Summary: By looking at Isaiah's ancient prophecy, we get to know better who Jesus is: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Each title reveals more of Christ and how he can change our lives.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Who is That Baby in a Manger?
Did you know that, in the midst of the destruction of Hurricane Irma, babies were born? A woman in Coral Springs gave birth to a daughter on her bathroom floor, assisted by her mother until emergency workers arrived. A Miami woman gave birth just hours before 125-mile-per-hour winds hit the city. She named her daughter Nayiri Storm. A Delray Beach couple evacuated to Atlanta, where their son, Nathan, was born, not in his parent’s home state of Florida, but in Georgia. The couple noted that the name “Nathan” means “gift from God.” A woman in the Little Haiti neighborhood in Miami delivered her baby girl herself, with coaching assistance from emergency workers over the telephone. [https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/fourth-sunday-of-advent-2017-preaching-notes]
Babies are born during hurricanes and every other circumstance in this world! There was one baby born some 2,000 years ago in a dark time in history. Israel had been under Roman domination for some time. Generations had longed for the birth of their Messiah. Tomorrow we celebrate his birth. Jesus is without a doubt the most famous person to ever be born. All these years later, he still attracts more attention than any other person in history. What is it about Jesus that makes his birth so special? And what are the implications for us today? Perhaps we can find some clues in Isaiah’s ancient prophecy.
The prophet Isaiah lived under the rule of Ahaz, king of Judah, whose faith in God was weak. Isaiah foresaw a different kind of king who would come someday, the King of all kings. He described him as the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Each of these four titles tells us something special about Jesus and reveals him to be the very best Christmas gift ever! So let’s unwrap each title, beginning with ...
1. Wonderful Counselor - Jesus gives us guidance.
I work with a lot of counselors at the VA, some more wonderful than others. I was talking with a Veteran the other day who opted to change his counselor. He got a new psychologist, someone he believed would better understand him.
Jesus is our wonderful counselor. He understands us well. After all, he entered this world as a helpless baby who grew up with all the challenges of life we face. Hebrews 4:15 says he “has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus gets us. He relates to us. He has walked where we walk. Yet he never sinned. He always stayed close to God and chose God’s will over his own.
As the adult Jesus got ready for his ultimate mission—to die on a cross so that all of our sins could be forgiven—he prepared his disciples for his departure. He told them that, when he returned to heaven, he would send a comforter in his place, a guide, a counselor, the Holy Spirit. In John 16:13-14, Jesus promised his followers, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.... He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” Jesus sends his Spirit into each new believer. The Holy Spirit makes known to us what Jesus wants us to know. Jesus is our counselor.
I wonder, this Christmas, what guidance you might need. It’s always wise to seek counsel from others, even professionals in their fields. But what about seeking counsel from Jesus? Maybe you have a relationship issue. Holidays sometimes bring these out, don’t they? Or a financial issue? Or time management or health issues? Jesus is our ultimate counselor in all areas. Bring your problems to him. Consult his word, holy scripture. Spend time in prayer. Jesus’ office is always open, and there are no co-pays! He is our Wonderful Counselor, and he is the...
2. Mighty God - Jesus gives us strength.
This helpless baby in the manger is “mighty.” The word suggests strength in battle, like a conquering war hero. The eighth installment of “Star Wars” just opened in theaters. “The Last Jedi” features a new young female apprentice, Jedi Rey. Why do Star Wars movies do so well over forty years of time? Frank Pallotta, CNN Money reporter, says they connect with people who long for “a new hope and a force of good at a time when the world needs heroes.”
Jesus is our ultimate hero. Christmas is all about a new strength coming into our world, a divine strength, the “Mighty God!” Jesus is the God-Man who triumphed over sin and death forever. Listen to God’s promise recorded in Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God promises to strengthen you, to help you, to uphold you.