All praise, eternal Son, to Thee Whose advent sets Thy people free. Whom with the Father we adore And Holy Spirit evermore. (LSB 344 St. 5)





second sunday in advent

Sermon Starter

The great temptation in the Gospel for this Sunday is to focus on John rather than Jesus Christ. For at first reading, it certainly seems that John is the main character in this text. And in a sense he is. But in reality John was simply the best supporting actor, if you will. He had a unique and special role to play in the salvation of the world. So as we examine what Mark tells us about John and his ministry, we don’t want to lose our focus on the real star of the show, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Indeed, as we read about John, we find him totally focused on Jesus as the Savior of the world.

So it is that as Mark, writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, begins his account of the gospel, he doesn’t start with Jesus’ birth as do Matthew and Luke. Rather, he starts with the ministry of John. And even at that, he first refers to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning John. Isaiah, also writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, had prophesied that one would precede the promised Savior to prepare His way. And this would be quite proper for it was customary for a dignitary, especially royalty, to have a front man go on ahead to make the necessary preparations. The same thing happens today. Whenever the President of the United States travels, a number of Secret Service agents and others go ahead to make sure that everything is safe and that all the necessary arrangements have been made. Details regarding transportation, lodging, meals, safety, crowd control and of course photo opportunities must be attended to. So it is that when the King of kings should come, advance preparations needed to be made.

Now just what were these preparations to be? Isaiah tells us this forerunner would proclaim: … Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain (Isaiah 40:3-4).

Collect of the Day

Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.