PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Advent: Names of Jesus from Isaiah 9

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20111225_advent-isaiah9.mp3

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

2 Kings 16:2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, 3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

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.

Isaiah 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Words of Hope

It is into this dark and dismal backdrop that God brings words of hope.

Isaiah 9:1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 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. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

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.

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

John says

John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world

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:

John 6:68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Listen to what the people said about him:

Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

Mark 7:37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Luke 4:22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth… 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

Listen to what even his enemies said about him:

Matthew 22:46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Luke 20:26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. …39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

John 7:45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”

Jesus, Wonderful Counselor, full of grace and truth, spoke with a wisdom greater than Solomon’s (Mt.12:42; Lk.11:31).

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”

The question for you today; is he your Counselor? Jesus said:

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

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.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

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:

Mark 4:41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Peter, in response to Jesus’ power over his creation:

Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Thomas in response to the resurrected Lord:

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

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:

Isaiah 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Paul describes the end times and the ultimate enemy,

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Paul speaks of a time:

2 Thessalonians 1:7 … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

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.

Colossians 1:16 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.

All things that had a beginning began in him.

He is Everlasting Father. He is eternal, without beginning or end.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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:

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

But Jesus said:

Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter–in–law against her mother–in–law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

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.

Romans 5:10 …while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…

Jesus’ death on the cross conquers our rebellious hearts that are opposed to God, and restores our broken fellowship.

Colossians 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

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.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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!

Acts 10:36 … preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),

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.

Jesus said:

John 14:27 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.

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,

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We can face any circumstance with peace, knowing that the Prince of Peace, Jesus, holds us in his eternal omnipotent hands.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Response

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. 

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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December 27, 2011 - Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , ,

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