Merry Christmas family!
Last year I opened with these words which remain true...
“It has been quite a year with many uncertainties but through it all the Lord has been unchangingly faithful and gracious to us all.
As we come together tonight we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ who made it possible for everyone of us to receive God’s grace as a display of His faithfulness to His own promises.”
We come tonight to celebrate that God put on flesh and came as a man to identify with us, to teach us the word and heart of God, to display the pure agape love of God, to pay for our sin with His righteous blood which was shed on the cross, to rise again on the 3rd day out of that borrowed tomb, a resurrection which proved that all He said and did was true, He then ascended back to heaven and asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within each person who believes upon Him for salvation and He promises to return for us again so that we can spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Let’s read those familiar passages that tell of His birth and then I want to look at what His promised birth means for us today.
The Story of His birth
The announcement to Joseph
The announcement to Mary
Jesus = Jehovah is Salvation
Just as it was said to Joseph
This Jesus who is the Savior of the world was promised to come during a tremendously difficult time in the history of God’s people as so many horrible tragic events were taking place and as so many people were straying away from God.
The promise was spoken by God through the prophet Isaiah and is no doubt familiar from the cards we get in the mail this time of year.
During a time of great fear and loss of hope God sent Isaiah to speak to king Ahaz about the eventual plan of God to do more than save His people from the current calamity, but to bring an everlasting eternal cure for the problems of humanity.
Here’s what God said...
Immanuel = God with us
When Jesus came humbly as a baby in human flesh, yet He was also fully God...
While it is true that we celebrate the birth of Jesus tonight as He came in the flesh we need to know that Jesus has no beginning and will have no end.
He was not created, the Bible actually says Jesus Himself was involved in the creation of all things…
Which is why we read in John’s gospel account
I told you earlier that I wanted to talk about what the birth of Jesus means for us today.
What does it mean to have one given to us who is both man and God?
The answer is found in one last prophecy of God given through Isaiah the prophet that again you have probably seen on Christmas cards...
Government upon his shoulder - He is the King of kings and Lord of lords and as the eternal One who was born (given) for us, who died in our place to pay for our sin and purchase a place for us in God’s heaven, He will rule for eternity and we will be in His perfect presence if we have placed our faith in His free gift of salvation afforded to us because of His shed blood on the cross for us.
As we look at these unique titles given for Jesus it is important to understand that the first 3 Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty Go, and Everlasting Father are title that are reserved exclusively for God and would be understood by the original Jewish audience as being title that could only be used for God.
Wonderful Counselor = The word used for Wonderful in our English is the Hebrew word Pele and is a word used exclusively for God.
Jesus who came in the flesh as a brand new baby was also God who came in the flesh and as such is our Wonderful Counselor.
That means that with all the crazy, confusing, trying things that continue to come our way, He is the one that we can go to for wonderful Godly council (advice), and He will spend the time with us speaking to us and giving us that much needed council that is necessary to navigate these increasingly confusing days that may bring us fear, worry, sorrow, wonder, or what ever other response we have.
You see, even as the days continue to change, our God is unchanging and unfazed by what goes on all around us.
Mighty God = Almighty God
There is non more mighty than God.
No world leader, no dark forces of evil, nothing is greater or more mighty than our Jesus who existed before time and yet was humbly born for us through Mary when she was still a virgin.
Everlasting Father = Eternal Father
The idea here in the Hebrew is that this One who was born to Mary and Joseph is also the Father of Eternity, the very source of eternal/everlasting life, just as He said to Nicodemus...
Prince of Peace = Ruler of Peace.
This again is the only title on this list that can also refer to the title of a man as well as God.
In the OT the Hebrew word is Shalom.
Shalom has a larger meaning than merely a lack of conflict or war.
Shalom (Peace) has the broader idea of being whole or complete.
Let me tell you something family, Peace is something that is solely the work of God in our lives.
There are things a person can do to have momentary bouts of peace, but only God can bring a constant peace to us that begins now and will continue throughout eternity.