Welcome to ReCreate Ministry. Our mission is making and growing authentic followers of Christ. What are your favorite Christmas traditions? A lot of people look forward to putting up the tree and lights (some do this way too early, amen?). Some people love Christmas music. A lot of you like the endless marathons of Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. By the way, am I the only one who thinks every single one of these movies has the same storyline? The girl is with the wrong guy, but she gets lost in a small town, and ends up falling in love with the right guy, all right before Christmas. Isn’t that the way ALL of those movies go? Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing the lights up on people’s houses. I enjoy putting up a tree, listening to Christmas music, and going to the Candlelight service at my church. I especially love the time I get to spend with family around the holidays, but the thing that I’ve done every December for the last few years is that I read the Lord of the Rings books again. If you’ve been around me at all, you know that I’m a HUGE Tolkien fan, and every year, I try to read a few of his books that aren’t The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, but every December, I go back through the Lord of the Rings books. Now, I tell you that because we are starting a new series this week called Saga, and over the course of the next 3 weeks, we are going to be looking at the birth of Jesus. This week, our message is called The Prequel, because we are going to be going back and looking through the Old Testament at the prophecies about Jesus’ birth.
Isaiah 9:6 – 7 (NIV) says “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Now, there are 4 main points that Isaiah makes in this text, and we will get to those in a moment. Remember the Star Wars prequels? I know most of us would like to forget them, but they actually do serve a bit of a purpose, both for the Star Wars legacy, as well as for us today. If you’ve seen the movies, especially Episode 1, you remember the talk of the one who was to restore balance to the force.
Now, I promise that we are not going to spend the entire message talking about Star Wars like we did over the summer, but I wanted to talk about that for a moment, because many of the things that are told about Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels are basically right out of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 7:14 (NIV) says “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This brings me to my first point.
Why did Jesus need to be born a child? Have you ever thought about that? Wouldn’t it have been much easier for Him to come as a grown man, and spend all of His time on earth in ministry? Couldn’t He have reached more people that way? That might be true, but would He have had the impact that He had if He had come to earth simply as God, rather than being born as a baby? You see, Jesus had to be born as a baby to show His humanity, as well as His divinity. The fact that He was born to a virgin showed that He was fully God, but the fact that He came into the world as a baby showed that He was also fully man. The picture of a kingdom of peace could not be complete without the manifestation of a king. Isaiah uses words that cannot find complete fulfillment in any child of man.
In the Hebrew text, the word child actually appears first in the sentence, meaning that the emphasis is to be put there. For those of us that have kids, we can all remember the excitement when our baby was born. My daughter is 14 (going on 25), but I still remember the day she was born. I had not gotten very much sleep the night before, and would actually not get very much sleep for the next year or more, but I still remember every moment of the morning she was born. He is pointing out the humanity of the Messiah in this verse. I don’t know who said it, but there’s a quote that says “A thousand times in history has a baby become a king. But only once in history has a king become a baby.” It’s a big deal when a baby is born, but Isaiah is pointing to something more than just an ordinary baby. That brings me to my second point.
Micah 5:2 (NLT) says “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” A promise had been made to David that his dynasty was to reign forever. Prophets even before Isaiah had emphasized the establishment of the house of David, even in the days of Israel’s greatest distress. None of them mentioned a single ruler by name, but they all point to the Messiah. Psalm 45:6 (NCV) says “God, your throne will last forever and ever. You will rule your kingdom with fairness.” David knew of his promise from God, and Isaiah speaks of it again here in v. 6. The government will be on his shoulders refers to the kingly robe that will be worn by the Messiah. As King, He will be responsible to govern the nation. In Isaiah’s day, the leaders of Judah were incompetent in governing the people, but the Messiah will govern properly. Zechariah 14:9 (NLT) says “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord – his name alone will be worshiped.”
In the third Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King, the man in charge of Gondor (the most prominent city of men) is a man named Denethor. He is, however, not the king. He is a steward only, a caretaker of the throne. There has not been a king in Gondor in some time during the events of the movie.Aragorn is the rightful heir to the throne, but Denethor does not want to give up his power. Under the rule of Denethor, Gondor has lost much of it’s prominence. It’s military is weak. It’s people are struggling, and it has lost much of the respect it once had. At the end of the movie, Aragorn has led the people to victory, assumes his rightful place as king of Gondor, and returns things to the way they should be. The next point Isaiah makes is this:
Look again at the end of Isaiah 9:6 (NIV). It says “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Each of these names gives a different description of who Jesus is, and they give us incontrovertible proof that Isaiah was referring to an absolutely Divine Person. One Old Testament scholar wrote “The Deliverer whom Isaiah promises is nothing less than a God in the metaphysical sense of the word.” Let’s take a look at each name Isaiah gives to the coming Messiah, and discuss what each one means.
1. Wonderful Counselor – the Hebrew word here is actually wonder, not wonderful. Isaiah is saying that the Child will not only be wonderful, but will also be a Wonder. To sit on the throne of David as Messianic King, He will require a wisdom that no mere man could possess. All of the people will listen to Him as the authoritative One, and many will be anxious to hear Him teach. In Him, we will find amazing knowledge and wisdom unlike any before Him. He will be the Word of God and the wisdom of God, and will have no need for human counsel or advice.
2. Mighty God – The Hebrew word here is el gibbor, which literally means God-hero. Isaiah is referring to more than just someone who is god-like here. He is saying that He will do what no other person has been able to do. Isaiah is saying that the Messiah will be one who overcomes.
3. Everlasting Father – The Hebrew word here is abi ad, which means Father Eternal. This represents the relationship that He will have with His people. Some have been confused by this. Since God is One, the Messiah is God. Jesus was fully God, as well as being fully man. The term Everlasting Father describes the Messiah’s relationship to time, not to His relationship with the other members of the Trinity.
4. Prince of Peace – The Hebrew name here is sar shalom. Since the peace the Messiah offers is eternal, this name doesn’t just imply a temporary end to wars between nations. The stopping of warfare in itself does not bring about a solution to the causes of war, which is human sin. For human sin to be removed, there has to be a state of peace between God and man, and it is even more important for God to be at peace with man that it is for man to be at peace with God. The only way this could be accomplished was through Jesus. This peace is to be eternal, and the rule of the Messiah will have no end. The last point Isaiah makes in the text is this:
The coming of this millennial kingdom depends on God, not on Israel. There is one recurring phrase of interest in this prophetic text. God says “For my own sake”, or “For the sake of my name, I will do it.” The Messiah will rule because God promised it, not because of anything we have done or said. All of this is simply because God wants it. He will zealously see that His kingdom comes, and what could bring more blessedness, victory, and abundance to God’s people that the vindication of the wisdom, power, and faithfulness of God himself? C.S. Lewis said “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” Without His sovereign intervention, there would be no kingdom for Israel. If God is zealous for His own honor, then His people will surely find honor in that. Let’s thank Him for that.
We thank You for sending Your son. Lord, in this season of craziness, family, shopping, and all the other things that distract us, let us remember that Jesus is why we celebrate this season. Father, I pray for anyone who is struggling with this time of year. I pray that You would put Your loving hands on them and give them peace. Help them to know that they are not alone. Father, most of all, we thank You for sending Jesus to pay the sacrifice for our sins so that we could have a relationship with You. It’s in His Name we pray.
If you are curious to know more about Jesus, or you would like to know how you can have a relationship with Him, please reach out to us. If you are needing prayer, encouragement, or just someone to talk to, you can always reach out to us as well. Next week, we will be looking at the message that was delivered to Joseph and Mary about the coming birth of Jesus, as well as their journey to Bethlehem. We hope you will join us next week to learn more about the Christmas Story. Have a blessed week!!!!!