Read Isaiah 9:2-7
2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
4For 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. 5Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
6For 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. 7Of the increase 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. (NIV)
These are wonderful words we hear every Christmas. They are words of hope. They are words as one person put it, that these words are the expression of faith that burst like the first signs of creation upon a dark and chaotic world. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” These are words that speak to redemption and hope.
When we look back to the Old Testament, we see these images of Christ. But many of these images where spoken of real people at a particular instance of time. These were words Isaiah probably composed for the coronation of a new king. In the Jewish tradition, the kings were considered holy and to be the son of God. There birth as son of God was the day of coronation.
But this is the wonder of how God communicates with us. God uses real things in real time to show us glimpses of heave. We call these sacramental things – earthly things that point to heavenly things. Marriage is sacramental as it points to not only to two people coming together and growing together, it points to how we and God come together. It gives us a glimpse of heaven.
And there was something about the words used in the coronation ceremonies used by the Jews. The words were futuristic in the sense of saying, “Is this the one.” “Is this the one who would be the Messiah to lead the people to that wonderful time of peace.
We see the restoration in verses 3-5. Their will be rejoicing as at the time of a bountiful harvest or the time of dividing plunder after a great victory. The yoke of slavery and oppression will be removed from the people. And all the signs of pain and suffering will be completely gone.
And then we get the words that point so perfectly to Jesus Christ – “A son is born.” This is followed by his role and his titles. The use of the word government is one that is rarely seen in Jewish writing. It literally means, “the burden of authority.” We know that Christ taught and spoke like one with authority.
These words for us speak both of what has happened and what is still to happen. They speak of the fist coming of Christ as well as reminding us that a second phase is still to happen. It is a call to, as Isaiah would write in Isaiah 60:1-3 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
These are words that hopefully help us to move forward in life, to remember that there is one who working to bring peace and restoration to our lives.
Questions and Comments?
Blessings and Peace