Sunday, Dec 22, 2019: Scripture Readings – Advent 4


Old Testament: Isaiah (7:10-16)


Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”


  • Typically the fourth Sunday in Advent is one for getting ready for Christmas.
  • These verses were written around 735 BCE – the Assyrian empire was the dominant power.
  • Judah (southern part of the greater Israel) is under attack from three nations.
  • The child who will come as a great new leader was probably Hezekiah.
  • The enemies will be gone.




The Response: Psalm (80:1-7, 16-18)


1  Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph   like a flock; *

     shine forth, you that are enthroned upon      the cherubim.

2  In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, *

   stir up your strength and come to help us.

3  Restore us, O God of hosts; *

    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

4  O Lord God of hosts, *

    how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?

5  You have fed them with the bread of tears; *

    you have given them bowls of tears to drink.

6  You have made us the derision of our neighbors, *

    and our enemies laugh us to scorn.

7  Restore us, O God of hosts; *

    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

16  Let your hand be upon the man of your  right hand, *

      the son of man you have made so strong for yourself.

17  And so will we never turn away from you; *

      give us life, that we may call upon your Name.

18  Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; *

     show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.


  • Call for deliverance — restore as we were in the past.
  • Written from the northern kingdom of Israel.
  • The last verses probably refer to all of Israel (Israel in the north and Judah in the south).




The New Testament: Romans (1:1-7)


Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.  To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


  • Paul is in Asia Minor and never met the people in Rome.
  • He wrote primarily to the Gentiles to unite in Jesus Christ.
  • He introduces himself to Rome so they know his beliefs.




The Gospel: Matthew (1:18-25)


Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.


  • Closest to a birth story of Jesus in Matthew’s writings.
  • In Luke, Mary is the key figure and in Matthew Joseph is the key figure.
  • Back then a young girl got engaged at a very young age.
  • They were considered married even if the girl still lived with her parents.
  • There was one Holy Spirit of God — no Trinity back then.
  • Joseph was going to dismiss Mary until a messenger appeared to him in a dream
  • Jacob was also a dreamer.
  • Joseph had five different dreams.
  • He was also a descendant of David.
  • He becomes a legitimate son when Joseph names him Jesus.
  • Jesus also becomes a descendant of David at that time.