Originally published Sunday, 08 December 2013.
Many churches will be lighting candles today and ever Sunday during Advent to mark the worship and celebration of the coming of Jesus. Whether or not you participate in a worship service today with candles and ceremony, join me in lighting a symbolic candle in our heart as we read today's Advent Scripture. For me this passage is one quite familiar and favorited in my mind. As we've already committed to at the beginning of our Advent journey, I'm going to look past the seemingly familiar and embrace the sparkling Awe and Wonder in God's Word. Join me?
Today's Advent Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7 in THE VOICE translation
Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways— He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. His leadership will bring such prosperity as you’ve never seen before— sustainable peace for all time. This child: God’s promise to David—a throne forever, among us, to restore sound leadership that cannot be perverted or shaken. He will ensure justice without fail and absolute equity. Always. The intense passion of the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will carry this to completion.
If you don't already have the choirs in your mind singing the familiar church hymn For Unto Us A Child Is Born, you will and it will probably stick in your head the rest of the day. You're welcome. :) There could be alot worse songs running in your head over and over and over, right?
We've discussed in week 1 of Advent the poignant Scriptures of the Old Testament that point straight to the birth of Jesus with in the Gospels. If we were Christ followers in the generations directly following Jesus' walk here on Earth, these Old Testament Scriptures would be our home base for study and worship of God. They didn't yet have the accounts from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John nor the Letters from the Apostle Paul which compose our New Testament. Many believed upon Jesus and became followers based on what they heard and the good news that spread like wild fires.
Many did not believe.
Our Scripture today in Isaiah describes our King in characteristics that many Jews in New Testament times did not see fulfilled in Jesus. Many hoped for a soldier would would also be the Wonderful Counselor in Isaiah 9. They did not see Jesus as that person. For Jesus had a bigger plan than to come in and over throw the present day rule of the Roman army. So therefore many were blinded to who Jesus really is and His bigger picture purpose of the Kingdom.
How fortunate that you and I have both the holy words of the entire Bible as well as the access to the Holy Spirit as New Testament and modern day believers. If we choose, we can look to each characteristic of Jesus in Isaiah 9 and see it for ourselves as well as how Jesus has expressed His nature through out history. But, interestingly there is much more of Jesus' nature to be revealed in the coming ages as we read in the book of Revelation.
As we join in with the believers of old, let us peal back each layer of this descriptive Bible passage with eyes toward heavenly purposes. Let us not be tempted to allow our earthly nature to preclude us from embracing these bigger picture implications of names of Jesus such as...
Wonderful Counselor--the One who guides and directs our paths (John 14:26)
Mighty God--in whom nothing is impossible (Psalm 73:26, Luke 1:37)
Everlasting Father--loving One who has no end ( Luke: 1:33)
Prince of Peace-- an eternal peace beyond all comprehension (Philippians 4:7) Yes, this is the Jesus we celebrate and worship.
Take some time with each of the names of Jesus mentioned above. Read in your Bible each of the Scripture listed next to the names. Journal through what each name means to you personally after examining them in God's Word. (note: these are but a few verses of MANY that cover each of these names...just a way to get us started today in the journaling)
Awe and Wonder:
Open your eyes today for ways in your life and the world around you in which God shows His nature as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting--loving--Father and Prince of Peace. Yes these names of Jesus apply to the world as a whole but they are meant for each and every one of us in a personal way if we choose to seek out His Awe and Wonder.
Any thoughts? Leave a comment...let's chat!
***If you are just joining us and want to catch up on all of the Advent: Awe and Wonder readings click HERE.