Monday, December 7, 2009

Time in the Word - Advent 3

The Coming of Jesus Enables Us to Rejoice

The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called by the Latin word, Gaudete, meaning ‘Rejoice!’ For as you are called to repentance, so also are you urged to rejoice in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His own Cross, He has accomplished salvation for you; He has cleared away your enemies, taken away the judgments against you, and has come to reign in your midst. Indeed, He rejoices over you with gladness! (Zeph. 3:15–17). Therefore, even from prison St. Paul encourages us to rejoice in the Lord always, knowing that the peace of God will guard and keep us in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:4, 7). We find an example and encouragement in the case of John the Baptizer. As he languishes in prison, he calls upon Jesus and is strengthened by the Word of the Gospel that he receives. The same good news is preached to you, by which all things are made new and even the dead are raised up (Luke 7:22). Do not be offended by the cross, therefore, but let your life be one of prayer and thanksgiving (Luke 7:23; Phil 4:6).
Monday, 7 December 2009—Psalm 146:5–8; Antiphon, Philippians 4:4—On this Gaudete (‘Rejoice’) Sunday, the antiphon urges us to Rejoice in the Lord always! We rejoice because the Lord has set the prisoners free, even we who are in bondage to the lusts of our fallen flesh. We rejoice because He opens the eyes of the blind, even we who are blinded by sin. We rejoice because He lifts up those who are bowed down, even we who are bowed down by our guilt. We rejoice because the Lord loves the righteous, even we who are righteous, not by our deeds, but by our faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009—Psalm 85—The antiphon, v. 2, proclaims You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. This is the reason that we sinners can rejoice; in Christ, God has forgiven all our sin. The psalm reflects the fact that, even after we are forgiven, we again fall into sin must seek forgiveness. Because of the steadfast love of the Lord, He indeed revives us again, that we may rejoice in Him.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009—Zephaniah 3:14–20—The people of Israel—the people of God—are summoned to rejoice and exult because the Lord has taken away all judgments. He has done this for us—the people of God—by the Lord God who is in our midst: Christ, who came to earth as a man, and lived, died, and rose again for us. He still is in our midst, coming to us in His means of grace, Word and Sacrament, the mighty one who saves us.
Thursday, 10 December 2009—Philippians 4:4–7—Rejoice in the Lord always, says St Paul. Why? Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection, has taken away the reproach of God for sin. We are now at peace with God, peace that surpasses all our understanding, for we can never fully understand the mystery of God assuming flesh, becoming sin for us, and dying to redeem us from the curse of our sin. We can only rejoice in the Lord that He has done so because of His grace and mercy.
Friday, 11 December 2009—Luke 7:18–28—‘Is Jesus the long-expected Messiah and Savior?’ ask John’s disciples. What do you see? The blind see, the lame walk…the dead are raised, and so on. Only God can do this, foreshadowing the restoration of fallen creation, which will be completed at the Second Coming of Christ. In the meantime, we who are spiritually poor have the Good News of the forgiveness of sins preached to us. Jesus Christ is the promised One, who by His death has healed us of the disease of iniquity and has raised us to life, who were dead in our trespasses and sins.
Saturday, 12 December 2009—The 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’).
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion, Casey, IA
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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