Thursday after Populus Sion, The Second Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Jeremiah 23:2-8 (NKJV)
2 Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. 3 “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4 I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the Lord.
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
7 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”
Jeremiah the Prophet builds upon the preaching of Isaiah by pointing us once again to the Messiah, the Anointed One. The Lord Jesus, the Christ, must be born to be the High Priest that the Israelites never had. The shepherds of Israel who were supposed to feed the people of Israel with the pure Word of God have instead “scattered the flock, driven them away, and not attended to them” through their unfaithfulness and false teaching.
Therefore our Lord Jesus is born of the Virgin Mary, so that He might be the “Branch” of the “Rod from the stem of Jesse” in order to be a Shepherd—a High Priest—Who will feed them with the pure Word of God, and drive away their fears by giving them hope in a Savior. He will redeem them from sin, death, and the devil. He was born to bring mankind back into the sheepfold, so that we might be fruitful and increase in faith toward the One, True Triune God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is not only our High Priest, but He is our King. He sits on His Throne of Grace, which He earned by His perfect obedience to the Law of God and His sacrifice in our place on the tree of the holy Cross, so that He might “reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.” In other words, He grants to all of us who come to Him in contrition and faith forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation.
And the Church in grateful thanks lifts up her voice in one accord, and proclaims our Lord Jesus Christ to be “The Lord our Righteousness” for all eternity.