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Grace Changes Everything

Redeemer Presbyterian

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Deliverance from Bondage

In a day not dissimilar from our own the prophet Isaiah announced that Immanuel would come 7:14. It is easy for us to lose sight of the fact that Immanuel, ‘God with us’, was one of the most familiar and important convictions of the Older Testament. It lay at the heart of the promise God gave to Jacob; and it was a key to help Moses to understand the significance of God’s name YHWH– he would be God-with-him. Think of the comfort of which David speaks in probably the most famous words in the OT, perhaps in the whole Bible: Psalms 23:4; 46:7; Isaiah 41:10.

So why was Isaiah’s prophecy so remarkable? Because he said that his prophecy was going to be fulfilled in a child. The promise points forward to the day when ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ For he is Immanuel – God with us. Isaiah indicated that the child Immanuel would be conceived in the womb of a virgin. This was the promise Matthew said was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus – Matthew 1:23.

But who was this child, Immanuel, to be? Isaiah himself must have wondered. Neither he nor his fellow writing prophets knew exactly how their prophecies would be fulfilled. Rather, long before the wise men were searching for Christ the prophets were doing the same:

“The prophets…searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” (1 Peter 1:10-11).

Was it in response to Isaiah’s quest for more light that the Lord soon revealed additional ways to pronounce Immanuel? He later spells it out for us by means of four names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6.

But now Isaiah sees this child appear against a very dark backcloth indeed: People peering through the gloom as they walk in darkness, bowed beneath a heavy yoke, beaten by an oppressor’s rod, haunted by the sound of the marching boots of enemy warriors; yet deliverance comes: Isaiah 9:2, 4-6.

As his prophecies unfolded, it became clearer to Isaiah that his vision of the people’s geographical exile and bondage in Babylon was only the outer shell of a deeper exile and bondage in sin. For this no political deliverer could possibly be adequate. Deliverance from the guilt and power of sin requires that someone make atonement for it.

So Isaiah caught sight of the coming Immanuel: Jesus Immanuel is the light of the world who penetrates the darkness. He provides everything we need for our salvation. He does so because he exercises a four-fold ministry as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He is all of these things, all of the time, for all of the people. Isaiah knew much less about him than we now do. Yet he understood that what he would do tells us a great deal about what we most need.

This week, join us for the third week of Advent as we consider the first two names of Immanuel in Isaiah 9:6: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. Why don’t you bring someone with you? Will you pray for our service this Lord’s Day? I anticipate singing the songs of Advent with you as we focus on the theme of joy. The Lord be with you.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
,
Wayne

Don’t forget to bring your gift this Sunday and join our women’s ministry in their Christmas mission effort. Our ladies have sponsored a young girl from the north Jefferson county area and are providing Christmas gifts for her. You can help share the hope of Christ by joining in this endeavor. If you have questions you can contact Elizabeth Byrd for further details. Thank you for your willingness to give.