The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Advent Services - 7 PM Central Time in December.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

First Mid-Week Advent Service - Wednesday, 7 PM Central Standard Time




Advent, December 3, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Mid-Week Advent, Wednesday, 7 PM Central Standard

The Hymn #81 Gerhardt                    O Jesus, Christ, Thy Manger Is  
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The Lection - Isaiah 40 KJV
The Sermon Hymn #61                     Comfort Ye My People  

God the Creator - His Promises in Isaiah

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn #552                                  Abide with Me

Isaiah 40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.
18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from theLord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
God the Creator - His Promises in Isaiah
Isaiah 40:1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
We can only begin to see how God prepared His people for the Messiah when we read Isaiah, the most majestic of the prophets, teaching about the Gospel and the Messiah seven centuries or so - before the events transpired.
The second part of Isaiah is full of Gospel Promises, and they begin with these comforting words. Although God allows disastrous events and evil leaders to chasten His people, He also shows mercy, comfort, shelter, and peace.
The repetition of "comfort" is an emphasis used in Hebrew and sometimes carried over in English. The message has three parts:
  1. Her warfare is ended.
  2. Her iniquity is pardoned.
  3. She has received double for all her sins.

Those who take issue with every phrase in the Old Testament will find things to contest, but these are calming words, the basis for hope in the future. God's timing is stretched out over many centuries, many vast empires. 
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Centuries before John the Baptist fulfilled these words, they were written down, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and taught to the Jewish people. So this was embedded in the worship and culture of one group, but that spread to others. People found Judaism compelling and were drawn to it. And when the Greek version of the Old Testament was translated, the entire civilized world could read the Old Testament promises, starting around 300 years before Christ. 
Alexander the Great united the ancient world by conquering it and giving it Greek language and culture, before there was a Roman Empire. Therefore, Greek was to the ancient world what French became in our world. As many know, French was the cultured language in Russia and is the way people converse in War and Peace. French was also used in diplomacy for a long time, as a universal language. Greek was that language the entire known world for many centuries, carried forward by Rome since the Republic and the Empire honored - and copied - the language and culture.
Handel's Messiah made this passage unforgettable. Suddenly John appears on the scene, acknowledging Christ, and the Savior acknowledges the prophet as the greatest of all.
The glory of the Lord will be revealed. In how many ways?
  1. Jesus was born of a Virgin, as predicted in Isaiah 7.
  2. He was - and is - God with us - Immanuel. Isaiah 7 and 9.
  3. The angels appeared to the shepherds while the leaders were kept in the dark.
  4. Jesus appeared in the Temple as a baby and again as a young boy, in both cases creating indelible impressions on the Jewish leaders.
  5. When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended and the Father's voice was heard. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - one of hundreds of passages emphasizing what was implied throughout the Old Testament.
  6. The miracles supported the divine teaching of Christ, and the crucifixion fulfilled Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and many other Old Testament predictions.
  7. And this all took place to show us - beyond any doubt - that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead to conquer sin and death.
The great glory of God is shown in His Creation but even more so in His abundant grace through the Means of Grace. One reflects upon the other, since the Word that created the universe is also the Word that declares us righteous through faith. 

The true Gospel is knowing and believing that all this happens for the forgiveness of sin, which is the highest and best gift of all from God, and the greatest sign of His grace and mercy.

Many people have had all the power, money, and hedonism that people dream about, but they did not have the peace that passes all understanding. I like that special phrase, because the Scriptures are very strong in emphasizing believing and understanding. We can have great stores of knowledge and understanding without faith. Many do, and they more knowledge they acquire, the more arrogant they become about God's Word. They cannot grasp how someone weak and helpless, with almost nothing in the world, can have peace when they have none for themselves. 

In fact, neither can we, on our own. That requires faith in Christ. Apart from that, the greater things of life remain a great mystery.  "In Thy light do we see light." There is no truth apart from truth in Christ the Creating Word.


The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the Word of our God shall stand for ever.
The suddent advent of winter turns the lush grass, the leafy trees and bushes, the blooming roses into symbols of death. Everything changes with the first hard frost. This is not a pessimistic passage, but a realistic one. We all fade like the grass of the field, but the Word of God abides forever. 
No wonder the skeptics and dabblers want to change the Scriptures in official printings and versions, so it is temporary as the grass of the fields.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.