A Son is Given to Us
December 21, 2017 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
The birth of Christ, perhaps, was the most promised and anticipated event in the history of mankind. For centuries, the Jews heard and held onto prophecies of one to come who would bring deliverance, justice, peace, and a kingdom. Part of the wonder of Christmas is seeing those prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Christ. God promised, and God fulfilled. Our faith in the promise-keeping God is bolstered by celebrating the “good news of great joy” of the birth of Christ. This month, let’s consider a few of those Old Testament promises and their fulfillment in Christ. This is part four of a four-part series.
In no way do I envy J.J. Abrams. He is a movie director. He directed the recent Star Trek films and episode 7 in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. People have loved his work. But now, Abrams faces, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges of his life. He will be writing and directing the ninth episode of Star Wars. After such divided opinion over episode 8, with some saying Star Wars has been ruined for them by this film, many are looking to Abrams to fix it. Save the Star Wars universe from the mistakes of The Last Jedi! Abrams has such incredible pressure to deliver a great film that fans will celebrate.
Athletic coaches and stars often face the same type of pressures (“fix this team;” “make us a contender;” “win a championship;” etc.). Fan expectations can be off the charts. How can anyone perform under such pressure? And when one star or coach or film director disappoints, the fans quickly move on to the next rising star.
Such fandom clamoring reveals a deep-seated longing of the human heart. We long for a hero. Someone to succeed where we can’t. Someone to overcome all odds and perform to and exceed our expectations. Someone to wow us. Someone from whom we can glean pleasure or significance or security. We long for a hero to “complete” us. We see this in sports, entertainment, politics, relationships, and even in the church.
The fact of the matter is that people will always fail us, no matter how talented, gifted, sensitive, intelligent, wealthy, creative or sacrificial they are. So, we wait for the next hero.
It is in this type of context that Isaiah the prophet speaks of a hero to come. Chapter 8 closes with the line, “And they will be thrust into thick darkness” (8:22). The people are overcome by the anguish and gloom of failure and disappointment. They look for a hero, a deliverer, a rescuer, but behold distress and darkness. But one is promised to come to be a true hero for the people, to fulfill beyond all expectation their hopes and dreams. Isaiah says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).
The names given to this child born to us reveal the hopes and expectations for this coming “hero.”
Wonderful Counselor: He will have incredible wisdom to guide his people for their best interests. His counsel will be “wonderful,” providing insight that leads to life.
Mighty God: A name for God himself is given to this hero. In a way that no human can truly comprehend, he will be truly divine. The proliferation of movies about God-like heroes shows how much we long for such a perfect, divine hero.
Everlasting Father: This title is not trying to blur the lines of the members of the Trinity. A father is one who protects and guards his family, his people. This promised hero will be a never-ending, never-failing protector for his people.
Prince of Peace: More than mere absence of conflict, peace in the Old Testament speaks about wholeness and completeness. This hero brings such stability that he completes everything.
I’m not trying to make light of the significance of Christ and his coming, but perhaps if we see Jesus as our true hero we would clamor less for human heroes in this world. Perhaps we would be less disappointed with life and the events and circumstances in life. Our hero and his accomplishments are not susceptible to tainting, diminishing, failing, and disappointment. They will be no end to the increase of his government. His reign and success will be eternal. Jesus is the one and only true hero.