Advent 2, Wednesday December 9, 2020
1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. 8 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; 9 and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.” 11 But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. 12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts. 14 So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day—15 the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; 16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?
These words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” show us
that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us
through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life
In the Name of Jesus.
says the prophet Isaiah,
will be born to us. A son will be given to us.
What wonderful words of gift, those two words: to us. It signals direction; it gives purpose. What the Lord is doing here is not just something done because he’s almighty God, and it’s not random or accidental.
What God is doing is sending his Son from Heaven to Earth in the flesh, as a baby. In Isaiah 7 a promise was given: the virgin will bear a son. Now, in Isaiah 9, we are told more about who this child will be. Isaiah 9:6:
The government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The “government upon his shoulders”—this is the administration of the Kingdom of Heaven, it’s the dispensing of the forgiveness of sins so that every sinner is declared righteous before the Throne of God.
He will be called Wonderful—what he will accomplish upon the cross is what no sinner could accomplish for himself, it’s the full reconciliation with the Father in Heaven.
He will be called Counselor—he speaks the good counsel of the Gospel, inviting the sinner into salvation, building the sinner up in the encouragement of the cross.
He will be called Mighty God—for though he comes as a man—flesh and blood as every person—yet he’s God the Son himself, Mighty God, creator of all, here on Earth not to condemn, but justify, not to accuse, but to show mercy.
He will be called Eternal Father—he, God the Son, is the one who ransoms the sinner, it is he who cares for every person as a father cares for his children, it is he who brings forth the church, his people, bringing them from death into eternal life.
He will be called, Prince of Peace—the One who brings peace to overcome enmity, reconciliation to heal brokenness, who comforts the distressed, and who looks at the sinner and says, Peace to you, receive the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah the prophet tells us who this child will be. But the most comforting words of all are Isaiah’s words, to us, for us, on our behalf:
A child, will be born to us. A son will be given to us.
By those words, Jesus hands himself over to us, for our benefit and salvation.
In the Large Catechism, Luther describes Jesus the same way when he comes to us in his Sacrament. The wonderful words in the Sacrament of the Altar are, for you. The Sacrament of the Altar is, truly, what Jesus says it is, His Body, His Blood, for the forgiveness of our sins.
But how do we apprehend this? How do we make it our own? It is given into our hands, into our mouths, with those two little words: For you. To you, that is, for you, on your behalf, for your sake—for you.
This is the way,
the Large Catechism says,
that the treasure of the Sacrament is passed along and made our very own, [it] is in the words “Given and shed for you.” For in the words you have both truths, that it is Christ’s body and blood, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift. Now Christ’s body can never be an unfruitful, empty thing that does or profits nothing. Yet, no matter how great the treasure is in itself, it must be included in the Word and administered to us.
The comfort of Advent: that God the Son comes to us. He came as the Son of Mary into this world, to us, for us, fulfilling the words of Isaiah, A child, will be born to us. A son will be given to us.
He comes, making his Advent into our lives in our own generation, his Body and Blood given and shed for you.
We hold on to those words of promise: To you. He comes to us, for us, so that we may take him and hold onto him for the forgiveness of our sins.
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.
In the Name of Jesus.