Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience, and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
The Church’s preparation for the coming of Christ continues with readings that kindle hope for the fulfillment of the kingdom which God has established in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament reading is one of the classic prophecies of a future king in the line of David, one whom God will anoint with His Spirit, and whose reign and rule will bring both judgement and salvation, and will establish peace and harmony over the created order. Psalm 72, a petition to God that the king rule with righteousness and justice, continues the same themes. A major motif in the Epistle lection, which cites Isaiah 11.10, is hope, based on the confirmation of the Old Testament promises by the coming of Jesus. The “eschatological” ( ie., revealing the end or final destiny) character of the coming of Jesus Christ inot the world are dramatized in the Gospel, and the appearance of John the Baptist with his preaching of the kingdom and call to repentance.