Child of Promise: The Manger King

Child of Promise: The Manger King

Opening Illustration:
A guy bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas. 
After hearing about this extravagant gift, a friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty four-wheel-drive vehicles." 
"She did," he replied. "But where was I going to find a fake Jeep?"

You know there is nothing fake about Christmas.  Once you peel back the layers of materialism and consumerism, there is a real story there about this baby named Jesus.  His story is real, it happened and is not fake at all.  The story of Jesus may seem logical, far fetched, but I believed that it actually happened and that it is true.  

This morning, what is your attitude towards Christmas.  Are you jaded?  Fed up with all the presents and distractions?  Are you joyful? Do you see through all the madness of the Christmas season to real reason for this time of year?  

This Christmas, Are You Jaded or Joyful?

Background and Context
Isaiah 9:6 may be the most familiar Old Testament prophecy about the birth of Christ. Handel included those words in one of the great choruses of his Messiah oratorio. Chances are you either sing it or hear it several times every Christmas season.

Unfortunately, we seem to pull this passage out of the box only during the holidays. It’s like one of the ornaments we use to decorate our houses. But have you ever thought about the rich truth this single verse teaches concerning the King of kings? Though we still await the full realization of His kingdom, the promised Messiah is the greatest political ruler ever.

Isaiah wrote this prophecy at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian captivity—nearly 600 years before the birth of the Savior! Looking at a litany of failed monarchs, and sitting in the rubble of Israel’s monarchy, Isaiah looked across the centuries to a time when God would rule on earth through His Son.

Let’s read the Scripture together this morning. 

Isaiah 9:6 NLT
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah’s Message Is Our Miracle

I. Christ’s Humanity
“For a child is born to us…”

Point:
Isaiah begins this statement about the coming Messiah by saying “for a child is born to us”. What a curious way to describe this coming Savior.  Isaiah statement is purposeful however because this statement speaks to the humanity of Jesus. 

Jesus, even though Isaiah did not know His name, was totally and complete human.  He had flesh.  He had blood and bones.  From the very beginning, experienced the trauma and drama of birth.  As a child He experienced hunger.  He experienced the struggle of learning to walk and the frustration of discovering dexterity in your hands and fingers.  Jesus, the eternal God, experienced what it was like to grow up.  Just like me and you.  

If you lived in the ancient world, the world of Jesus, you would see Him simply as a Middle Eastern man.  He would have been dark skinned, dark hair and dark brown eyes.  Yes, he would have had a dark beard.  He would have looked just like any other Middle Eastern man.  There would have been nothing to distinguish him or set him apart from any other male during his time.  I know that this view of Jesus shatters what most children are taught of Him. Most children grow up believing that Jesus was a white man with blue eyes from Great Britain that somehow was transposed in a Middle Eastern setting.  Not true.  

Like most, Jesus was poor.  He lived in a tiny rural town like most people of the day.  Jesus was a simple man.  A man of trade.  He was a carpenter and mason.  He was a builder.  As we read Scripture we know that Jesus had both a Mother (Mary) and a Father (Joseph).  However, most scholars believe that Joseph died early in Jesus’ life.  Joseph’s death came sometime after Jesus’ 12th birthday.  We believe this because Joseph is never mentioned during Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus, because He was totally human, experienced the pain of searing loss.  He knew heartbreak. 

Jesus, because He was human, experienced temptation, friendship, betrayal, joy, suffering, pain, frustration, and excitement.  Some ask why Jesus had to die.  Friends, Jesus had to die because death is a part of being human.  Death is something that defines our existence.  Without death, we are not human.  Being born, living life, and dying is the full gamut of the human existence and Jesus experienced the entire width and depth of humanity from birth to death and all in between.  

Point:
We call this indwelling of the Almighty in the flesh the incarnation.  God because man.  Totally.  Completely.  

Quote:
Mitchell Kalpakgian, Ph.D. writes, 

Christ in His human form is not only a member of the society of the family, the son of Mary and Joseph, but also a friend in the society of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus whose home He often visits. He belongs to a Jewish society, the tribe of Israel, and follows the traditions and laws handed down from Moses and the prophets. Christ forms his own society, the company of His disciples whom He leads and teaches to become apostles to evangelize all nations. God, then, becomes incarnate in the body to form close bonds and personal relationships of love with family, friends, and followers whom he embraces with special affection. The Incarnation reveals God’s great desire to be close and familiar to all who seek, know, follow, and love Him, and it sanctifies the family as the natural dwelling place of God.

Point:
Why?  Why did God do this?  Why did the incarnation come?  Love.  Simply put, love.  

Think about it in parental terms.  Even if you do not have children you were once a child with parents.  Years ago I broke my arm.  I was in 8th grade and I was playing basketball on my school junior high basketball team.  I dove for a ball and landed awkwardly on my arm.  My arm snapped. Loudly.  I looked down and immediately knew that I was in bad shape.  My arm was contorted and twisted.  Pain shot through my arm, shoulder and into my back.  I think that I even feel pain in my toes.  

I was broken.  I was busted.  I was hurting and in pain.  I need someone or something to heal me.  

Imagine if in that moment I cried out to my Dad on the phone.  My Dad heard my cries and he said “well son, give it time, the pain will fade and it will heal.  I am with you.”  His words would have rug hollow and empty.  I did not need his words, I needed his presence.  

It was only a few minutes before my father showed up.  The wait was horrible.  It felt like it took forever.  However, he came.  He was there.  He picked me up in his arms, carried me to the car and drove me to the Emergency Room.  I was so glad to see him when he walked in the room. I needed his presence more than I needed his words.

Point:
In a similar way, humanity was broken.  Totally busted.  Humanity cried out for God to do something.  Eventually and at the perfect time, God showed up.  Not just in word but in presence.  God, like my Father, came into the room and gifted all of us with His presence.  

My Father’s presence ushered in peace.  I knew that everything was going to be ok.  My Father’s presence ushered in healing.  I knew that when my Father came, I was going to be delivered to some place that could heal me.  When my Father came to me, I could finally relax.  He had everything under control and the weight of trying to make a decision about my outcome became his and not mine.  He would take care of me.  

Friends, that’s what Jesus came.  He gifted us with this presence because He wants to deliver peace, healing and rest to all humanity.  

Illustration: The Manilla Garbage Dumps
Author and pastor Leith Anderson writes: Several years ago I was visiting Manila and was taken, of all places, to the Manila garbage dump and saw something beyond belief. Tens of thousands of people make their homes on that dump site. They’ve constructed shacks out of the things other people have thrown away. And they send their children out early every morning to scavenge for food out of other people’s garbage, so they can have family meals. People have been born and grown up there on the garbage dump. They have had their families, their children, their shacks, their garbage to eat, finished out their lives, and died there without ever going anywhere else, even in the city of Manila. It is an astonishing thing.

But Americans also live on the garbage dump. They are missionaries, Christians who have chosen to leave their own country and communicate the love of Jesus Christ to people who otherwise would never hear it. That is amazing to me. People would leave what we have to go and live on a garbage dump. Amazing, but not as amazing as the journey from heaven to earth.





John 1:4 NIV
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Isaiah’s Message Is Our Miracle

I. Christ’s Humanity
“For a child is born to us…”
II. Christ’s Divinity 
“…a son is given to us.”

Point:
Just as “for a child is born to us” underscores Jesus humanity, “a son is given” highlights Jesus’ divinity.  Jesus was 100% man, but He was also 100% God.  

Point:
The early church considered the incarnation of Jesus to be one of the most important central truths to the Christian faith.  Our belief that Jesus is both fully God and fully man is important and any deviation from this truth has potential to derail the entirety of the Christian faith.  If one can call in to question the incarnation of Jesus, then one can certainly call into question the resurrection of Jesus.  

Many of you have probably never heard of the Calcedonean Creed.  In 451 AD, from October 8 to November 1, a large Christian counsel gathered to discuss many theological issues.  One of those issues was the topic of the incarnation.  Their eventual view of the incarnation has been adopted by every branch of the Christian faith including both Protestants and Catholics.  

This is what they discovered:

1. Jesus has two natures — He is God and man.
2. Each nature is full and complete — He is fully God and fully man.
3. Each nature remains distinct.
4. Christ is only one Person.
5. Things that are true of only one nature are nonetheless true of the Person of Christ.

Point:
Just as Jesus is human, He is also God.  He experienced every human emotion and condition.  He responded to each emotion and situation perfect because of His divine nature.  

Philippians 2:6-7 ESV
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Jesus is the first example of a human being being filled by God.  He was the first but He is not the last.  Jesus shows His followers that they too can have the Spirit of God living in them.  His followers, His disciples, can be filled with the nature of God. This nature actively working through them and in them.  

Pratical Point:
Why is this important for you today? Why is important to know that Jesus is both human and divine? It is important because Jesus is an overcomer.  He died on the cross but He overcame death through the power of God working in and though Him.  The same overcoming Spirit lives in you and me today.  The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is available to us today to help us overcome the challenges of life.  

What challenges are you facing?  What worries do you have this morning?  I promise you that the incarnate Jesus can help you overcome your struggles.  

Next, if Jesus is only man, He does not deserve our worship.  However, if He is both God and man, then He deserves our worship and our praise.  He is God, our maker and our redeemer.  We should worship Him for who He is, human but God at once.  

Lastly, if He is man, we do not have to obey Him.  However if He is both God and man, then He deserves our obedience.  We cannot only be hearers of His words, we must now also be doers of the word. We must take up our cross daily and follow Him.  We must leave everything behind and walk closely with Him.  

 Isaiah’s Message Is Our Miracle

I. Christ’s Humanity
“For a child is born to us…”
II. Christ’s Divinity 
“…a son is given to us.”
III. Christ’s Majesty 
“The government will rest on his shoulders.”

Point:
We have already seen that Jesus is man.  We have seen that Jesus is God.  Now, Isaiah points us to the fact that Jesus is Lord.  

This verse looks to a time still future when Christ will reign over a literal, earthly, geopolitical kingdom that encompasses all the kingdoms and governments of the world.

Daniel 2:44 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever…

Zechariah 14:9 ESV
And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.

In that day, the government of the whole world will rest on His shoulders. But until that time, His kingdom is in an invisible form. 

Luke 17:20-21 ESV
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

The Messiah’s rule is over those who trust Him and obey Him as Lord. It’s currently an invisible kingdom, but will one day become visible and universal as His rule extends even over those who do not acknowledge His lordship in their hearts.

Point:
Take a second and let that sink in.  One day in the future, the Kingdom of God will arrive.  It will be ushered in with the return of Christ.  A few years ago I had a church member misunderstand a statement that I made to be political in nature.  He was very upset at me and actually left the church over it.  Well, I am going to make a few political statements here this morning.  

My friends, we just came out of an election season.  When Jesus returns, these are the things that we can look forward to:

1. No debates.  There will not be any debates between candidates.  Jesus will stand supreme and universally authoritative.  There will be no human reasoning that will thwart His ultimate supremacy.  There will be no arguments, no discourses, no trap interviews.  None.  Jesus will rule.

2. No smear campaigns. There will not be any smear campaigns because Jesus will be totally righteous and completely good.  There will be nothing to say about Jesus.  People will remember His words, His works, His miracles, His teachings and they will remember that Jesus is the only unstained King in the history of the universe.  

3. There is no election.  Jesus’ rule is not dependent on our vote.  We do not have to wait to see what Florida, Ohio, Michigan, California will vote.  There will be no early polls or exit polls.  There will certainly not be any concession speech.  Jesus was, is, and forever will be ruler over all creation and the centerpiece of heaven.  Even now He sits at the right hand of the Father.  

4. There are no parties.  That’s right, no Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, and Green.  Jesus will not need bipartisan participation to get things done.  He will not need to reach across the aisle.  He will not have build support. He need not worry about executive orders.  He will not need legislative support to make law and He will not depend on Supreme Court justices to make the decisions.  Jesus will not need any pens to sign bills.  Furthermore, He will not need a Vice President.  He will be the most capable, trustworthy, competent, leader ever. 

5. He will not need the White House. 

Isaiah 66:1-2 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord.

6. There will be no issues.  Our current problems are and are not exclusive to these issues:

Immigration
Abortion
The Middle East
Russia
North Korea
Oil Pipelines
Contaminated Water
Race Wars
Economic Policies
Job Loss 
Job Creation
Terrorism 

Friends, Jesus is the answer.  Chances are we will not figure these things out until His Kingdom comes but when it does, His Kingdom will not be plagued with these problems.  These are earthly issues not Kingdom issues.  

Revelation 21:4 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Point:
Don’t you wish you could vote for Jesus today?  

Well you can.  You can vote for Jesus by devoting yourself to Him, obeying Him and living out Jesus’ Kingdom in your own life.  Why complain about our current situation when we can be involved in Kingdom living right here and now?  

Conclusion:
Friend, Jesus is human. He knows what you are going through today.  Jesus is God.  He is an overcomer and He can help you overcome your problems today.  Because of the incarnation, we should follow Him, worship Him, and obey Him. Because of the incarnation, we can look forward to the day when Jesus’ Kingdom becomes visible but until that day arrives, we can live out God’s Kingdom in our own lives.  


Turn This Information Into Action. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

According To Luke: Man vs. Wild

Palm Sunday: The People and the Purpose of Palm Sunday

According To Luke: Completely Healed