To Declare His Reign
Christmas is a very dangerous message; it is not about a helpless baby but about God coming to us. The fathers of the church recognized the revolutionary nature of this day and thus it is not coincidental that the feast day associated with Christmas is St. Stephens day. Of course, Stephen (you can read this story in the book of Acts 6-7) got himself in trouble when he said Jesus was equal with God.
This one called God-with-us is further described by Isaiah with four powerful titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Last week we considered the first two of these four descriptions of Immanuel, the Wonderful Counselor and the Mighty God. Yet, there is more. For we are not only in darkness and bondage, we are also homeless. We are spiritual orphans. We need a father, and we need to know that we are loved. Immanuel is such an ‘Everlasting Father.’ Moreover, we are alienated from a holy God and we need to be reconciled. Hence, the Prince of Peace comes to bring us together with the God of heaven and earth.
All of this was still to unfold, of course, when Isaiah wrote. But long in advance of the event he detected the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas involves the birth of Jesus-Immanuel.
- He is the Wonderful Counselor, who has God’s wisdom for us in a world of darkness. Jesus said: ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). He shows us the way.
- He is the Mighty God who has the power to deliver us from our bondage. ‘If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,’ said Jesus (John 8:36). He delivers us from bondage.
- He is the Everlasting Father who can bring us into God’s family. ‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you,’ said Jesus (John 14:18). He is able to take us home into the family of the Father.
- He is the Prince of Peace who came to bear our guilt and comes to bring us shalom. Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid’ (John 14:27). He gives us peace.
Join us this week as we consider the final two descriptive titles of Immanuel from Isaiah 9:6, because he is the ‘everlasting Father’ he comes as ‘the Prince of Peace.’ It is Christmas Eve and we encourage you to invite your family and friends to join you as we celebrate the coming of Christ on this final Sunday of Advent.
Chad, Richy, and I, thank you for your kindness and generosity shown to us during this Christmas season. Your Christmas gift ministered immeasurably to our hearts and families; thank you. There is no greater pleasure for us than to serve you in Christ. One of the grandest privileges we know is being used of the Lord to lead you to become the first Reformed church in the north Jefferson area, and Lord willing, beyond. We covet your prayers as we launch out to honor the name of our Lord and to serve as your shepherds. This coming year we are trusting the Lord to provide for us a team of Ruling Elders, and perhaps particularization.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year in the name of the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria, Wayne