“For unto us a Child is born”

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

Eight hundred years before the birth of Jesus the Prophet Isaiah spoke these words to the Jewish nation. The Jewish nation have waited patiently until this day for the coming of their Messiah to free them from the bondage of this world and establish His Kingdom which shall last for evermore. The Jewish people have waited for more than 2800 years for their King to come and lead them, the chosen nation, to final victory over the evils of this world. I respect and admire them as they have faithfully kept the candle lit and burning in the Golden Lampstand. They have kept their traditions and remembrance of the Lord God Yahweh for all these years in great anticipation for His coming. They have kept their faith through constant persecutions, through the holocaust, displacement, and surrounded on all sides by their enemies that desire to destroy them. Through all of this they have not faltered and wailed at the wall for the coming of their Messiah and King.

I also have a measure of empathy towards our brothers and sisters of the faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because He came and they missed Him. In their love for the present world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, they gazed at Him and did not see that which they desired to have. (1 John 2:16) They were looking for a conqueror who would seek, destroy, and kill their enemies. A mighty King, as King David, who would drive his host of mighty forces across the world driving the wicked far and away from the blessed Kingdom. They loved this world so much they could not see the greater world to come. Instead of seeking the God of Love they searched for a God like the adversary they have always been plagued with. A Messiah who possessed weapons of destruction rather than the supreme weapon of love. A Messiah who would come to destroy instead of save, a Messiah that would remove the rebelling creation that He loved rather than save it from their rebellion.

They only saw that which in their own hearts they wanted and not that which their God wanted. They missed the suffering servant who came to redeem them with His blood in place of the failing blood of animals. Like man who so often sees things in his own perspective and seeks not the full wisdom of God Almighty, they missed the further prophecy of Isaiah. In Isaiah 53 we read of the Messiah they missed. “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.” Still I have empathy for our Jewish brothers and sisters, as they wait upon the Lord with great anticipation throughout all these years.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we remember the joyful words of the Angels that first Christmas eve, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) This is the time of year that we remember the birth of our Savior, the One who came to “seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) He has come the first time to usher in the age of Grace, to open up to us the door to the free gift of salvation through Him. As He, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Immanuel, is “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Let us remember the greatest gift given to man by our God and Heavenly Father. And also let us look forward to His return with the same anticipation and expectation as our brothers and sisters in the faith, as they have for so many years, and continue to do. Let for us this Christmas season remain in watchful prayer, (Luke 21:36) for the King of kings and Lord of lords, which will free us from the curse of this world we so willingly ushered in long ago in the Garden. Our God is Love, and by His grace He came first to save us, and by His grace He will soon return to free us, and restore us completely in our relationship with God our Father for ever more. This truth makes each Christmas a merry and joyful time of the year.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church Durant, December 18, 2013

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