“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT)
The prophet Isaiah recorded these words approximately 700 years before the promised Messiah was born. The readers of that day read these words as hope. Today, we read these words not as hope, but as history. We are encouraged and inspired because it has already happened. Yes, a child was born! And he was no ordinary child!
Today, this “child” is our counselor – we look to him for guidance and direction. He is the Mighty God – he is strong! He is Everlasting Father, with us in ways that our biological fathers never could be. And he is Prince of Peace – oh, how we yearn for his peace today!
May we never forget this extraordinary child. He is God incarnate, Emmanuel, and God with us.
During this Advent and Christmas season, we celebrate the incarnation of Christ. God above came to Earth below in the flesh. Skin. Bones. Hunger. Thirst. All of it. In a few months at Easter we will celebrate that Jesus is no longer bound by earth and hurts and pain. Jesus is alive today and this gives us hope in order to live today.
What do you hope for? There are many types of hope. There is superficial hope – we hope for big gifts, more money, a faster car, or a bigger house. There is relational hope – some hope for a friend, a spouse, a father, a mother, a son or a daughter. There is emotional hope – we hope for freedom from heartache and peace for the soul. There is also counterfeit hope – this “hope” robs us of joy and peace and freedom. We hope we don’t get caught. We hope nobody notices. We hope nobody cares.
In any case, hope is taking our eyes off how bad things are and anticipating how good things will be. We recognize the reality of our present condition and we expect or anticipate a better condition. For those who trust in Christ, we recognize the brokenness of our current condition and we look forward to the healing and restoration of new life in Christ. This hope causes us to live differently today.
Any “hope” that doesn’t change how we live today is not hope at all.
Those with hope live different. They talk different. They walk different. They sing these songs differently. They move differently. They have purpose in their steps. When the world robs their dignity, they respond differently. When storms come, they don’t fear. When there is chaos, they don’t fret and worry. Those with hope can stand when everything around crumbles. Those with hope don’t stand alone. The Lord Almighty, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, are with them. His name is Faithful and True. He makes all things new.
Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. (Rev. 22:20 NLT)
Pastor’s Corner – December 17, 2016