The Old Testament Reading for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist tells of a voice in the wilderness speaking comfort to God’s people. Our devotion comes from A Year with Jesus.
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
God desires that those who sorrow be comforted. He created mankind for the purpose of peace. That is why He was compelled to have mercy on all mankind. But what is this comfort? “Her sin has been paid for.” That is the mercy and comfort God wants to give us. He does not promise to remove every earthly tribulation from our lives. But He promises us forgiveness, and that is far more satisfying.
Sin is the cause of all misery in the world. It is also sin that, above all else, burdens our hearts as children of God. Sin separates us from God. But because our sin is forgiven, our hearts can be glad and we can rely on God to help us bear the tribulations that confront us in this life. Because our sins are forgiven, we know with all certainty that God loves us.
Isaiah tells us to prepare for the coming of the Savior. Wondrous things lie ahead. “The glory of the LORD will be revealed” (Isaiah 40:5). The newsworthy great mystery of God becoming Man is unfolding.
What then is to be proclaimed? Two things: repentance and comfort. For the first, the vanity and fallen state of the human race must be exposed. Therefore, even the best and most godly men will perish like grass and flowers.
For the second, Isaiah’s preaching about repentance is not the last word. He brings comfort to his people. The Savior is not coming for judgment, but rather for redemption. Indeed, He does come with power, but He comes also as the Good Shepherd who will give His life for the sheep.
Devotional reading is adapted from A Year with Jesus, pages 353–54 © 2002 Elmer Hohle. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Hymn is “Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People” from Four Advent Hymns for Twelve Bells © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.