For this Advent sermon series leading up to Christmas, we're taking a close look at one of the classic prophetic passages of the Old Testament: Isaiah 9. Why do I call it a prophetic passage? Because it points the people of Israel, who are in great "distress and darkness" (Isa. 8:22), to a bright and beautiful future. God is going to do some amazing things to redeem Israel and to set the world to rights. And what is at the heart of this hoped-for future? The advent, or arrival, of a baby. "For to us a child is born," the prophet declares, "to us a son is given" (Isa. 9:6a).
An audacious claim, isn't it? Not least when you take in recent events, from the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino or on the streets of Chicago to the chaos and confusion that won't seem to go away in the Middle East. Yet here's the audacious Christian claim, in the words of Ray Ortlund: "God's answer to everything that has ever terrorized us is a child."
But what's so special about this child? Who will this child be? What will this child do? Well, Isaiah's prophecy doesn't give a full description: only a few names. Four names, in fact. But these names tell us a lot about this child. "And he will be called / Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, / Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6b).
Last week, we looked at the first of these names, "Wonderful Counselor." This week, we'll take up the second, "Mighty God," and reflect on this fact: that this child to be born, whom Christians confess to be Jesus, shall be called "Mighty God."
This is a bold name for a baby, isn't it? Imagine opening a birth announcement from friends. ...
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Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is Senior Pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL, cofounder of the Center for Pastor Theologians, and author most recently of The Pastor Theologian and Real Christian.
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