Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord anointed me
To bring good news to the humble;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The cloak of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up the former devastations;
And they will repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
8 For I, the Lord, love justice,
I hate robbery in the burnt offering;
And I will faithfully give them their reward,
And make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants in the midst of the peoples.
All who see them will recognize them
Because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed.
10 I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a groom puts on a turban,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth produces its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations.
126 When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us;
We are joyful.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
As the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears shall harvest with joyful shouting.
6 One who goes here and there weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit, 20 do not utterly reject prophecies, 21 but examine everything; hold firmly to that which is good, 22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will do it.
John 1:6-8: 19-26
6 A man came, one sent from God, and his name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny; and this is what he confessed: “I am not the Christ.” 21 And so they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Tell us, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one calling out in the wilderness, ‘Make the way of the Lord straight,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
24 And the messengers had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 It is He who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing people.