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The Nativity of Our Lord A – December 25, 2022

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The Nativity of Our Lord A – December 25, 2022

You can trust your Lord. If your Lord says something… something like a prophecy… something like a promise… then that something is reality. In our Old Testament passage for today, again a text from the prophet Isaiah, our Lord announces the fulfillment of his word. You may recall the well-noted words of the Lord from Isaiah 40, words that begin this particular section of prophecy (chapters 40-55), “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God” (Is. 40:1). In this section, God is directing his words to the people who have suffered exile in Babylon. In the opening section of Isaiah, God directs his attention to the people of Jerusalem as he prophesies their coming exile (Is. 1-39). In the third section of Isaiah (Is. 56-66), the Lord directs his attention to the plight of the people who have returned from exile in Babylon and are rebuilding Jerusalem.

This comfort of fulfilled prophecy consists of a very particular thing: It is “the salvation of our God” (vs. 7 & 10). The people receive the content of this salvation from that prophecy at the beginning of this section, “Comfort, comfort my people… cry to her… that her iniquity is pardoned…” (Is. 40:1-2). The people’s sin… Israel’s sin… Zion’s sin… Jerusalem’s sin… all of it forgiven… all of them forgiven. This is “good news…” this is cause for singing in joy… this is the reign of God on display for the ends of the earth to see. With his arm bared (vs. 10), the Lord has flexed his muscles, demonstrated his might, and comforted his people “before the eyes of all the nations” (vs. 10).

“What about me?” you might ask, “I’d like a visible display of the Lord’s salvation in my life. That would be a comfort to me.” Yes, such visibility would be a comfort to you, but it would not be faith. It would not be faith alone… nor Word alone… God has given you the visibility of your preacher coming as one on the mountain bringing good news… giving you the visibility of the water poured… the bread broken… the wine served up… God has given you the visibility of the body of Christ gathered to hear this good news… the publishing of your salvation (vs. 7).

Table Talk: Discuss our propensity to desire visibility over faith.
Pray: Heavenly Father, so use your Holy Spirit that as I hear your Word and receive your Sacraments, I would be drawn to trust you and your salvation in Jesus. Amen

Isaiah 52:7-10 English Standard Version

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
    together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
    the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
    you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
    before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
    the salvation of our God.

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