Monday after Rorate coeli, The Fourth Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” Says your God. 2 “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; 5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
9 O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
10 Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him. 11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.
Isaiah reminds us what sort of Lord we have there in the manger. In spite of His appearance as a lowly infant, He is far more than meets the eye. Isaiah says the “Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand.” The Infant born of Mary is the Lord Himself Who comes to save His people from their sins. The Child appears empty-handed, for no one brings anything with them when they come into the world. Yet Isaiah says, “Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” The Child brings a reward with Him which He will bestow on all who put their trust in His work. His work is before Him. He comes with the purpose of disarming the devil and evicting the evil foe from the hearts of men by atoning for men’s sins and bestowing the blessings of that atonement to all who believe that Christ’s righteousness is theirs by the Holy Ghost.
The babe in a manger, adored by shepherds, is Himself the Good Shepherd Who will lay His life down for the sheep. The prophet writes, “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” The Child appears as none of these to the eyes of flesh. The eyes of faith see the Child in the manger for what He truly is, our Good Shepherd here to feed us with His word, bear us in His arms, and carry away our sins so that He might lead us into the blessed pastures of everlasting life.
Lord God, give us, we pray, eyes of faith to see the Christ Child as our Good Shepherd. Amen.