Devotional on Isaiah 9:6
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory.
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.Jeremiah 33:14-16 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
Devotional on Isaiah 9:6
Our readings tonight have all been descriptions of Jesus from the Old Testament. For many in the world, it might come as a surprise that the Old Testament has anything at all to say about Jesus, but of course we know that Jesus is proclaimed and described from Genesis to Malachi, and that some of the most beautiful descriptions of our Lord in the entire Bible come from the Old Testament.
But if were asked to point to one verse that contains the most beautiful description of Christ, where would we go? Certainly the ones we have read would be candidates for that honor, but I would turn to one we have not yet read. I would turn first to the prophet quoted most often by Jesus; the prophet called the evangelist of the Old Testament; the prophet Isaiah.
From the beginning to the end of his book, Isaiah proclaims a day when all the promises of God would be revealed in the person of his Son. Isaiah has 66 chapters -- the same number of books in our Bible. And chapters 40-66 of Isaiah (the final 27 chapters -- the same number of books in the New Testament) have been called the New Testament in the Old Testament. As with Matthew, Isaiah 40 begins with a voice crying in the wilderness. A voice proclaiming Jesus.
And in those final chapters of Isaiah, surely the most beautiful and poignant descriptions of Christ are found in Isaiah 53, where we read about the Suffering Servant who was wounded for our transgressions. And yet in my search for the one verse that most beautifully describes our Savior, I would turn back to Chapter 9, Verse 6. In that one verse, we see a description of Christ, from eternity, to the incarnation, and on to the crucifixion and the coronation. All in one verse. A single verse that perhaps tells us more about Jesus than any other single verse in the Old Testament:
“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, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
The gospels all tell us about a child who was born, but they also tell us about a son who was given. John 3:16 tells us that the gift was motivated by love. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
And on the shoulders of this Son of God would the government rest. He would have all authority and all power in Heaven and in Earth. The kings of the earth may set themselves against him and the rulers may take counsel together against him (as we read in Psalm 2), but the Lord shall have them in derision.
And his name shall be called Wonderful. In Genesis 18, Sarah was told that she would have a son when she was 90 and Abraham was 100, and she laughed. In verse 14, God asks Abraham, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” The word translated “hard” in that verse is the same word translated “wonderful” here in Isaiah 9:6. What happened to Sarah was wonderful, but with Christ such wonderful things are so commonplace that his name shall be called Wonderful! He brings wonder and astonishment and power. His name is wonderful!
And his name shall be called Counseller. Next month our country will have a new president, and we know that President Obama, as did President Bush, will have many counselors giving him advise and telling him what he needs to know. Not so with Jesus. Jesus has no need to surround himself with counsellors. He is the Counselor! “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.” (Proverbs 8:14) No one ever regrets having followed Christ’s counsel. His name is Counseller!
And his name shall be called “The mighty God.” Is there anywhere is Scripture a clearer statement of the divinity of Christ? Perhaps one that is equal is Psalm 45:6, where the same word is used of Christ: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” That word, translated here as “The Mighty God” denotes divinity in an absolute sense. Jesus Christ is God. He is the Word made flesh - the Word that was with God, the Word that was God. (John 1:1) As Paul writes in Colossians 1:19, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” His name is The Mighty God!
And his name shall be called “The everlasting Father.” How can the Son be called the Father? There is so much we could say about this beautiful description of Jesus! Isaiah 53:8 tells us that the Messiah would not have any physical children, but verse 10 tells us that he would have spiritual children, and we are his spiritual offspring. In the parable of the prodigal son, who is being represented by the loving father who despises the shame and runs down the road to meet his wayward son? Is it not Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame”? (Hebrews 12:2) His name is Everlasting Father!
And his name shall be called “The Prince of Peace.” A moment ago we read Colossians 1:19. Now let me read both verses 19 and 20, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and the peace he brings is the only peace we cannot live without - peace with God. As the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) That peace comes only through Jesus Christ, and the only way to have that peace is by obedience to Christ’s gospel. The only path to peace is the path of obedience to the Prince of Peace.
And there may be some here tonight who have never obeyed that gospel. There may be some wondering whether they will ever bend their knee to Jesus and confess his name. But the question is not whether you will do those things but when you will do those things, because Romans 14:11 tells us that everyone will one day bend their knee to Christ. But for many, that day will come too late. There is no reason why that must be so for anyone here tonight. If you are waiting for a better time to obey your King, then you should come now, because there will never be a better time. Listen to Isaiah: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come!”
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)