Tonight we sit on the precipice of Christmas 2017.
Tomorrow the day will arrive, and with it the opening of presents, the feasting of food and the regathering of family and friends.
Once again, we will experience what most people believe to be the happiest day of the year.
And why not?
Because at its core, Christmas is truly a season of great joy and worthy of triumphant celebration.
Remember? That’s what the angel said as an entire host of heavenly beings appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem!
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
But the reason for such joy wasn’t found in the exchanging of gifts, decorating of trees or the singing of songs.
No, the joy the shepherds heard about was described like this:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
This was the message of the first Christmas, and it is meant to be the message of all Christmases that would follow.
Simply put, Christmas is about the arrival of Jesus.
Now, before Jesus was born, prophets of God predicted His birth and wrote down what God had put upon their hearts.
There are several places in the OT that give us various clues about Jesus, such as:
…where He would be born,
…the lineage of His family,
…and even how His family would have to flee to Egypt to avoid being assassinated by King Herod.
But there is one section of prophecy that speaks to the various ways Jesus would minister to humanity.
It’s found in the book of Isaiah, and it reads like this:
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV): “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In this prophecy, Isaiah took time to describe two aspects of Jesus significance.
For starters, we see that Jesus definitely holds a position of power and rule.
He is truly the Lord of all things found in the universe, and the inhabitants of earth are certainly no exception.
In Colossians 1, the apostle Paul attributes Jesus sovereignty over all creation like this:
Colossians 1:16-17 (ESV): For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Now some people live and act like Jesus has no place of authority in their life.
They do their own thing and make their own choices.
They only answer to themselves.
And yet, the Bible makes another prediction about how humanity will ultimately relate to Jesus.
Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV): Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I think one of the key words in this verse is the word EVERY! Because every means EVERY!
At some point in time, all humanity will acknowledge the fact that Jesus is the One who created and rules this world!
The other thing that stands out to me in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah is how Isaiah attributes to him several titles.
So, although the Savior would arrive as an infant, He would one day grow up and fulfill His calling.
First off, Isaiah refers to Jesus as the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR.
This title refers to the idea that Jesus is able to guide and direct our lives like no one else.
And who doesn’t need some help when it comes to navigating life?
Have you ever asked Siri the question, “What is the meaning of life?”
For fun, I did a few years ago.
Her response: “I don’t know, but I think that there is an app for that.”
On a second attempt: “All evidence to suggests it is chocolate.”
Let me simply say that for all the challenges we face on earth, we will need better answers than that!
But Jesus can truly help us figure out how to live life as it was designed!
Second, Isaiah refers to Jesus as the MIGHTY GOD.
Do you know the very first question computer techs ask when people call in for support?
“Is your computer turned on?”
They know that if the computer is turned off or unplugged, nothing can make the computer run!
And…so it is with life.
So many people try to figure out life unplugged from the ultimate power source: God!
See, thhe God who is able to guide us is also the God who is able to sustain us!
With God in our life, we are able to live the life God has designed us to live!
Up next, Isaiah refers to the Savior-to-come as the EVERLASTING FATHER.
Some people can’t think beyond the next 10 minutes, let alone think about the next few years.
But the Bible tells us that we were made to live forever!
And ultimately we were meant to live life beyond this life on earth.
How good it is to now that Jesus, through his sinless life and sacrificial death on the cross, paved the way that we might find ourselves back in right relationship with our maker.
It could be said that our ultimate purpose in this world is to live eternally with God. The question is…are we ready? Has this possibility even crossed our mind?
Lastly, Isaiah identifies the coming Messiah as the PRINCE OF PEACE
This speaks to the idea that of all the great things that Messiah would accomplish, the greatest feat would be breaking down the walls that separate mankind from God.
See, the presence and practice of mankind’s sin keeps us from connecting with a holy God.
One verse in the Bible says this:
Romans 3:23 (ESV): For all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
When sin is present, there is an ongoing friction that exists between us and our creator.
Where there was once tension and hostility, Jesus came along and made it that we could become acceptable to God!
No wonder Isaiah tagged Him with the title PRINCE OF PEACE!
May I ask you this evening: Do you have this peace that Jesus offers?
The Bible describes it as a peace that surpasses all human understanding.
Perhaps you have come to a place in your life where the strain and the stress and the struggle are becoming too much, and you want to know how to find such a peace within your heart.
God’s answer to all our greatest problems and challenges is found in one name: Jesus.
Isn’t it amazing that, in one short little prophecy covering two verses, so much information can be gathered about Jesus?
- We get to learn about the breadth of His authority.
- We discover that He holds the answers to life’s deepest questions.
- We learn that Jesus, because He is God, has great power…power enough to rescue us from our sin and power enough to transform our lives.
From Isaiah 9:6 we see Jesus described as the Everlasting Father, which can serve as a source of comfort and assurance in this life, as well as in the life to come.
And finally, we learn that Jesus is called the Prince of Peace, and we realize that by coming to earth to be born, die and resurrected, Jesus won our biggest battle and removed our greatest obstacle.
Death and hostility were replaced with life and peace.
Let me ask you to imagine something really distressing for a moment.
Think about what this world would be like if Jesus never came.
If there was no manger, and with it no cross.
- What we would have is a world without hope.
- We’d have a world without meaning.
- And we’d have a world full of despair.
Aren’t you glad that isn’t the case?
The question for us to consider this Christmas Eve is this: what will we do with the Jesus God so graciously provided for us?
How we answer that question will determine just how much of Christmas we will experience!