Advent Midweek 1
Christmas according to Isaiah
Part 1: The Ideal Davidic King
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Welcome to the first Midweek Advent Service. Christmas according to the Prophet Isaiah is the theme for this year’s midweek Advent Services. Isaiah lived 700 years before Jesus was born. Yet, Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ coming. Tonight the focus is on a the new King Jesus and His kingdom.
It is written in Isaiah 9: 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. 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. (Isa. 9:1-7 ESV) Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Almighty Father, Your prophet Isaiah proclaimed the coming of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, that whoever should believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life in Your government; Your kingdom. Grant an increase of Your government this Advent season and uphold us through faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Listening to Isaiah you wouldn’t know that the country of Israel was at peace with its neighboring countries Assyria and Egypt.
Listening to the prophet Isaiah you wouldn’t even guess that the country of Israel in 700 B.C. was richer and stronger on the world scene that it ever had been in its previous history.
What would you hear listening to Isaiah in 700 B.C.?
You would hear that the Lord God was preparing Assyria to invade Israel and enslave all the people. You would hear death and destruction proclaimed from the mouth of Isaiah when the king, the priests, and other the other prophets were proclaiming ‘Peace! Peace! The Lord God is on your side. All is well.’ When all was not well.
What else would you hear listening to Isaiah in 700 B.C.?
You would hear about the first Christmas; a Christmas that was 700 years in the future.
You would hear about the coming gift of God’s own Son. For to you a child is born, to you a son is given. This Child will be the head of a new government of peace; a new kingdom without strife. This Child will stand against the tyrants of affliction, darkness, and the shadow of death. The greatest of these tyrants are not physical but spiritual. The most oppressive tyrants are the Law, sin, and death.
And the government shall be upon his shoulder. The Child is the head of a new government. You are that new government. The Child carries you upon His shoulder.
The world’s kings are carried by the king’s people. For example, Caesar sits on a throne is lifted up on poles. His servants carry Caesar on their shoulders from place to place. Another example, the U.S. President sits in a bullet proof limo. His servants drive him from place to place.
Therefore, there is a difference between the manner of ruling in the kingdom of the world and in that of the kingdom of the coming Christ Child. In the kingdom of the world the prince or king alone is free, all others are servants. But in the kingdom of the coming Christ Child, Christ alone is a servant, and you, by faith in this Christ, are free.
This is Christmas according to Isaiah.
What kind of gift is this coming Christ Child?
Isaiah says the Child’s name is called Wonderful.
He is too Wonderful to grasp by our own reason and strength that we might receive Him. He is received by faith alone. We believe life, glory, righteousness, and peace. On the other hand we feel death, shame, sin, and trouble.
Isaiah says this Child’s name is called Counselor.
This Counsel is His written Word. When we fall short in matters of faith, we have His Counsel in a written text that He promises is living and active; strong to save in times of trouble. The Holy Spirit is promised to accompany this Counsel. The Holy Spirit is promised to give what you are counseled to have. The Holy Spirit is promised to accomplish for you what is written.
Isaiah says this Child’s name is called Mighty God.
The coming Child gives strength to triumph through the Word and Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Word, the coming Child both preserves all His own and overthrows all His enemies; even though it might look different according to our experience.
Isaiah says this Child’s name is called Everlasting Father.
The coming Child is not a tyrant. He never will be a tyrant. He loves His children always. This beyond doubt the most delightful government.
Finally, Isaiah says this Child’s name is called Prince of Peace.
In the kingdom of Christ there is grace, comfort, forgiveness of sins, joy, peace. He does not deal with the sinner in sternness, but as a gentle father. Faith in the Coming Christ Child is justification, and peace follows justification. This peace is not only peace of mind but also good health of the body.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom.
King David’s reign over the Jews was physical, but the coming Christ Child has now begun the spiritual reign over the people which will last forever. What is Old Testament Isaiah saying? He is saying there will be a resurrection of the dead.
Isaiah is saying the coming Christ Child will establish His government (you) and to uphold His government (you) with justice and with righteousness.
In the language of our small catechism, justice is the Law of God which condemns and righteousness is the Gospel of God which forgives breaking the Law.
In the government of the coming Christ Child the ungodly are condemned whereas the godly are justified, saved, and set free from sin and death. A government in which mercy flourishes.
700 years later, “the angel said to (a few shepherds tending their flocks at night saying), “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11); in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, will guard and protect you in body and soul through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.