December 26th, 2018

St. Stephen the Martyr

Collect (LSB)

Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for the sake of Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we also may look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Old Testament (LSB): 2 Chron. 24:17-22

 17Now after the death of Jehoiada the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. 18And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served(A) the Asherim and the idols. And(B) wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19(C) Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD.(D) These testified against them, but they would not pay attention.

Joash’s Treachery
 20(E) Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah(F) the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, "Thus says God,(G) 'Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper?(H) Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.'" 21But(I) they conspired against him,(J) and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. 22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. And when he was dying, he said, "May the LORD see(K) and avenge!"[a]

Footnotes:2 Chronicles 24:22 Hebrew and seek
Cross references:2 Chronicles 24:18 : Deut 16:21 2 Chronicles 24:18 : 2 Chronicles 19:2, 10; 28:11, 13; 29:8; 32:25 2 Chronicles 24:19 : Jer 25:4; Matt 23:34; Luke 11:49; 2 Chronicles 36:15 2 Chronicles 24:19 : Neh 13:15, 21 2 Chronicles 24:20 : 2 Chronicles 15:1; 20:14 2 Chronicles 24:20 : Matt 23:35 2 Chronicles 24:20 : Num 14:41 2 Chronicles 24:20 : 2 Chronicles 15:2 2 Chronicles 24:21 : Neh 9:26 2 Chronicles 24:21 : Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51 2 Chronicles 24:22 : Gen 9:5

Epistle: Acts 6:8-15; Acts 7:54-60

Stephen Is Seized

 8And Stephen, full of grace and(A) power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10But(B) they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 11Then(C) they secretly instigated men who said, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." 12And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, 13and they(D) set up false(E) witnesses who said, "This man never ceases to speak words against(F) this holy place and the law, 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth(G) will destroy this place and will(H) change(I) the customs that Moses delivered to us." 15And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face(J) was like the face of an angel.

Cross references:Acts 6:8 : Acts 1:8 Acts 6:10 : Luke 21:14, 15 Acts 6:11 : 1 Kgs 21:10, 13; Matt 26:59, 60 Acts 6:13 : Acts 6:11 Acts 6:13 : Acts 7:58 Acts 6:13 : Acts 21:28; 25:8; Matt 24:15 Acts 6:14 : Dan 9:26; Matt 26:61 Acts 6:14 : Matt 5:17 Acts 6:14 : Acts 15:1; 21:21 Acts 6:15 : Judg 13:6; Eccles 8:1

The Stoning of Stephen

 54Now when they heard these things(A) they were enraged, and they(B) ground their teeth at him. 55But he,(C) full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw(D) the glory of God, and Jesus standing(E) at the right hand of God. 56And he said, "Behold, I see(F) the heavens opened, and(G) the Son of Man standing(H) at the right hand of God." 57But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[a] at him. 58Then(I) they cast him out of the city and(J) stoned him. And(K) the witnesses laid down their garments(L) at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And as they were stoning Stephen,(M) he called out, "Lord Jesus,(N) receive my spirit." 60And(O) falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice,(P) "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this,(Q) he fell asleep.

Footnotes:Acts 7:57 Or rushed with one mind
Cross references:Acts 7:54 : Acts 5:33; Acts 2:37 Acts 7:54 : Job 16:9; Psalm 35:16; 37:12 Acts 7:55 : Acts 6:5 Acts 7:55 : Exodus 24:16; Luke 2:9; John 12:41 Acts 7:55 : Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19 Acts 7:56 : John 1:51 Acts 7:56 : Dan 7:13 Acts 7:56 : Acts 7:55 Acts 7:58 : Lev 24:14-16; Num 15:35; 1 Kgs 21:13; Luke 4:29; Heb 13:12 Acts 7:58 : Matt 21:35; 23:37; Heb 11:37 Acts 7:58 : Acts 6:13; Deut 13:9, 10; 17:7 Acts 7:58 : Acts 8:1; 22:20; Acts 22:4 Acts 7:59 : Acts 9:14 Acts 7:59 : Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46 Acts 7:60 : Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5; Luke 22:41; Eph 3:14 Acts 7:60 : Matt 5:44 Acts 7:60 : Matt 27:52

Gospel: Matt. 23:34-39

34(A) Therefore(B) I send you(C) prophets and wise men and(D) scribes,(E) some of whom you will kill and crucify, and(F) some you will(G) flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35so that on you may come all(H) the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent(I) Abel to the blood of(J) Zechariah the son of Barachiah,[a] whom you murdered between(K) the sanctuary and(L) the altar. 36Truly, I say to you,(M) all these things will come upon this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem
 37(N) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that(O) kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have(P) gathered(Q) your children together(R) as a hen gathers her brood(S) under her wings, and(T) you would not! 38See,(U) your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say,(V) 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

Footnotes:Matthew 23:35 Some manuscripts omit the son of Barachiah
Cross references:Matthew 23:34 : For Matthew 23:34-36, Luke 11:49-51 Matthew 23:34 : Matthew 10:16 Matthew 23:34 : Acts 13:1; 1 Cor 12:28 Matthew 23:34 : Matthew 13:52 Matthew 23:34 : Matthew 21:35 Matthew 23:34 : Matthew 10:17; Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12; Acts 22:19; 26:11; Luke 12:11 Matthew 23:34 : Matthew 10:23 Matthew 23:35 : Rev 18:24 Matthew 23:35 : Gen 4:4, 8; Heb 11:4; 1 John 3:12 Matthew 23:35 : Zech 1:1 Matthew 23:35 : Luke 1:9 Matthew 23:35 : Exodus 40:6; 2 Kgs 16:14; Ezek 40:47 Matthew 23:36 : Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34 Matthew 23:37 : For Matthew 23:37-39, Luke 13:34, 35; Luke 19:41-44 Matthew 23:37 : Matthew 21:35 Matthew 23:37 : Psalm 147:2; Prov 1:24 Matthew 23:37 : Luke 23:28 Matthew 23:37 : Deut 32:11, 12 Matthew 23:37 : Ruth 2:12 Matthew 23:37 : John 5:40 Matthew 23:38 : Isa 64:11; Jer 12:7; 22:5 Matthew 23:39 : Matthew 21:9; Psalm 118:26

First Reading: Is. 49:22-26; Is. 50:4-51:8; Is. 51:12-16

 22Thus says the Lord GOD:"Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
   (A) and raise my signal to the peoples;(B) and they shall bring your sons in their bosom,
   and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders. 23(C) Kings shall be your foster fathers,
   and their queens your nursing mothers.(D) With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you,
   and(E) lick the dust of your feet.Then you will know that I am the LORD;
   (F) those who wait for me(G) shall not be put to shame."

 24Can the prey be taken from the mighty,
   or the captives of a tyrant[a] be rescued? 25For thus says the LORD:(H) "Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken,
   and the prey of the tyrant be rescued,for I will contend with those who contend with you,
   and I will save your children. 26(I) I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
   and they shall be drunk(J) with their own blood as with wine.Then all flesh shall know
   that(K) I am the LORD your Savior,
   and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Footnotes:Isaiah 49:24 Dead Sea Scroll, Syriac, Vulgate (see also verse 25); Masoretic Text of a righteous man
Cross references:Isaiah 49:22 : Isaiah 11:12 Isaiah 49:22 : Isaiah 14:2 Isaiah 49:23 : Isaiah 60:3, 16 Isaiah 49:23 : Isaiah 60:14 Isaiah 49:23 : Psalm 72:9; Mic 7:17 Isaiah 49:23 : Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 49:23 : Psalm 25:3; Joel 2:27 Isaiah 49:25 : Matt 12:29; Luke 11:21, 22 Isaiah 49:26 : Isaiah 9:20; Zech 11:9 Isaiah 49:26 : Rev 14:20; 16:6 Isaiah 49:26 : Isaiah 43:3; Exodus 20:2

 4The Lord GOD has given(A) me
   the tongue of those who are taught,that(B) I may know how to sustain with a word
   (C) him who is weary.Morning by morning he awakens;
   he awakens my ear
   to hear as those who are taught. 5(D) The Lord GOD has opened my ear,
   (E) and I was not rebellious;
   I turned not backward. 6(F) I gave my back to those who strike,
   and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;I hid not my face
   from disgrace and spitting.

 7But the Lord GOD helps me;
   therefore I have not been disgraced;(G) therefore I have set my face like a flint,
   and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
 8(H) He who vindicates me is near.Who will contend with me?
   Let us stand up together.Who is my adversary?
   Let him come near to me. 9(I) Behold, the Lord GOD helps me;
   who will declare me guilty?Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
   the moth will eat them up.

 10Who among you fears the LORD
   and obeys(J) the voice of his servant?(K) Let him who walks in darkness
   and has no lighttrust in the name of the LORD
   and rely on his God. 11Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
   who equip yourselves with burning torches!Walk by the light of your fire,
   and by the torches that you have kindled!(L) This you have from my hand:
   you shall lie down in torment.

The LORD’s Comfort for Zion
 1(M) "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
   you who seek the LORD:look to the rock from which you were hewn,
   and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2Look to Abraham your father
   and to Sarah who bore you;for(N) he was but one when I called him,
   that I might bless him and multiply him. 3For the LORD(O) comforts Zion;
   he comforts all her waste placesand makes her wilderness like(P) Eden,
   her desert like(Q) the garden of the LORD;(R) joy and gladness will be found in her,
   thanksgiving and the voice of song.

 4(S) "Give attention to me, my people,
   and give ear to me, my nation;(T) for a law[a] will go out from me,
   and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. 5(U) My righteousness draws near,
   my salvation has gone out,
   and my arms will judge the peoples;(V) the coastlands hope for me,
   and for my arm they wait. 6(W) Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
   and look at the earth beneath;(X) for the heavens vanish like smoke,
   the earth will wear out like a garment,
   and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;[b](Y) but my salvation will be forever,
   and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

 7(Z) "Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
   the people(AA) in whose heart is my law;(AB) fear not the reproach of man,
   nor be dismayed at their revilings. 8(AC) For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
   and the worm will eat them like wool;(AD) but my righteousness will be forever,
   and my salvation to all generations."

Footnotes:Isaiah 51:4 Or for teaching; also verse 7 Isaiah 51:6 Or will die like gnats
Cross references:Isaiah 50:4 : Exodus 4:11 Isaiah 50:4 : Isaiah 40:1, 2 Isaiah 50:4 : Matt 11:28 Isaiah 50:5 : Psalm 40:6 Isaiah 50:5 : John 14:31; Phil 2:8; Heb 5:8; 10:7 Isaiah 50:6 : Isaiah 53:5; Matt 26:67; 27:26; Mark 15:19; Luke 22:63 Isaiah 50:7 : Ezek 3:8, 9 Isaiah 50:8 : Rom 8:33, 34 Isaiah 50:9 : Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 50:10 : Isaiah 50:4; Isaiah 49:2, 3 Isaiah 50:10 : Isaiah 42:16; Mic 7:8 Isaiah 50:11 : John 9:39 Isaiah 51:1 : Isaiah 51:7 Isaiah 51:2 : Ezek 33:24 Isaiah 51:3 : Isaiah 40:1; 52:9 Isaiah 51:3 : Gen 2:8; Ezek 28:13; 31:9; Joel 2:3 Isaiah 51:3 : Gen 13:10 Isaiah 51:3 : Isaiah 35:10 Isaiah 51:4 : Psalm 78:1 Isaiah 51:4 : Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah 51:5 : Isaiah 46:13 Isaiah 51:5 : Isaiah 11:11 Isaiah 51:6 : Isaiah 40:26 Isaiah 51:6 : Psalm 102:26; Matt 24:25; 2 Pet 3:10; Rev 21:1 Isaiah 51:6 : Psalm 102:27, 28 Isaiah 51:7 : Isaiah 51:1 Isaiah 51:7 : Psalm 37:31 Isaiah 51:7 : Isaiah 41:14; Matt 10:28 Isaiah 51:8 : Isaiah 50:9 Isaiah 51:8 : Isaiah 51:6

 12"I, I am he(A) who comforts you;
   who are you that you are afraid of(B) man who dies,
   of the son of man who is made(C) like grass, 13and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
   (D) who stretched out the heavens
   and(E) laid the foundations of the earth,and you fear continually all the day
   because of the wrath of(F) the oppressor,when he sets himself to destroy?
   And where is the wrath of the oppressor? 14(G) He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
   he shall not die and go down(H) to the pit,
   neither shall his bread be lacking. 15I am the LORD your God,
   (I) who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
   the LORD of hosts is his name. 16(J) And I have put my words in your mouth
   (K) and covered you in the shadow of my hand,(L) establishing[a] the heavens
   and(M) laying the foundations of the earth,
   and saying to Zion, 'You are my people.'"

Footnotes:Isaiah 51:16 Or planting
Cross references:Isaiah 51:12 : Isaiah 40:1; 66:13 Isaiah 51:12 : Psalm 118:6 Isaiah 51:12 : Isaiah 40:6 Isaiah 51:13 : Isaiah 40:22 Isaiah 51:13 : Isaiah 48:13 Isaiah 51:13 : Isaiah 14:4 Isaiah 51:14 : Isaiah 45:13 Isaiah 51:14 : Zech 9:11 Isaiah 51:15 : Jer 31:35 Isaiah 51:16 : Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 50:4 Isaiah 51:16 : Isaiah 49:2 Isaiah 51:16 : Isaiah 40:22 Isaiah 51:16 : Isaiah 48:13

Second Reading: Matt. 1:18-25

The Birth of Jesus Christ

 18Now the birth of(A) Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way.(B) When his mother Mary had been betrothed[b] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child(C) from the Holy Spirit. 19And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling(D) to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered these things, behold,(E) an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and(F) you shall call his name Jesus,(G) for he will save his people from their sins." 22(H) All this took place(I) to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
 23(J) "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
   and they shall call his name(K) Immanuel"


   (which means, God(L) with us). 24When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And(M) he called his name Jesus.

Footnotes:Matthew 1:18 Some manuscripts of the Christ Matthew 1:18 That is, legally pledged to be married
Cross references:Matthew 1:18 : Matthew 1:1; Mark 1:1; John 1:17; 17:3; Matthew 1:16 Matthew 1:18 : Luke 1:27 Matthew 1:18 : Luke 1:35 Matthew 1:19 : Deut 24:1 Matthew 1:20 : Matthew 2:13, 19; Matthew 2:12, 22 Matthew 1:21 : Matthew 1:25; Luke 1:31; 2:21 Matthew 1:21 : Luke 2:11; Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23, 38; Acts 3:26 Matthew 1:22 : Matthew 21:4; 26:56; John 19:36 Matthew 1:22 : Matthew 2:15, 23; 4:14; Mark 14:49 Matthew 1:23 : Isa 7:14 Matthew 1:23 : Isa 8:8, 10 Matthew 1:23 : Matthew 28:20 Matthew 1:25 : Matthew 1:21


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