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


 17But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them.

 18They abandoned (A)the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and (B)served the [a]Asherim and the idols; so (C)wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.

 19Yet (D)He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen.

Joash Murders Son of Jehoiada
 20(E)Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, "Thus God has said, '(F)Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? (G)Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you.'"

 21So (H)they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD.

 22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, "May (I)the LORD see and avenge!"

Footnotes:2 Chronicles 24:18 I e wooden symbols of a female deity
Cross references:2 Chronicles 24:18 : 2 Chr 24:4 2 Chronicles 24:18 : Ex 34:12-14 2 Chronicles 24:18 : Josh 22:20 2 Chronicles 24:19 : Jer 7:25 2 Chronicles 24:20 : 2 Chr 20:14 2 Chronicles 24:20 : Num 14:41 2 Chronicles 24:20 : 2 Chr 15:2 2 Chronicles 24:21 : Neh 9:26; Matt 23:34, 35 2 Chronicles 24:22 : Gen 9:5


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


 8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great (A)wonders and signs among the people.

 9But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both (B)Cyrenians and (C)Alexandrians, and some from (D)Cilicia and (E)Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen.

 10But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.

 11Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God."

 12And they stirred up the people, the elders and the scribes, and they (F)came up to him and dragged him away and brought him before (G)the Council.

 13They put forward (H)false witnesses who said, "This man incessantly speaks against this (I)holy place and the Law;

 14for we have heard him say that (J)this Nazarene, Jesus, will destroy this place and alter (K)the customs which Moses handed down to us."

 15And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the (L)Council saw his face like the face of an angel.

Cross references:Acts 6:8 : John 4:48 Acts 6:9 : Matt 27:32; Acts 2:10 Acts 6:9 : Acts 18:24 Acts 6:9 : Acts 15:23, 41; 21:39; 22:3; 23:34; 27:5; Gal 1:21 Acts 6:9 : Acts 16:6; 19:10; 21:27; 24:18 Acts 6:12 : Luke 20:1; Acts 4:1 Acts 6:12 : Matt 5:22 Acts 6:13 : Matt 26:59-61; Acts 7:58 Acts 6:13 : Matt 24:15; Acts 21:28; 25:8 Acts 6:14 : Matt 26:61 Acts 6:14 : Acts 15:1; 21:21; 26:3; 28:17 Acts 6:15 : Matt 5:22




Stephen Put to Death

 54Now when they heard this, they were (A)cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him.

 55But being (B)full of the Holy Spirit, he (C)gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing (D)at the right hand of God;

 56and he said, "Behold, I see the (E)heavens opened up and (F)the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."

 57But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.

 58When they had (G)driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and (H)the witnesses (I)laid aside their robes at the feet of (J)a young man named Saul.

 59They went on stoning Stephen as he (K)called on the Lord and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!"

 60Then (L)falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, (M)do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he (N)fell asleep.

Cross references:Acts 7:54 : Acts 5:33 Acts 7:55 : Acts 2:4 Acts 7:55 : John 11:41 Acts 7:55 : Mark 16:19 Acts 7:56 : John 1:51 Acts 7:56 : Matt 8:20 Acts 7:58 : Lev 24:14, 16; Luke 4:29 Acts 7:58 : Deut 13:9; 17:7; Acts 6:13 Acts 7:58 : Acts 22:20 Acts 7:58 : Acts 8:1; 22:20; 26:10 Acts 7:59 : Acts 9:14, 21; 22:16; Rom 10:12-14; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Tim 2:22 Acts 7:60 : Luke 22:41 Acts 7:60 : Matt 5:44; Luke 23:34 Acts 7:60 : Dan 12:2; Matt 27:52; John 11:11; Acts 13:36; 1 Cor 15:6, 18, 20; 1 Thess 4:13-ff; 2 Pet 3:4


Gospel: Matt. 23:34-39


 34"(A)Therefore, behold, (B)I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will (C)scourge in your synagogues, and (D)persecute from city to city,

 35so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous (E)Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the (F)son of Berechiah, whom (G)you murdered between the temple and the altar.

 36"Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon (H)this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem
 37"(I)Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who (J)kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, (K)the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

 38"Behold, (L)your house is being left to you desolate!

 39"For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, '(M)BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'"

Cross references:Matthew 23:34 : Matt 23:34-36; Luke 11:49-51 Matthew 23:34 : 2 Chr 36:15, 16 Matthew 23:34 : Matt 10:17 Matthew 23:34 : Matt 10:23 Matthew 23:35 : Gen 4:8-ff; Heb 11:4 Matthew 23:35 : Zech 1:1 Matthew 23:35 : 2 Chr 24:21 Matthew 23:36 : Matt 10:23; 24:34 Matthew 23:37 : Luke 13:34, 35 Matthew 23:37 : Matt 5:12 Matthew 23:37 : Ruth 2:12 Matthew 23:38 : 1 Kin 9:7; Jer 22:5 Matthew 23:39 : Ps 118:26; Matt 21:9


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
         And set up My (A)standard to the peoples;
         And they will (B)bring your sons in their bosom,
         And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.
    23"(C)Kings will be your guardians,
         And their princesses your nurses
         They will (D)bow down to you with their faces to the earth
         And (E)lick the dust of your feet;
         And you will (F)know that I am the LORD;
         Those who hopefully (G)wait for Me will (H)not be put to shame.
    24"(I)Can the prey be taken from the mighty man,
         Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?"

 25Surely, thus says the LORD,
         "Even the (J)captives of the mighty man will be taken away,
         And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued;
         For I will contend with the one who contends with you,
         And I will (K)save your sons.
    26"I will feed your (L)oppressors with their (M)own flesh,
         And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine;
         And (N)all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your (O)Savior
         And your (P)Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Cross references:Isaiah 49:22 : Is 11:10, 12; 18:3; 62:10 Isaiah 49:22 : Is 14:2; 43:6; 60:4 Isaiah 49:23 : Is 14:1, 2; 60:3, 10, 11 Isaiah 49:23 : Is 45:14; 60:14 Isaiah 49:23 : Ps 72:9; Mic 7:17 Isaiah 49:23 : Is 41:20; 43:10; 60:16 Isaiah 49:23 : Ps 37:9; Is 25:9; 26:8 Isaiah 49:23 : Ps 25:3; Is 45:17; Joel 2:27 Isaiah 49:24 : Matt 12:29; Luke 11:21 Isaiah 49:25 : Is 10:6; 14:1, 2; Jer 50:33, 34 Isaiah 49:25 : Is 25:9; 33:22; 35:4 Isaiah 49:26 : Is 9:4; 14:4; 16:4; 51:13; 54:14 Isaiah 49:26 : Is 9:20 Isaiah 49:26 : Is 45:6; Ezek 39:7 Isaiah 49:26 : Is 43:3 Isaiah 49:26 : Is 49:7





    4The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of (A)disciples,
         That I may know how to (B)sustain the weary one with a word
         He awakens Me (C)morning by morning,
         He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
    5The Lord GOD has (D)opened My ear;
         And I was (E)not disobedient
         Nor did I turn back.
    6I (F)gave My back to those who strike Me,
         And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
         I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.
    7For the Lord GOD (G)helps Me,
         Therefore, I am (H)not disgraced;
         Therefore, I have set My face like (I)flint,
         And I know that I will not be ashamed.
    8He who (J)vindicates Me is near;
         Who will contend with Me?
         Let us (K)stand up to each other;
         Who has a case against Me?
         Let him draw near to Me.
    9Behold, (L)the Lord GOD helps Me;
         (M)Who is he who condemns Me?
         Behold, (N)they will all wear out like a garment;
         The moth will eat them.
    10Who is among you that fears the LORD,
         That obeys the voice of His (O)servant,
         That (P)walks in darkness and has no light?
         Let him (Q)trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
    11Behold, all you who (R)kindle a fire,
         Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
         Walk in the light of your fire
         And among the brands you have set ablaze
         This you will have from My hand:
         You will (S)lie down in torment.

Israel Exhorted
    1"(T)Listen to me, you who (U)pursue righteousness,
         Who seek the LORD:
         Look to the (V)rock from which you were hewn
         And to the quarry from which you were dug.
    2"Look to (W)Abraham your father
         And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain;
         When he (X)was but one I called him,
         Then I blessed him and multiplied him."
    3Indeed, (Y)the LORD will comfort Zion;
         He will comfort all her (Z)waste places
         And her (AA)wilderness He will make like (AB)Eden,
         And her desert like the (AC)garden of the LORD;
         (AD)Joy and gladness will be found in her,
         Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.
    4"(AE)Pay attention to Me, O My people,
         And give ear to Me, O My nation;
         For a (AF)law will go forth from Me,
         And I will set My (AG)justice for a (AH)light of the peoples.
    5"My (AI)righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth,
         And My (AJ)arms will judge the peoples;
         The (AK)coastlands will wait for Me,
         And for My (AL)arm they will wait expectantly.
    6"(AM)Lift up your eyes to the sky,
         Then look to the earth beneath;
         For the (AN)sky will vanish like smoke,
         And the (AO)earth will wear out like a garment
         And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
         But My (AP)salvation will be forever,
         And My righteousness will not wane.
    7"(AQ)Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
         A people in whose (AR)heart is My law;
         Do not fear the (AS)reproach of man,
         Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
    8"For the (AT)moth will eat them like a garment,
         And the (AU)grub will eat them like wool
         But My (AV)righteousness will be forever,
         And My salvation to all generations."

Cross references:Isaiah 50:4 : Is 8:16; 54:13 Isaiah 50:4 : Is 57:19; Jer 31:25 Isaiah 50:4 : Ps 5:3; 88:13; 119:147; 143:8 Isaiah 50:5 : Ps 40:6; Is 35:5 Isaiah 50:5 : Matt 26:39; John 8:29; 14:31; 15:10; Acts 26:19; Phil 2:8; Heb 5:8; 10:7 Isaiah 50:6 : Matt 26:67; 27:30; Mark 14:65; 15:19; Luke 22:63 Isaiah 50:7 : Is 42:1; 49:8 Isaiah 50:7 : Is 45:17; 54:4 Isaiah 50:7 : Ezek 3:8, 9 Isaiah 50:8 : Is 45:25; Rom 8:33, 34 Isaiah 50:8 : Is 1:18; 41:1; 43:26 Isaiah 50:9 : Is 41:10 Isaiah 50:9 : Is 54:17 Isaiah 50:9 : Job 13:28; Is 51:8 Isaiah 50:10 : Is 49:2, 3; 50:4 Isaiah 50:10 : Is 9:2; 26:9; Eph 5:8 Isaiah 50:10 : Is 12:2; 26:4 Isaiah 50:11 : Prov 26:18; Is 9:18; James 3:6 Isaiah 50:11 : Is 8:22; 65:13-15; Amos 4:9, 10 Isaiah 51:1 : Is 46:3; 48:12; 51:7 Isaiah 51:1 : Ps 94:15; Prov 15:9 Isaiah 51:1 : Gen 17:15-17 Isaiah 51:2 : Is 29:22; 41:8; 63:16 Isaiah 51:2 : Gen 12:1; 15:5; Deut 1:10; Ezek 33:24 Isaiah 51:3 : Is 40:1; 49:13 Isaiah 51:3 : Is 52:9 Isaiah 51:3 : Is 35:1; 41:19 Isaiah 51:3 : Gen 2:8; Joel 2:3 Isaiah 51:3 : Gen 13:10 Isaiah 51:3 : Is 25:9; 41:16; 65:18; 66:10 Isaiah 51:4 : Ps 50:7; 78:1 Isaiah 51:4 : Deut 18:18; Is 2:3; Mic 4:2 Isaiah 51:4 : Is 1:27; 42:4 Isaiah 51:4 : Is 42:6; 49:6 Isaiah 51:5 : Is 46:13; 54:17 Isaiah 51:5 : Is 40:10 Isaiah 51:5 : Is 42:4; 60:9 Isaiah 51:5 : Is 59:16; 63:5 Isaiah 51:6 : Is 40:26 Isaiah 51:6 : Ps 102:25, 26; Is 13:13; 34:4; Matt 24:35; Heb 1:10-12; 2 Pet 3:10 Isaiah 51:6 : Ps 102:25, 26; Is 13:13; 34:4; Matt 24:35; Heb 1:10-12; 2 Pet 3:10 Isaiah 51:6 : Is 45:17; 51:8 Isaiah 51:7 : Is 51:1 Isaiah 51:7 : Ps 37:31 Isaiah 51:7 : Is 25:8; 54:4; Matt 5:11; Acts 5:41 Isaiah 51:8 : Is 50:9 Isaiah 51:8 : Is 14:11; 66:24 Isaiah 51:8 : Is 51:6





    12"I, even I, am He who (A)comforts you
         Who are you that you are afraid of (B)man who dies
         And of the son of man who is made (C)like grass,
    13That you have (D)forgotten the LORD your Maker,
         Who (E)stretched out the heavens
         And laid the foundations of the earth,
         That you (F)fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor,
         As he makes ready to destroy?
         But where is the fury of the (G)oppressor?

 14"The (H)exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon, (I)nor will his bread be lacking.

 15"For I am the LORD your God, who (J)stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the LORD of hosts is His name).

 16"I have (K)put My words in your mouth and have (L)covered you with the shadow of My hand, to (M)establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, 'You are My people.'"

Cross references:Isaiah 51:12 : Is 51:3 Isaiah 51:12 : Ps 118:6; Is 2:22 Isaiah 51:12 : Is 40:6, 7; 1 Pet 1:24 Isaiah 51:13 : Deut 6:12; 8:11; Is 17:10 Isaiah 51:13 : Job 9:8; Ps 104:2; Is 40:22; 45:12, 18; 48:13 Isaiah 51:13 : Is 7:4; 10:24 Isaiah 51:13 : Is 49:26; 54:14 Isaiah 51:14 : Is 48:20; 52:2 Isaiah 51:14 : Is 33:6; 49:10 Isaiah 51:15 : Ps 107:25; Jer 31:35 Isaiah 51:16 : Deut 18:18; Is 59:21 Isaiah 51:16 : Ex 33:22; Is 49:2 Isaiah 51:16 : Is 66:22


Second Reading: Matt. 1:18-25


Conception and Birth of Jesus

 18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His (A)mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was (B)found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

 19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned [a](C)to send her away secretly.

 20But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "(D)Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been [b]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

 21"She will bear a Son; and (E)you shall call His name Jesus, for He (F)will save His people from their sins."

 22Now all this took place to fulfill what was (G)spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

 23"(H)BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH (I)CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "(J)GOD WITH US."

 24And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife,

 25[c]but kept her a virgin until she (K)gave birth to a Son; and (L)he called His name Jesus.

Footnotes:Matthew 1:19 Or to divorce her Matthew 1:20 Lit begotten Matthew 1:25 Lit and was not knowing her
Cross references:Matthew 1:18 : Matt 12:46; Luke 1:27 Matthew 1:18 : Luke 1:35 Matthew 1:19 : Deut 22:20-24; 24:1-4; John 8:4, 5 Matthew 1:20 : Luke 2:4 Matthew 1:21 : Luke 1:31; 2:21 Matthew 1:21 : Luke 2:11; John 1:29; Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23, 38, 39; Col 1:20-23 Matthew 1:22 : Luke 24:44; Rom 1:2-4 Matthew 1:23 : Is 7:14 Matthew 1:23 : Is 9:6, 7 Matthew 1:23 : Is 8:10 Matthew 1:25 : Luke 2:7 Matthew 1:25 : Matt 1:21; Luke 2:21


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