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 came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.

 18And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

 19Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.

 20And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

 21And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.

 22Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.



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


 8And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

 9Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

 10And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

 11Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

 12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,

 13And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

 14For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

 15And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.





 54When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

 57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.



Gospel: Matt. 23:34-39


 34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

 35That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

 36Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

 37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

 39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.



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


 22Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

 23And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

 24Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

 25But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

 26And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.





 4The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

 5The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

 6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

 7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

 8He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

 9Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.

 10Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.

 11Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

 1Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.

 2Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.

 3For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

 4Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.

 5My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.

 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

 7Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

 8For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.





 12I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

 13And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

 14The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

 15But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.

 16And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.



Second Reading: Matt. 1:18-25


 18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

 20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

 22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

 23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

 24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

 25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.



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