December 28th, 2017

Holy Innocents, Martyrs


Collect (LSB)

Almighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying. Put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Old Testament: Jer. 31:15-17


Mercy on Ephraim

    15 Thus says the LORD:
      “ A voice was heard in Ramah,
      Lamentation and bitter weeping,
      Rachel weeping for her children,
      Refusing to be comforted for her children,
      Because they are no more.” 16 Thus says the LORD:
      “ Refrain your voice from weeping,
      And your eyes from tears;
      For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD,
      And they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
       17 There is hope in your future, says the LORD,
      That your children shall come back to their own border.
      



Epistle: Rev. 14:1-5


The Lamb and the 144,000

 1 Then I looked, and behold, a[a] Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having[b] His Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. 3 They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed[c] from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no deceit,[d] for they are without fault before the throne of God.[e]

Footnotes:Revelation 14:1 NU-Text and M-Text read the. Revelation 14:1 NU-Text and M-Text add His name and. Revelation 14:4 M-Text adds by Jesus. Revelation 14:5 NU-Text and M-Text read falsehood. Revelation 14:5 NU-Text and M-Text omit before the throne of God.


Gospel: Matt. 2:13-18


The Flight into Egypt

    13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”[a]

Massacre of the Innocents

    16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
       18 “ A voice was heard in Ramah,
      Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
      Rachel weeping for her children,
      Refusing to be comforted,
      Because they are no more.”[b]

Footnotes:Matthew 2:15 Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:18 Jeremiah 31:15


First Reading: Is. 52:13-54:10


The Sin-Bearing Servant

    13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently;
      He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
       14 Just as many were astonished at you,
      So His visage was marred more than any man,
      And His form more than the sons of men;
       15 So shall He sprinkle[a] many nations.
      Kings shall shut their mouths at Him;
      For what had not been told them they shall see,
      And what they had not heard they shall consider.

 1 Who has believed our report?
      And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
       2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
      And as a root out of dry ground.
      He has no form or comeliness;
      And when we see Him,
      There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
       3 He is despised and rejected by men,
      A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
      And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
      He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
       4 Surely He has borne our griefs
      And carried our sorrows;
      Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
      Smitten by God, and afflicted.
       5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.
       6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
      We have turned, every one, to his own way;
      And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
       7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
      Yet He opened not His mouth;
      He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
      And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
      So He opened not His mouth.
       8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
      And who will declare His generation?
      For He was cut off from the land of the living;
      For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
       9 And they[b] made His grave with the wicked—
      But with the rich at His death,
      Because He had done no violence,
      Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
       10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
      He has put Him to grief.
      When You make His soul an offering for sin,
      He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
      And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
       11 He shall see the labor of His soul,[c]and be satisfied.
      By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
      For He shall bear their iniquities.
       12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
      And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
      Because He poured out His soul unto death,
      And He was numbered with the transgressors,
      And He bore the sin of many,
      And made intercession for the transgressors.

A Perpetual Covenant of Peace

 1 “Sing, O barren,
      You who have not borne!
      Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
      You who have not labored with child!
      For more are the children of the desolate
      Than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
       2 “ Enlarge the place of your tent,
      And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
      Do not spare;
      Lengthen your cords,
      And strengthen your stakes.
       3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
      And your descendants will inherit the nations,
      And make the desolate cities inhabited.
       4 “ Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
      Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
      For you will forget the shame of your youth,
      And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
       5 For your Maker is your husband,
      The LORD of hosts is His name;
      And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
      He is called the God of the whole earth.
       6 For the LORD has called you
      Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
      Like a youthful wife when you were refused,”
      Says your God.
       7 “ For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
      But with great mercies I will gather you.
       8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
      But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
      Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
       9 “ For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
      For as I have sworn
      That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
      So have I sworn
      That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
       10 For the mountains shall depart
      And the hills be removed,
      But My kindness shall not depart from you,
      Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”
      Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
      

Footnotes:Isaiah 52:15 Or startle Isaiah 53:9 Literally he or He Isaiah 53:11 Following Masoretic Text, Targum, and Vulgate; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint read From the labor of His soul He shall see light.


Second Reading: Matt. 2:13-23


The Flight into Egypt

    13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” 14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”[a]

Massacre of the Innocents

    16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
       18 “ A voice was heard in Ramah,
      Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
      Rachel weeping for her children,
      Refusing to be comforted,
      Because they are no more.”[b]

The Home in Nazareth

    19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Footnotes:Matthew 2:15 Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:18 Jeremiah 31:15


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