Sermons

Summary: An introduction to the titles and roles prophesied for the Christ.

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“GREAT EXPECTATIONS”

(taken from a message by Matthew Rogers)

ISAIAH 9:2-6

OPEN

Every so often, in the world of high school boy’s basketball, there comes a player with incredible talent and skill. He and his team become the focus of a lot of media attention. That player becomes one of the most talked about high school athletes in the nation.

Recruiters from the big-time colleges across the country come to the games just to watch the young man play. They begin to envision him playing for their school of higher learning and how he can help their school win a national championship. Those recruiters have a term for high school players with this kind of potential – “Can’t miss.” He’s referred to by this term because any school who signs this prospect “can’t miss” having a superstar on their team. However, not every player who is labeled as “can’t miss” seems to avoid missing.

That’s what happened to a young man named Ronnie Fields. Maybe you’ve heard of him. Ronnie played for Farragut Academy in Chicago. Not only was Ronnie considered a “can’t miss” prospect but he had a “can’t miss” teammate named Kevin Garnett. They took Farragut to the high school state tournament in 1995.

Garnett was a senior and turned pro right after graduating from high school. Fields was only a junior that year. But the next year, his senior year, Fields – a 6’3” guard – averaged 33 points and 12 rebounds a game. He was named Illinois’ Mr. Basketball for 1996.

Fans and media alike were enamored with Fields. Some even said that he would become the next Michael Jordan because of the way he could seemingly defy gravity and float effortlessly through the air. He accepted a scholarship from DePaul University, and seemed to be heading for stardom.

But then life fell apart for Ronnie Fields. In February of that same year, a serious car accident left him with a fractured vertebrae in his neck. In July, DePaul withdrew its scholarship offer when Fields failed to qualify academically. In September, Fields pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual abuse and was sentenced to 2 years probation and counseling.

Then in December of ’96 Fields became a benchwarmer for the Rockford Lightning, a professional team that was part of the CBA, a far cry from the National Basketball Association where the real stars play and where his high school teammate, Kevin Garnett in October of that year signed a $123 million contract, the richest in the history of sports at that time.

Was Ronnie Fields the “can’t miss” prospect that so many felt he was? No. In fact it’s fair to say that his post-high school career was pretty disappointing. It’s difficult to live up to expectations of absolute greatness. So many things can go wrong along the way.

And yet the predictions about Jesus Christ placed incredibly high expectations upon him, even before he was born. Let’s take a look some of these expectations in Is. 9:2-7 – “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 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.”


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