Lessons                                                                       Bread of Life                                                      12 December 2020

Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11

1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

          because the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,

          and the day of vengeance of our God;

          to comfort all who mourn;

3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress

          instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of

          a faint spirit;

that they may be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the Lord,

          that he may be glorified.

4They shall build up the ancient ruins;

          they shall raise up the former devastations;

they shall repair the ruined cities,

          the devastations of many generations. . . .

8For I the Lord love justice;

          I hate robbery and wrong;

I will faithfully give them their recompense,

and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9Their offspring shall be known

among the nations,

and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;

all who see them shall acknowledge them,

that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;

          my soul shall exult in my God,

for he has clothed me with the

garments of salvation;

he has covered me with the

          robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,

          and as a bride adorns herself

          with her jewels.

11For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,

and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,

so the Lord God will cause

righteousness and praise

          to sprout up before all the nations.


Psalm 126

1When the Lord restored the fortunes of | Zion,*

          we were like | those who dream.

2Then our mouth was filled with | laughter,*

          and our tongue with | shouts of joy;

then they said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great | things for them.”*

3The Lord has done great things for us; | we are glad.

4Restore our fortunes, | O Lord,*

          like streams in the | Negeb!

5Those who | sow in tears*

          shall reap with | shouts of joy!

6He who goes out weeping,

          bearing the seed for | sowing,*

shall come home with shouts of joy,

          bringing his | sheaves with him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16–24

          16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

          23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

John 1:6–8, 19–28

          6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. . . .

          19This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

          24(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.