Text: Isaiah 52:7–10
Theme: The Lord Has Bared His Holy Arm
Other Lessons: Psalm 2; Hebrews 1:1–6 (7–12); John 1:1–14 (15–18)
A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 384:1 Of the Father’s Love Begotten
Of the Father’s love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see
Evermore and evermore. Amen.
A. “The Lord has bared his holy arm” (Isaiah 52:10).
1. He has revealed His Son, Jesus, to the world!
B. Matthias Flacius Illyricus (a defender of Luther’s teaching in the
sixteenth century) says that in the Scriptures “arm” means the following:
1. First, since men have their strength and instrument of actions in their
arms, therefore by metaphor this word is transferred to all power, might,
resources, and glory, as in Psalm 44[:3]: “Nor did their own arm save them
but your right hand and your arm.” Job 35[:9, Vulgate]: “Because of the
strength of the arm of tyrants,” that is, because of their power.
A. Thus it is predicted that that arm of the wicked shall be broken (Job
31[:22]; 38[:15]; Psalm 10[:15]).
B. Psalm 37[:17]: “The arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord
upholds the righteous.”
C. It is understood in this way in Jeremiah 48[:25]; Ezekiel 30[:21–22];
Zechariah 11[:17], where the arm is said to be withered.
D. Moreover, in Isaiah 33[:2] the prophet prays: “Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble,” that is, our Helper and Strengthener.
2. Second, in the same way Scripture uses the word “arm” about God’s power,
as in Job 40[:9]: “Have you an arm like God?”
A. And Psalm 89[:13]: “You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high
your right hand.”
B. That is, his arm is strong.
C. And in the greatness or the extending of his arm, it says that God frees
either the godly or the wicked (Exodus 15[:16]; Psalm 77[:15]; 79[:11];
D. Psalm 136[:12]: “With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,” because
warriors when fighting, or even others when in hard labor, bare their arms,
both to remove the impediments of the clothing and to be less hot, or
rather, to be cooled.
E. It is found in this way in Jeremiah 32[:17, 21]; Ezekiel 4[:7]; 1 Kings
F. In the aforementioned passage of Ezekiel it says: “with your arm bared,
and you shall prophesy against” Jerusalem, that is, like a strong, hot
warrior you shall fight against Jerusalem with your sermons.
3. Third, because the chief power of God for destroying the kingdom of
Satan is his incarnate Son, through whom also he made the world, the “arm
of God” is used for the Messiah himself (Isaiah 51–53; 59; 63).
A. You can also take the words of the blessed Virgin in this way as being
about the Messiah: “He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered
the proud in the thoughts of their hearts” [Luke 1:51], that is, through
the Messiah he will destroy the kingdom of Satan and will free his people.
(Matthias Flacius, Clavis Scriptvrae S. seu de Sermone Sacrarum literarum,
vol. 1 [Basel: Episcopius, 1580], 90–91. Translation by Benjamin T. G.
C. When we hear today’s Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 52, we should see
it fulfilled in the Christmas story.
1. Angels from on high, like messengers upon the mountains, have sung to
A. bringing good news,
B. proclaiming peace,
C. bringing good news of happiness,
D. proclaiming salvation,
E. saying “Your God reigns.”
F. Maybe they didn’t say those exact words, but they indeed said:
1. “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ
the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
G. Shepherds (the first missionaries) proclaimed this to friends and
family, running off to tell everyone what they saw:
1. the sign of the Christ Child wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a
2. “Your God reigns. . . . The Lord has bared his holy arm” (verses 7, 10).
1. rejoice in mind and voice;
2. rejoice by means not of leisure, pleasures, and new diversions,
3. rejoice by living in peace
4. rejoice by bringing the good news of Christmas to others.
E. Today, you are invited to learn about the Arm of the Lord, so that your
true, godly Christmas joy may be increased. For True Christmas Joy Comes
from the Salvation That God Has Worked by His Holy Arm.
1. What does the “arm” mean in Scripture?
A. Besides the obvious meaning, it is also a symbol for a person’s strength.
1. A man’s arm is:
A. his strength,
B. his power,
C. his ability to accomplish deeds and to labor.
A. An arm is part of the body.
B. It is one with the body, but is also a distinct part, and by means of it
we do most of our deeds.
C. A warrior uses his arm to fight.
D. A laborer uses his arm to fix things, move things, and produce things.
B. The Jews saw God’s merciful power when he brought them back from
captivity in Babylon.
1. When they came back from Babylon, they knew that the Lord had “bared his
holy arm before the eyes of all the nations” (verse 10).
2. That is, he showed them his power.
2. So then, what is God’s Arm, his Arm with a capital A?
A. The Arm is of one substance with God: “at the Father’s side,” as is an
arm to a man (John 1:18).
B. The Arm is a person distinct from God the Father:
1. “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?” (Isaiah 51:9).
C. The Arm is the Son of God, who became man, the Son of God Incarnate.
1. Wondrously, the Arm of the Lord is “bared” by putting on our human
nature (verse 10).
2. This comes right before the fourth Servant Song (Isaiah 52:13–53:12):
A. The Arm is the one who grew up as a young plant.
B. The Arm who is the Suffering Servant (cf 53:1–2).
3. The Trinity is proclaimed in the Old Testament. God invites you and all
people at all times to marvel in the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
3. Now, what God does with his Arm is all-important.
A. The Arm of the Lord returns to Zion (verse 8). That is, he takes up
residence with his people.
1. “But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth?” (2 Chronicles 6:18).
2. Yes! “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
3. Yes, indeed! “Behold, the dwelling place [tabernacle] of God is with
man. He will dwell with them” (Revelation 21:3).
B. The Arm of the Lord works salvation (verse 10).
1. Salvation means rescue or deliverance from all the evils that afflict us.
A. For the Jews, Isaiah prophesied that God would bring them back to
Jerusalem and reestablish his presence among them in the temple.
1. This was a salvation not just from bodily hardships but from God’s wrath
B. Through the Arm of the Lord, our Lord Jesus, God delivers us:
1. from death,
2. from slavery to sin;
3. from His wrath at sin itself.
2. Salvation also means:
A. the possession of health and wholeness,
B. the enjoyment of all truly good things.
C. When the Arm of the Lord works salvation, he also brings us close to
himself, so that freed from everything bad, we may enjoy every truly good
gift by being in close communion and fellowship with him.
C. The Arm of the Lord restores his kingdom.
1. “Your God reigns” (verse 7).
A. The Arm is the one through whom the Lord destroys Satan’s kingdom and
establishes his own kingdom.
2. On the cross, Jesus would be proclaimed as the “King of the Jews” and
crowned with thorns.
3. Marvelously, through his death and resurrection and the sending of the
Spirit, he sets up his kingdom in your heart and among his people, the
D. The Arm of the Lord God reveals himself through preaching:
1. “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (53:1).
A. Dearly loved children of God, “The Lord has bared his holy arm” (v 10).
1. He has revealed his Son, Jesus, to the world!
2. Take heart! God’s Arm is not the sheer, unpredictable power of divinity.
3. Rather, God’s Arm has become man, your Brother.
4. By the incarnation, God shows his great love for mankind, and for you in
B. With such a great Giver and gift, should he not be your chief joy?
1. God wants to be the ultimate source of your joy.
2. May He grant us His Spirit so that the joys of this day will be not in
the things and food and drink and parties and events of the season, but
that all these things would point us to himself, the lasting source of all
joy, the Lord’s holy Arm, bared for all the ends of the earth to see. Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 384:5 Of the Father’s love begotten
Christ, to Thee, with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore. Amen.
Text: Public domain
D. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.