God’s Word Is Fulfilled for Us in the Flesh and Blood of Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary
The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With the Blessed Virgin Mary we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Word and Spirit of God. This fulfillment of the sign once given to the House of David, that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son” (Is. 7:14), is now given to us in the Gospel. It declares that salvation is by His grace alone, entirely His work and a free gift. It is also the way and means by which the Lord our God is “Immanuel,” God-with-us. The almighty and eternal Son of God is conceived and born of St. Mary, and is thus “descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3–4). He comes in this way to save us with His own flesh and blood; wherefore He is called “Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). As St. Joseph received this sign in faith and immediately “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Matt. 1:24), we also live by faith in this Holy Gospel.
Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
O Adonai and Ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.
O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples, before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage: Come quickly to deliver us.
O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel, You open and no one can close, You close and no one can open: Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Dayspring, Splendor of light everlasting: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O King of the Nations, the Ruler they long for, the Cornerstone uniting all people: Come and save us all, whom You formed out of clay.
Monday, 13 December 2010—Psalm 130:5–8; Antiphon, Isaiah 64:1—In the antiphon, we make known our desire to see the coming of the Lord in flesh: Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down! Having expressed this fervent wish, we settle down and wait for the LORD to come at His proper time. We know that the Lord will come, that He has come, for He always fulfills His promises out of His steadfast love, especially to redeem us from all our iniquities by His substitutionary death on the cross.
Tuesday, 14 December 2010—Psalm 24—This psalm may have been used when David brought the Ark of the Covenant—the place where the LORD dwelt with His people—into Jerusalem and in later festivals commemorating the event. How fitting that we sing this song as we look forward to the coming of the King of Glory to dwell among us in human flesh in order that we might receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of our salvation.
Wednesday, 15 December 2010—Isaiah 7:10–17—Here is one of the most clear and beloved prophecies of the coming of our Lord in the flesh: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Indeed, seven hundred years later, the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived and bore a Son: the promised Messiah who would deliver us from sin and its consequences, God in flesh, Immanuel (which means God with us).
Thursday, 16 December 2010—Romans 1:1–7—In this beginning to his epistle to the Church at Rome, St Paul proclaims the dual nature of Jesus Christ: true man, in that He was descended from David according to the flesh; and true God, as testified by His Spirit of holiness and resurrection from the dead. Paul proclaims Him to be Jesus Christ our Lord: Jesus, a human name meaning ‘the LORD saves’; Christ his title, meaning the ‘Anointed One, the Messiah’; Lord, another title, and witness to the fact that He is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity, the only true God, though robed in human flesh. It is for the proclamation of the Gospel—the salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ our Lord—that Paul was called to be an apostle.
Friday, 17 December 2010—Matthew 1:18–25—Here is the consummation of our advent preparation: the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to a virgin, just as Isaiah had prophesied. No ordinary child, this One was conceived from the Holy Spirit and born to a human mother. Jesus (‘the LORD saves’): what a fitting name for the Son of God come down from heaven and the One who, by laying down His life for us, would save his people from their sins.
Saturday, 18 December 2010—Sunday’s hymn of the day, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (LSB #357), is an ancient hymn based upon seven even more ancient antiphons (called the ‘O’ Antiphons) which were used in the Office at Vespers (the evening office) during the last seven days of Advent. Each antiphon and each hymn stanza refers to a different title for Christ: Wisdom, Adonai (‘Lord’), Root (or Branch) of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring, King of Nations, Emmanuel (‘God with Us’).
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship.
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished
German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The
Book of Books in Pictures] ©WELS.
This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning serving St. John Casey and Zion, Dexter, IA of the Iowa West District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.