John Ditty Sunday School Lesson
December 22, 2013
This is a season that radiates hope for all Christians. As the celebration of Jesus’ birth is just a few days away, we also know that it His birth that began Jesus trek to the cross and resurrection. Let’s spend a moment with the prophet Isaiah as he shares with us the coming of God’s Messiah. Some 640 years before the proclamation of the angels that our Savior was born in Bethlehem, one they called Christ the Lord (Luke 2), and 670 years before the cross, the prophet told of the wonderful role of Jesus. Isaiah spoke at a time when the people wanted to know if the future held any hope for them. He said yes by passing on a promise from God. Isaiah shared titles that would describe the character and mission of Messiah. He wrote, “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, Mighty 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” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
A walk through this passage reveals much concerning the Messiah. God first reminded humanity that the coming Messiah would come for all, “For to us” and would be sent by God. This single event made it possible for order into humanity’s life. This is summed up in the words, “and the government.” Who would argue at this point in time that bit of orderliness and security in everyday life would be a great gift.
Then Isaiah shared the names or titles which describe the Messiah, names that bring hope. First Messiah is called the “Wonderful Counselor.” What is the role of a counselor? It is to guide and give advice for living a meaningful life. Isaiah’s counselor is described as wonderful. The word defines one who is miraculous, one’s whose counsel is always spot on.
Next Isaiah’s called Messiah, “Mighty God.” Being called God is a reminder that He will be more than a wise and good man; he will be God. Again God moves the prophet to link an adjective to the name. He is mighty. Messiah will be the powerful God. The word used tells of one mighty in battle, a general who could not be defeated.
From Mighty God, the prophet told of Messiah being the “Everlasting Father.” In our day the title father is not always well received. In a time of dysfunctional families and absentee dads, the word has lost much of its luster. However, most people have an idea of what the ideal father would be like. Kind, caring, providing, a good listener, fair in discipline, loving, all words ascribed to a good dad. This one who was to come would be all those things and best of all he would never leave. Even the most perfect dads die and they are sorely missed. But this One will never go away; He is everlasting.
Finally, Messiah will be called the “Prince of Peace.” Peace. The Hebrew word is shalom. It describes more than a cessation of outward turmoil. As a matter of fact, it more accurately speaks of inward peace, tranquility, or calm based not on outward circumstances but inward security. This is the peace the Messiah offers.
Best of all the work and rule of Messiah will never end (v.7). Why? There is no one big enough or powerful enough to topple His government. We have seen all too clearly that a government is only as lasting as its ability to overcome the onslaught of an enemy. But there are none who can even offer a viable threat against the kingdom of the Messiah.
Is this all a dream? A wish? No. You see, all these names can be summed up in a single name, Jesus. The baby born, the son given, promises to be all that these titles describe. One of the consistent motifs found in the testimony of a Christian is Jesus gives the gifts described in the names. To a world filled with conflicting and misleading words, the Counselor’s words have no equal (John 14:6). His advice is always perfect. In a world that battles against the truth, that desires nothing more than to pull God from His throne, He cannot be defeated and believers are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). To a world that needs a firm but kind hand, in Jesus we find all that the Father is (John 17:20). To a world filled with chaos, to hearts in disarray, Jesus offers peace, real peace, lasting peace. Listen to His words just a few hours before He was crucified, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). And best of all, Jesus reminds us that His kingdom has come: “behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21, KJV).
In just a few days Christians around the world will, with one voice, announce that Jesus Christ was born on in Bethlehem; not long after that they will proclaim, “Jesus Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!”
I wonder what Isaiah thought when Jesus’ time to come finally came. I wonder if he sighed a sigh of relief as he watched hope go down to his world. I wonder if he smiled knowing that hope had a name greater than Counselor, Prince or Father. A name that is above every name, the only name given to humanity by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). The name is Jesus. You’ve heard His name but is your hope in His name? Do you know the Jesus Isaiah described? You can. He came so you could.