SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
2:32 a light,
for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 So the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “Listen carefully: This child is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. 35 Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul as well!”
36 There was also a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having been married to her husband for seven years until his death. 37 She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment, she came up to them and began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 So when Joseph and Mary had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.
41 Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 But when the feast was over, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but (because they assumed that he was in their group of travelers) they went a day’s journey. Then they began to look for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Jesus were astonished at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were overwhelmed. His mother said to him, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 49 But he replied, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them. 51 Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. But his mother kept all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and with people.
3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan River, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4 As it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one shouting in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley will be filled,
and every mountain and hill will be brought low,
and the crooked will be made straight,
and the rough ways will be made smooth,
6 and all humanity will see the salvation of God.’”
7 So John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don’t begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones! 9 Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 So the crowds were asking him, “What then should we do?” 11 John answered them, “The person who has two tunics must share with the person who has none, and the person who has food must do likewise.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He told them, “Collect no more than you are required to.” 14 Then some soldiers also asked him, “And as for us—what should we do?” He told them, “Take money from no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your pay.”
15 While the people were filled with anticipation and they all wondered whether perhaps John could be the Christ, 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one more powerful than I am is coming—I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clean out his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with inextinguishable fire.”
18 And in this way, with many other exhortations, John proclaimed good news to the people. 19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil deeds that he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked up John in prison.