Isaiah 35:1-10 35:1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus
35:2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.
35:3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
35:4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."
35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
35:6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
35:7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
35:8 A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
35:9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Psalm 146:5-10 146:5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God,
146:6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
146:8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
146:9 The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
146:10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!
Luke 1:46b-55 1:46b "My soul magnifies the Lord,
1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
1:48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
1:49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
1:51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
1:52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
1:55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
James 5:7-10 5:7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.
5:8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
5:9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors!
5:10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Matthew 11:2-11 11:2 When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples
11:3 and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"
11:4 Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see:
11:5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.
11:6 And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me."
11:7 As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind?
11:8 What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces.
11:9 What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
11:10 This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'
11:11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”
They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Now the Pharisees who had been sentquestioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
“I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.
May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel.In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flowon every high mountain and every lofty hill.The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country;for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness;and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance.All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the SaviorJesus, as he promised.Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’