Pictures of God This Christmas
Pictures of God This Christmas (Isaiah 9:1-7)
INTRODUCTION: Queen Elizabeth II
The song was written by Pastor Jack Hayford. He relates how he came to write this song (Majesty) and his interpretation:
In 1977, my wife and I were traveling through Great Britain, from Wales to Scotland. It was the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, and symbols of this event were everywhere.
Pastor Hayford began to reflect on the fact that the provisions of Christ are not just forgiveness, but a restoration to a royal relationship with God, as sons and daughters of the Heavenly Majesty.
Majesty describes the regal, royal nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, not just a simple, objective statement of worship. But it is also the fact that when we recognize our relationship to Jesus – one of which we are a child of a royal king, we are rescued from death and free to have victory in every part of our lives.
However, many people don’t feel like worshiping a king at Christmas. Many people can feel distressed during Christmastime.
(9:1) – Even though we are distressed, God brings gifts this Christmas.
Here is these verses, Isaiah uses many pictures to convey the fact that God is going to build community, provide sanctuary, but also display his majesty. Now when we talk about majesty, we do not mean this majesty.
We mean the majesty or glory or royal honor of God. Isaiah reveals to us many pictures that convey this fact:
GOD PROVIDES US PRESENTS BECAUSE HE HAS THE POWER
Why can God give you these gifts? Because God has the power to do so. (9:6)
These verses are a worshipful expression of the presence and power of God in our lives.
God gives us His PRESENCE which are like PRESENTS.
(9:6-7) God had the power to bring Jesus. He has the power to give Jesus all authority. If He can do such big things, then he can certainly provide these gifts to you.
This is a two-fold prophecy. By that, I mean that the prophecy was partially fulfilled when Jesus was born.
Unto us a child is born. – This notes Jesus and His humanity.
Unto us a Son is given. – This notes Jesus and His deity.
This was fulfilled when Jesus came to the world in Bethlehem during His FIRST COMING.
And the government shall rest on His shoulders. – This describes a physical authority that Jesus will have when He returns, during His SECOND COMING. Then Isaiah says that Jesus will acquire four titles. Following the titles, Isaiah prophecies that Jesus will have a government that will never end.
No one will be able to conquer Jesus’s rule. No one will overthrow His government. No one will take away His crown. Why? Because He has already received the authority. He has already received people who will join His kingdom.
What might such a government look like? First of all, it would look like its king. Politicians of this day look for what they can get from you. Jesus looks for what He can do for you.
Leaders of this day surround themselves with servants. Jesus surrounds us with His servanthood. Leaders of this day use their power to build their empire. Jesus uses his power to wash our feet and make us clean and comfortable. Leaders of this day trade their influence for money. God so loved that he gave . . .
Generals of this day need regular wars to keep their weapons and skills up to date and insure their own advancement. Jesus brings peace and rest to hearts.
The higher the plane of importance one reaches in this world, the more inaccessible he becomes. Jesus was Emanuel, “God with us.”
Leaders of this day are desperate to be seen and heard. Jesus sought anonymity so He could be useful.
Obviously, Jesus is not in charge of the halls of Washington, London, Moscow, Baghdad, Paris or Bonn. So, how can we ever believe the “government will be upon His shoulders”? Actually, His government shows its workings in wonderful ways. Whenever I see someone who miraculously leaves a life of drugs or alcohol and is restored to his family and work, I can see that he is now governed by God.
Whenever I see loving Christians gently caring for orphans and those rejected by family, I know I am watching people governed by God. Whenever I see people eagerly learning the Bible and joyously praising, I know who the governor is. Whenever I see people give up lucrative careers simply to go and share the Good News of Jesus, I know they are governed by God. When I see pastors carefully teach and lead the flock God has given them, I know they are getting signals from the great King. When I see people leave the family to live and teach in distant lands because they love the people who have not heard, I know they are governed by God.
So, indeed, the government is alive and working. Often silently, mostly unseen. We can be and are, by choice, governed by God. Hope and joy and peace and rest cover its subjects. Justice, mercy and grace, amazingly coexist. I like this Kingdom. The borders are open. Come on in.
So Jesus loved us, and continues to love us. Look at the names that God gives Jesus.
Most scholars look at these names and see that they apply to Jesus. The disagreement comes in the names themselves. Are there four pairs of names, or is each word a separate name for Jesus? I would suggest that since in Hebrew most phrases are used in a parallel form, that the names here are just four. I think we can use pictures to describe how Jesus gives gifts to us this Christmas. I would also submit to you that although the overall theme in these verses is the nature of a peaceful kingdom over which Jesus would rule. However, Jesus rules this kingdom not as a dictator, and not as a typical monarch – like Queen Elizabeth. Jesus rules His kingdom by His love. The same love that He gave on the cross, Jesus will share again in His earthly kingdom.
His name is Wonderful Counselor…
PICTURE: Jesus is your Great Pharmacist
This takes care of the decisions of life. A pharmacist advises you on the medicine you need to keep you healthy. He dispenses medicine in the correct dosage so that you can overcome the medical difficulty that you have encountered. Jesus is the not just the Great Physician, He is the Great Pharmacist. He dispenses advice through His word and His Holy Spirit. Jesus even said that the Holy Spirit will tell His words and make them plain to you. Jesus also acts a protector, or advocate. An advocate is someone who acts on your behalf. In today’s world, that usually means a lawyer. However, when we apply the idea of an advocate to Jesus, it is more than just a lawyer, He is the ultimate Counselor. A counselor is someone who advises, and helps you make your plans. Just like a counselor in the medical profession helps you to make good decisions, Jesus can help you make your life decisions. When you decide to marry, to move, to make up for a problem, or to mature in your life, you can ask Jesus for advice. His office is always open, and He has a waiting ear.
His name is Mighty God…
PICTURE: Jesus as your Superman
This takes care of the demands of life. And life is demanding! Sometimes we feel like giving up; but through Jesus Christ we can have the strength that we need to continue, and to conquer.
His name is Everlasting Father…
PICTURE: Jesus as your Caretaker
This takes care of the dimensions of life. We can become a part of eternity!!! A whole new dimension of living can be ours through Jesus Christ, when the government of our lives is upon His shoulders.
In the world today, many fathers leave their children, never to take care of them. Take for example, this story:
Consider Lindsay, for example. His father, a distant and severe man, worked him especially hard during the holidays. Lindsay was given extra chores at the family ranch, and his old man whipped him if he didn’t work hard enough. Lindsay lived in fear of these beatings, which often drew blood.
But even worse were the verbal floggings, the names, the insults, the belittling put-downs. They seemed especially harsh at Christmas.
The memories stayed with him all his life, tormenting him like demons every December. One friend said, “Lindsay was never able to find happiness. He became a hard-drinking hell-raiser who went from woman to woman and couldn’t find peace or success.”
Finally, at age fifty-one, he angrily watched Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” one last time, then put a gun to his head and a bullet through his brain. “I hated Christmas because of Pop, and I always will,” he once said. “It brings back the pain and fear I suffered as a child. And if I ever do myself in, it will be at Christmastime. That will show the world what I think of Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas.’ ”
Ironically, sadly, he was Bing’s son—Lindsay Crosby.
His name is Prince of Peace…
PICTURE: Jesus as your Peacemaker
This takes care of the disturbances of life. How we long for lasting peace within! What we wouldn’t give for the secret of poise and confidence in a threatening world! The answer is none other than, Jesus! He is the Prince of Peace, and when He controls the government of your life, He gives you Peace, for He gives you Himself.
Jesus does all this so that I can share His love.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13, CHRISTMAS VERSION.
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
Strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
But do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen,
Baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
Preparing gourmet meals
And arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime,
But do not show love to my family,
I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen,
Carol in the nursing home
And give all that I have to charity,
But do not show love to my family,
It profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
And crocheted snowflakes,
Attend a myriad of holiday parties
And sing in the choir’s cantata,
But do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust…
But giving the gift of love will endure.
Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to demonstrate the love of God that is within me, that others may know that I am your disciple. I ask all of this in the mighty and wonderful name of Jesus, for His glory, and for the extension of His Kingdom. Amen.
The Danger of Christmas Complacency
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