By Dr. Byron L. Battle, Sr.,
Little Bethlehem Christian Church, Eden, N.C.; Moderator, Piedmont District Convention of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Isaiah 9:6-7 King James Version (KJV)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
What interesting and perilous times we are living in.
This text from the Major Prophet Isaiah is a text that is normally read during the advent season celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But this text can also be viewed as the introit that opens up the promise of deliverance out of the perishing predicament of sin and degradation and deliverance for us during this time in which we are living. This same text is for you and I as we navigate through the rocky shoals of Covid-19 with a promise in the midst of all that is currently taking place in our world today.
Isaiah’s prophecy in the text foretells of Jesus Christ and his ministry as a human being while also being divine. He was human as the son of Joseph and Mary, the “Son of Man” if you will, yet divine as the Son of God. He was human as he traveled through the birth canal of Mary, yet divine as he fasted for forty days and forty nights after being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
He was human as he walked the streets of Jerusalem and other cities and remote spots with his disciples, yet divine as he walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee, which lay in the lower portion of the Jordan Valley. He was human as he ate fish and honeycomb with sinners, publicans, and tax collectors, yet divine as he fed over five thousand men, not counting the women and children, with a little boy’s lunch. He was human as he cried when his friend Lazarus died, yet divine as he called for Lazarus’s body to come forth out of the grave.
He was human as Isaiah described him in 53:7. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers was silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Yet, he was divine as Isaiah would describe him vividly in our text.
The theologian, Dr. Louis Pantusco, declares in his observation of Isaiah that “While there is much scripture that focuses on the life of Jesus from the manger to the cross, this chapter emphasizes the seed of Jesus from Adam to Mary, God wanting to preserve the PURITY of the seed and the blessings and accomplishments of the Savior after he died on the cross.”
Isaiah prophesied in what we call a “type and shadow.” Simply put, Jesus is being spoken of in the Old Testament as the glorious light, and joy, and victory of God’s people in verses 1-5.
The prophet now proceeds to show the foundation and cause thereof.
“Though he is everywhere most excellent, he is peculiarly so in this passage, which contains an emphatical description of the person and kingdom of the Son of God; the kingdom of peace; the eternal and universal kingdom, in which the you and I should have the highest cause for joy.”
Don’t get so caught up in the beauty of the baby that you miss the cross.
Don’t get so caught up in the beauty of what people tell you that you miss the INTRODUCTION of the horror they are about to SHOW you.
Jesus is the only one whose family tree can be traced back to himself.
He was the father of his own mother.
He was the only one that ever “lived” before he was “born.” He was the only one who was here before he got here.
He was the only one who gave new birth to the one that gave birth to him.
Counsellor. This word has been sometimes joined with ‘wonderful,’ as if designed to qualify it thus – “wonderful counselor;” but it expresses a distinct attribute, or quality. The name “counselor” here, denotes one of honorable rank; one who is suited to stand near princes and kings as their adviser. But the good news is that when we need a savior, when we need a counselor, we can take our burdens, problems and situations to the lord and he will tell us what to do.
The Mighty God
When our circumstances are too much for us to handle, it is just right for God. I can call God when I need him with the expectation that we will come to my rescue.
The Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace
Every king that has ever existed Jesus has outlasted them all. When Jesus returns, he will not return as the meek and lowly lamb that was crucified. He will return as the conquering king ready to dispense justice to his enemies and love to his children.
Whatever happened to the man who ordered all the new born babies in Nazareth killed because of His fear of the fulfillment of the prophecy of he who would sit on the throne of his father David. Herod the Great in AD 14. Herod would kill hundreds of people but he himself died a horrible death.
What happened to Pontius Pilate? He died too. In Switzerland there is a lake called “Lake Lucerne.” If you look up into the mountains, or the Alps of the mountains, there is a mountain there named Mt. Pilatus. That is the mountain that supposedly, according to history, where Pilate was exiled and could not stand living there anymore and he flung himself into the Lake Lucerne. All of the Kings of Old Gone. All the Caesars gone. Opposing Kingdoms Gone. Old Presidents Gone.
But the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the Last, Jesus Christ is still here. Because he is still here, in the midst of chaos and confusion, in the midst of trials and tribulations, there is still a God that can bring order to chaos and peace to confusion. He can bring Peace to your troubled mind and give you joy that’s unspeakable and a peace that passeth all understanding.
So, the Bad news is Sin had corrupted the Earth and Satan the prince and power of the air is a liar, deceiver, and the author of confusion. The debt had to be paid for sin and none of the prophets of old could pay it. Because of the sin of both Adam and Eve and the fall of man, it looked like Justice and the Law would prevail and destroy us all.
BECAUSE THE GOOD NEWS IS, THE BAD NEWS IS WRONG.