Advent – Isaiah 9 ~ 20111225 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
12/25 Christmas Day - Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Today is Christmas day. We celebrate Jesus! I want to look today at some of the names given to Jesus in the scriptures, so that we can understand him better and worship him more fully. But to better appreciate these names, we need to back up and get a little bit of history and background.
Isaiah and the kings of Judah
The Prophet Isaiah prophesied about 740 – 700 BC; during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Is.1:1). Uzziah (also called Azariah) was a good king who reigned for 52 years (2Ki.15:2). Isaiah chapter 6 records a vision given to Isaiah in the year that this great king died, a vision of God seated on his throne, still in control. He was succeeded by Jotham, who, like his father did what was right in the eyes of the LORD. Jotham reigned for 16 years (2Ki.15:33), and was succeeded by Ahaz. It says of Ahaz
It was during the dark days of the reign of Ahaz that Israel conspired with Syria to attack Judah and Jerusalem. It was in this dark time for Jerusalem that Isaiah was sent to Ahaz in chapter 7 and following. He gave a message of warning and coming judgment, and called the people to turn from their evil ways and fear the LORD. He called them to return to God's word. Those who will not speak according to this word are in darkness; they have no dawn.
Words of Hope
It is into this dark and dismal backdrop that God brings words of hope.
Matthew quotes this passage and says it is fulfilled in Jesus (Matt.4:12-16). To the people dwelling in deep darkness Jesus is the great light that shines, bringing joy and gladness. Isaiah has already spoken in chapter 7 of a virgin whose son would be named Immanuel – God with us. Now he speaks of a child born and a son given, who will bring peace and righteousness, whose just rule will have no end. It says of this coming king that “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Jesus was born at a dark time in history. Israel was under Roman occupation. The Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered that a census be taken, which put Mary and Joseph on the road away from home right at the time she was due to give birth. Herod was king over Judea. He was the cruel king who ordered the execution of all male children two years or younger, which drove the couple to take their young boy and seek refuge in Egypt.
It was into this dark context that Jesus was born.
Into the darkness of sin and despair comes Jesus, the Light of the World, hope of the nations, the one whose “name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” As we take each of these names in turn, may our hearts be stirred to worship the God-man Jesus.
Jesus is Wonderful Counselor
His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor. Jesus is Wonderful. Have you lost the wonder of the season? Do you spent much energy trying to recapture that missing sense of wonder? You can regain that sense of wonder as we look to Jesus, the Wonderful One. He is a child born and a Son given. Jesus, Mighty God from all eternity, became a child. He was born of a virgin. He became human. A baby. A child born. But he was also a Son given. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. Jesus, God from all eternity, very God of very God, co-eternal and equal with his Father, the only Son of God; God the Son, was given – the supreme gift to mankind. Wonder of wonders, the incarnation! Gift above all gifts! Look to Jesus in wonder, awe, and worship!
Jesus is Wonderful Counselor. Listen to what his followers said about him:
Listen to what the people said about him:
Listen to what even his enemies said about him:
Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, full of grace and truth, spoke with a wisdom greater than Solomon's (Mt.12:42; Lk.11:31).
The question for you today; is he your Counselor? Jesus said:
You cannot call him your Wonderful Counselor if you are not willing to listen to what he says and to do what he tells you to do.
Jesus is Mighty God
His name shall be called Mighty God. Jesus is Mighty God – God the Hero, God the mighty warrior, victorious in battle, conquering all enemies. Jesus is Mighty God, and he is to be feared. When Jesus controlled the raging sea with his word, his disciples:
Peter, in response to Jesus' power over his creation:
Thomas in response to the resurrected Lord:
When John saw the risen Jesus in all his glory, he fell at his feet as though dead (Rev.1:17).
Isaiah speaks of Jesus this way:
Paul describes the end times and the ultimate enemy,
Paul speaks of a time:
Our Mighty God Jesus is to be feared. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Jesus is the perfect consummation of all the epic good guy heroes in the violent movies that we love to cheer on, except Jesus doesn't lie or cheat or steal or use foul language to triumph over evil, bring justice and crush the bad guys.
Jesus is God, the Mighty God, he is to be worshiped and feared.
Jesus is Everlasting Father
His name shall be called Everlasting Father. Jesus is Everlasting Father. That may sound strange to our ears, but that is what the text says. This could be translated 'the Father of Eternity'. Jesus is equal to and one with the Father, but distinct from the Father. In the Trinity, Jesus is not the Father. Jesus is the Son. But in relation to his creation, he is the one who brought all things into existence.
All things that had a beginning began in him.
He is Everlasting Father. He is eternal, without beginning or end.
Jesus is consistent. He is provider. He loves. He disciplines. He trains and instructs. He keeps his promises. He is genuinely interested in us. Jesus fulfills the role of father perfectly. He is Father to the fatherless. His love will never fail.
Jesus is Prince of Peace
His name shall be called the Prince of Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
The song of the angels was:
But Jesus said:
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, demands our allegiance above any other natural affection. The peace that Jesus brings is higher and deeper and richer than mere peace with other people. The peace that Jesus gives us is most importantly peace with God.
Jesus' death on the cross conquers our rebellious hearts that are opposed to God, and restores our broken fellowship.
The peace that Christ brings is first of all peace, a restored relationship, friendship with God. He satisfied on the cross the just wrath of the Father against our sin, so we can be reconciled, restored to right relationship with the Father. This right relationship is ours by faith – believing him; trusting him; depending on him.
Friends, this is the good news of Christmas! Jesus came to deal with your sin problem so that your relationship with your Creator can be restored to what it was designed to be!
Jesus, Prince of Peace brings first of all peace with God. No other peace matters if you are not at peace with the Judge of all the earth.
First, peace with God. Then, with a right relationship with the King of the universe in place, peace in the midst of our circumstances. We can rejoice in our relationship with the Lord,
We can face any circumstance with peace, knowing that the Prince of Peace, Jesus, holds us in his eternal omnipotent hands.
Today, let us worship Jesus, who is our Wonderful Counselor. Jesus, who is Mighty God. Jesus, who is Everlasting Father. Jesus, who is Prince of Peace.