December 17th, 2017

Gaudete (Advent 3)

Explanation of the Week

The voice of the Baptizer cried out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord . . ." (Is 40:1-8). John called the people to be made ready for the Messiah's coming through repentance, for "all flesh is grass." Now He asks from prison, "Are you the Coming One?" (Mt 11:2-10) Jesus' works bear witness that He is. The sick are made well; the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Their iniquity is pardoned; they have received from the Lord's hand double forgiveness for all their sins. The stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor 4:1-5) still deliver Christ's overflowing forgiveness to the poor in spirit, comforting God's people with the word of the Gospel which stands forever. This Gospel produces rejoicing among those who believe. For in it, "the Lord is at hand" (Introit).


Rejoice in the Lord | always.*
     Again will I | say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to | all men.*
     The Lord | is at hand. (Philippians 4:4-5)

LORD, You have been favourable | to Your land;*
     You have brought back the captivity of | Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of Your | people;*
     You have covered | all their sin.
Will You not revive | us again,*
     that Your people may re- | joice in You?
I will hear what God the | Lord will speak,*
     for He will speak peace to His | people. (Psalm 85:1-2, 6, 8)

Collect (LSB)

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.

Collect (TLH)

Lord, we beseech Thee, give ear to our prayers and lighten the darkness of our hearts by Thy gracious visitation; who livest and reignest with Thee and the Holy Ghost ever one god, world without end. Amen.

Collecta Latina

Aurem tuam quaesumus Domine precibus nostris accommoda, et menti nostrae tenebras gratia tuae visitationis illustra, Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus. Per omnia secula seculorum, Amen.

Old Testament (LSB): Isaiah 40:1-11

God’s People Are Comforted

 1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
      Says your God.
       2 “ Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
      That her warfare is ended,
      That her iniquity is pardoned;
      For she has received from the LORD’s hand
      Double for all her sins.”
       3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
      “ Prepare the way of the LORD;
      Make straight in the desert[a]
      A highway for our God.
       4 Every valley shall be exalted
      And every mountain and hill brought low;
      The crooked places shall be made straight
      And the rough places smooth;
       5 The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
      And all flesh shall see it together;
      For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
       6 The voice said, “Cry out!”
      And he[b] said, “What shall I cry?”
      “ All flesh is grass,
      And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
       7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
      Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
      Surely the people are grass.
       8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
      But the word of our God stands forever.”
       9 O Zion,
      You who bring good tidings,
      Get up into the high mountain;
      O Jerusalem,
      You who bring good tidings,
      Lift up your voice with strength,
      Lift it up, be not afraid;
      Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
       10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand,
      And His arm shall rule for Him;
      Behold, His reward is with Him,
      And His work before Him.
       11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
      He will gather the lambs with His arm,
      And carry them in His bosom,
      And gently lead those who are with young.

Footnotes:Isaiah 40:3 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint omits in the desert. Isaiah 40:6 Following Masoretic Text and Targum; Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, and Vulgate read I.

Old Testament: Mal. 3:1-6

The Coming Messenger

 1 “Behold, I send My messenger,
      And he will prepare the way before Me.
      And the Lord, whom you seek,
      Will suddenly come to His temple,
      Even the Messenger of the covenant,
      In whom you delight.
      Behold, He is coming,”
      Says the LORD of hosts.
       2 “ But who can endure the day of His coming?
      And who can stand when He appears?
      For He is like a refiner’s fire
      And like launderers’ soap.
       3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;
      He will purify the sons of Levi,
      And purge them as gold and silver,
      That they may offer to the LORD
      An offering in righteousness.
       4 “ Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem
      Will be pleasant to the LORD,
      As in the days of old,
      As in former years.
       5 And I will come near you for judgment;
      I will be a swift witness
      Against sorcerers,
      Against adulterers,
      Against perjurers,
      Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
      And against those who turn away an alien—
      Because they do not fear Me,”
      Says the LORD of hosts.
       6 “ For I am the LORD, I do not change;
      Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.


You who dwell between the cherubim, | shine forth!*
     Stir up Your | strength and come!
Give ear, O Shepherd of | Israel,*
     You who lead Joseph | like a flock. (Psalm 80:1–2)

Epistle: 1 Cor. 4:1-5

Stewards of the Mysteries of God

 1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.[a] In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

Footnotes:1 Corinthians 4:3 Literally day


Alle- | luia.*
     Alle- | luia.
Stir | up Your strength,*
     and come and save us! Alle- | luia. (Psalm 80:2)

Gospel: Matt. 11:2-10

2 And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of[a] his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” 7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. 10 For this is he of whom it is written:
      ‘ Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
      Who will prepare Your way before You.’[b]

Footnotes:Matthew 11:2 NU-Text reads by for two of. Matthew 11:10 Malachi 3:1


LORD, You have been favourable to Your land; You have brought back the captivity of Jacob. You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people. (Psalm 85)

Matins Psalm(s): Ps. 4

To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

 1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
         You have relieved me in my distress;
         Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
 2 How long, O you sons of men,
         Will you turn my glory to shame?
         How long will you love worthlessness
         And seek falsehood?  Selah  
 3 But know that the LORD has set apart[a] for Himself him who is godly;
         The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
 4 Be angry, and do not sin.
         Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.  Selah  
 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
         And put your trust in the LORD.
 6 There are many who say,
         “Who will show us any good?”
         LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
 7 You have put gladness in my heart,
         More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
         For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Footnotes:Psalm 4:3 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Targum, and Vulgate read made wonderful.

First Reading: Is. 33:1-24

A Prayer in Deep Distress

 1 Woe to you who plunder, though you have not been plundered;
      And you who deal treacherously, though they have not dealt treacherously with you!
      When you cease plundering,
      You will be plundered;
      When you make an end of dealing treacherously,
      They will deal treacherously with you.
       2 O LORD, be gracious to us;
      We have waited for You.
      Be their[a] arm every morning,
      Our salvation also in the time of trouble.
       3 At the noise of the tumult the people shall flee;
      When You lift Yourself up, the nations shall be scattered;
       4 And Your plunder shall be gathered
      Like the gathering of the caterpillar;
      As the running to and fro of locusts,
      He shall run upon them.
       5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high;
      He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.
       6 Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times,
      And the strength of salvation;
      The fear of the LORD is His treasure.
       7 Surely their valiant ones shall cry outside,
      The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.
       8 The highways lie waste,
      The traveling man ceases.
      He has broken the covenant,
      He has despised the cities,[b]
      He regards no man.
       9 The earth mourns and languishes,
      Lebanon is shamed and shriveled;
      Sharon is like a wilderness,
      And Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.

Impending Judgment on Zion

    10 “ Now I will rise,” says the LORD;
      “ Now I will be exalted,
      Now I will lift Myself up.
       11 You shall conceive chaff,
      You shall bring forth stubble;
      Your breath, as fire, shall devour you.
       12 And the people shall be like the burnings of lime;
      Likethorns cut up they shall be burned in the fire.
       13 Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done;
      And you who are near, acknowledge My might.”
       14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
      Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites:
      “ Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
      Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
       15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
      He who despises the gain of oppressions,
      Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes,
      Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed,
      And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:
       16 He will dwell on high;
      His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks;
      Bread will be given him,
      His water will be sure.

The Land of the Majestic King

    17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
      They will see the land that is very far off.
       18 Your heart will meditate on terror:
      “ Where is the scribe?
      Where is he who weighs?
      Where is he who counts the towers?”
       19 You will not see a fierce people,
      A people of obscure speech, beyond perception,
      Of a stammering tongue that you cannot understand.
       20 Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts;
      Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home,
      A tabernacle that will not be taken down;
      Not one of its stakes will ever be removed,
      Nor will any of its cords be broken.
       21 But there the majestic LORD will be for us
      A place of broad rivers and streams,
      In which no galley with oars will sail,
      Nor majestic ships pass by
       22 (For the LORD is our Judge,
      The LORD is our Lawgiver,
      The LORD is our King;
      He will save us);
       23 Your tackle is loosed,
      They could not strengthen their mast,
      They could not spread the sail.
      Then the prey of great plunder is divided;
      The lame take the prey.
       24 And the inhabitant will not say, “I am sick”;
      The people who dwell in it will be forgiven their iniquity.

Footnotes:Isaiah 33:2 Septuagint omits their; Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate read our. Isaiah 33:8 Following Masoretic Text and Vulgate; Dead Sea Scrolls read witnesses; Septuagint omits cities; Targum reads They have been removed from their cities.

Vespers Psalm(s): Ps. 98

A Psalm.

 1 Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
         For He has done marvelous things;
         His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
 2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
         His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
 3 He has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
         All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
 4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
         Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
 5 Sing to the LORD with the harp,
         With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
 6 With trumpets and the sound of a horn;
         Shout joyfully before the LORD, the King.
 7 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
         The world and those who dwell in it;
 8 Let the rivers clap their hands;
         Let the hills be joyful together
          9 before the LORD,
         For He is coming to judge the earth.
         With righteousness He shall judge the world,
         And the peoples with equity.

Second Reading: Rev. 5:1-14

The Lamb Takes the Scroll

 1 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read[a] the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose[b] its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold,[c] in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Worthy Is the Lamb

    8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
      “ You are worthy to take the scroll,
      And to open its seals;
      For You were slain,
      And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
      Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
       10 And have made us[d] kings[e] and priests to our God;
      And we[f] shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:
      “ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
      To receive power and riches and wisdom,
      And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
      “ Blessing and honor and glory and power
      Be to Him who sits on the throne,
      And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”[g] 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four[h] elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.[i]

Footnotes:Revelation 5:4 NU-Text and M-Text omit and read. Revelation 5:5 NU-Text and M-Text omit to loose. Revelation 5:6 NU-Text and M-Text read I saw in the midst . . . a Lamb standing. Revelation 5:10 NU-Text and M-Text read them. Revelation 5:10 NU-Text reads a kingdom. Revelation 5:10 NU-Text and M-Text read they. Revelation 5:13 M-Text adds Amen. Revelation 5:14 NU-Text and M-Text omit twenty-four. Revelation 5:14 NU-Text and M-Text omit Him who lives forever and ever.


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