of His benefits to His people. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name. is echoed in a later Christian hymn which we sing in the Office at Mains, the Te Deum Laudamus.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009—Malachi 3:1–7b—Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Malachi prophesies about Him (the Lord whom you seek and the messenger of the covenant) and His fore-runner, John the Baptist (my messenger). Jesus will usher in the last judgment and will judge between the self-righteous who simply pay lip service to Him and those who worship Him in truth and purity, trusting not in their own efforts, but in the Savior who alone can gain our salvation.
Thursday, 3 December 2009—Philippians 1:2–11—In Advent, we look forward to the coming of Christ, not only as the holy infant born in Bethlehem, but also His Second Coming. In the epistle for Sunday, St Paul speaks of the increasing sanctification of the Philippians as that day comes nearer. His prayer for their preparation is also his prayer for ours: that our love may abound more and more, that we have knowledge and discernment, and that we may be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
Friday, 4 December 2009—Luke 3:1–14—The Gospel reading tells of the work of the fore-runner of Christ, John the Baptist, in preparing for the coming Savior. John’s message was simple: ‘Repent.’ That is his word to us, also, every day, but especially in this pœnitential season. The life of the baptized is always one of repentance and the subsequent bringing forth of fruits in keeping with repentance, as we confess in our Small Catechism: the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die…and a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Saturday, 5 December 2009—The hymn of the day, O Bride of Christ, Rejoice (LSB 335), expresses the joy that Christ’s Church has as she waits in expectation of His coming, not only into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but especially at the day of glory foretold in ancient story, the Last Day, when He comes to judge the world and take all believers to eternity in heaven.
Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent—Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing HouseSchnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
This week's edition was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion Casey, IA