Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Epistle: 1 Thess. 5:16-24
Lesson: Is. 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm: Psalm 89:1-4, 14-18
CLB Commentary – Rev. Dale Hanson
At a preaching seminar so many years ago I heard this suggestion for Advent – “give your congregation an Advent gift of short, gospel filled sermons. A great idea and I pass it on to you as something you might consider giving your congregation this advent and every advent season.
I think it is a good habit to include all the lessons for the given Sunday into our worship service and sermon:
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11
Here we have a wonderful prophecy of the coming Messiah: he will bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, open the prison of those who are bound and comfort all who mourn. The coming Messiah has the power to bring justice and righteousness and does it through his spoken word. He makes those who are weak and weary strong and full of praise. Those who are poor, broken, defeated, discouraged and mourning will rejoice greatly and exult in God. He has clothed them with salvation and covered them with a robe of righteousness. Those whom the Lord wraps in this robe of righteousness not only experience deliverance from unrighteousness but also is given the power to live out his righteousness. Just as the earth will cause seeds sown in it to sprout so also will God will cause righteousness and praise come forth from his people.
Epistle Lesson: I Thessalonians 5:16-24
Notice how Jesus wants us to rejoice always; we can do that only as we bring our distress to him in prayer. He also warns us about hindering the work of the Holy Spirit which is done by despising the proclaimed word or not testing what it being taught. We are to abstain from all evil and immorality; not allowing the sinful flesh to rule over us. Notice on whom we are to depend to sanctify us – the God of peace. God has called us, and is calling us, through his Word. The initiative is from Him both in terms of our justification as well as our sanctification. Blameless – how can we be blameless before God? Don’t overlook those final words – HE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL; HE WILL SURELY DO IT. We can be blameless only because God has given us the righteousness of Jesus.
Gospel text: John 1:6-8, 19-28
John was sent to prepare the way for the Messiah; he did not come on his own, he was sent by God. He was not the Light; he came to bear witness to the light. Not John, but Jesus Christ. Through the Light, and only through Him, do we come to a saving faith. Notice how abundant the grace of God is that we have received . . .. grace upon grace! All that we need; and most of us do need lots, all the grace that we need daily is abundantly available for us. John was clear and consistence in proclaiming that he was but a voice in the wilderness calling people to repentance that the true Messiah might come to them with full salvation. Today may we hear John’s message of repentance … may we heed his call and allow Jesus to grant us faith in Him, sanctify, and keep us. Let us be reminded again of the words from our Epistle lesson – He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. God is faithful. He has sent his Son to be our Savior. The Messiah has come. As we hear his word we are given faith to both repent and believe. Are you aware that God has accomplished this in your heart? If so, rejoice and praise him. If not, do allow that work to begin today. Amen.
Reference: The Lutheran Study Bible