Wednesday Readings: Reflection on the First Sunday after Epiphany (Year A : Epiphany 1.7)

Hebrew Scripture: Isaiah 51:1-16

Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

Listen to me, my people, and give heed to me, my nation; for a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples. I will bring near my deliverance swiftly, my salvation has gone out and my arms will rule the peoples; the coastlands wait for me, and for my arm they hope. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be forever, and my deliverance will never be ended. Listen to me, you who know righteousness, you people who have my teaching in your hearts; do not fear the reproach of others, and do not be dismayed when they revile you. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my deliverance will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago! Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to cross over? So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. I, I am he who comforts you; why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die, a human being who fades like grass? You have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. You fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction. But where is the fury of the oppressor? The oppressed shall speedily be released; they shall not die and go down to the Pit, nor shall they lack bread. For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. I have put my words in your mouth, and hidden you in the shadow of my hand, stretching out the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “You are my people.”

Psalm 89:5-18

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.

For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?

O Lord God of hosts, who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.

You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.

You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.

The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.

The north and the south—you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.

You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.

For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.

For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 12:15-21

When Jesus became aware of this [that the Pharisees were conspiring to destroy him], he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved,
with whom my soul is well pleased.

I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.

He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

The quotation is Isaiah 42:1.

Year A Epiphany 1 Wednesday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1985 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Image Credit: Crowds Gather as Jesus Heals the Sick by Thomas Philbrown, via Wikimedia Commonslicensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 license.

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