Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time in the Word - Advent 3

The Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ Brings True Rejoicing, Even under the Cross
Sometimes life requires the astonishing patience of Job. Like him, we are to rejoice in the midst of affliction, be grounded in repentance under the cross of Christ, and hope relentlessly in His resurrection, that we might see “the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). In the promise of the Gospel, therefore, “be patient” and “establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7, 8). Like St. John, the Baptist, whatever your own kind of prison or suffering may be, call upon Jesus and receive the strength of His Word from those He sends to you. For as “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up,” so is the good news of Jesus preached to you, also (Matt. 11:5). He comes and restores the fortunes of Zion, His holy Church, so that “sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Is. 35:10).

Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent: Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for protection during the day: O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power, and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayer for thanksgiving at the end of the day: Gracious Lord, we give You thanks for the day, especially for the good we were permitted to give and to receive. The day is now past, and we commit it to You. We entrust to You the night and rest in Your peace, for You are our help, and You neither slumber nor sleep. Hear us for the sake of Your name.

Prayer pardon, growth in grace, and divine protection: O Lord, our God, we acknowledge Your great goodness toward us and praise You for the mercy and grace that our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our hearts have known. We sincerely repent of the sins of this day and those in the past. Pardon our offenses, correct and reform what is lacking in us, and help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Inscribe Your law upon our hearts, and equip us to serve You with holy and blameless lives. May each day remind us of the coming of the night when no one can work. In the emptiness of this present age keep us united by a living faith through the power of Your Holy Spirit with Him who is the resurrection and the life, that we may escape the eternal bitter pains of condemnation.

By Your Holy Spirit bless the preaching of Your Word and the administration of Your Sacraments. Preserve these gifts to us and to all Christians. Guard and protect us from all dangers to body and soul. Grant that we may with faithful perseverance receive from You our sorrows as well as our joys, knowing that health and sickness, riches and poverty, and all things come by permission of Your fatherly hand. Keep us this day under Your protective care and preserve us, securely trusting in Your everlasting goodness and love, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 6 December 2010Psalm 118:25–28; Antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b—Historically, the Third Sunday in Advent has been known as Gaudete, the Latin word for ‘Rejoice’, the opening word of the Introit. The mood is lighter than the other Sundays in this penitential season, as the day of our Savior’s birth, the Deliverer promised of old, approaches. Our attitude is one of expectant rejoicing, as we await that day, and comfort one another, our mouths telling of the Lord’s righteous acts, of His deeds of salvation all the day.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010Psalm 146—Praise the LORD! Or, in Hebrew, Hallelujah! The Book of Psalms closes with five ‘Hallelujah’ psalms, of which this is the first. It calls upon us to praise the LORD, the One who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry, who sets the prisoners free, who opens the eyes of the blind, and so forth. So, also, ought we to praise the LORD, for He has executed justice for us who are oppressed by sin; He gives us who are hungry our daily bread and the spiritual food of His Word and Sacrament; He has set us prisoners free from the captivity of sin; He has opened our sin-blinded eyes. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010Isaiah 35:1–10—In the previous chapter, Isaiah had announced the coming judgement of the Lord. Here, he announces the LORD’s deliverance. On the Last Day, the Lord Jesus will return and shall pronounce judgement on all the earth. This beautiful passage tells us how it will be for those of us who are the ransomed of the LORD by faith in Christ. In that day, when we see the glory of the LORD and the majesty of our God, we shall rejoice with joy and singing, for we are His redeemed.

Thursday, 9 December 2010James 5:7–11—though we look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus, we know that we must often endure hardships and suffering here on earth. James counsels us to Be patient . . . until the coming of the Lord. We can do so only because we know that the Lord is compassionate and merciful, and had redeemed us from the consequence of sin. We know therefore, that He will fulfill His promise to us to take us from this vale of tears to live with Him eternally in His heavenly kingdom.

Friday, 10 December 2010Matthew 11:2–15—Jesus tells John’s messengers that He is the One who is the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, the One who would be the promised Deliverer and Savior. Jesus recounts for them what He has done, fulfilling the prophecies written in the Psalms and in the prophets, especially Isaiah. Jesus then extols John the Baptist, the final and greatest prophet of the Old Testament, the one who prepared His way.

Saturday, 11 December 2010—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding (LSB #345). The thrilling voice is that of John the Baptist, who preached repentance in advance of the coming of the promised Savior. John’s purpose was to point to the One who would come after him, the Lamb, so long expected who comes with pardon down from heaven and shields us with His mercy, the prophesied Christ, Jesus our Lord.

This week’s Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor who serves Zion Casey and St. John Dexter, IA of the Iowa West District LCMS

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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