What a joy to be back at CLF! When I’m gone on Sundays, I miss my church. This year has made my heart grow fonder of what God is doing among us. And it’s humbled me more. God is on the move and it’s amazing to me.
It was a delight to step into our Christmas series this year. I really got a sense as we started planning for this series that it was needed. A pastor friend of CLF (Luis Castellanos) told me that at his church, they jumped into their Christmas series the last Sunday of November because they all needed the hope and joy of Christmas! I felt the same thing as we planned for this past Sunday.
However, not even my excitement about this series could save me from my song lyric challenges. As I was talking in both services about the sorrow and struggle of the Israelites during the time of Isaiah 9, I actually misquoted a Christmas song. How does one do that?? Well, I did it…twice! I said in the 1st and sang in the 2nd, “It’s the most happiest time of the year” to the song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Good grief. Needless to say, my loving family (especially my wife and daughters) gave it to me…in Christian love, of course. All I can say about myself is 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️…
Jesus and the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:
There are so many moments from the life of Jesus where He fulfills Isaiah 9 that I really could not cover them all. I tried to give 5 in the sermon. Let me elaborate on some of these and a couple more briefly here:
- Vs. 1 states this: “but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations” (underline and italics are mine). This is remarkably significant because for the majority of the Old Testament, the nation of Israel were very inclusive and looked to their own people. And because of their own sin and rebellion against God, rather than being a blessing to the nations as God had prophesied they should become (Genesis 12:3), they became a curse to themselves. Their sin led brought about God’s discipline. So, when Isaiah 9:1 talks about “Galilee of the nations”, it is a re-envisioning of the promise that God made to Abraham about His people. As we saw Sunday, Jesus going to Galilee and doing much of His ministry there reveals that God was not just concerned about nationalistic Israel being His people, but God was making a way for people from every tribe, nation, and tongue to be His people.
- When I read vs. 3 talking about the joy of dividing the spoil, I cannot help but think about Colossians 2:13-15, when Paul wrote: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Notice the triumph that Jesus has over the rulers and authorities…putting them to open shame and triumphing over them. This is a word picture of how Roman Emperors would put to shame defeated kings and ransack their spoils. They would parade them through the nation’s capital, drag them up the steps of the capital building, and then the conquering General or the Emperor would put their foot on their necks. And it’s a picture of Jesus’s people enjoying the spoils of His victory.
- And when vs. 3 talks about the victory that the “child born” will bring, 1 John 3:8 speaks about why this child was born, when John wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
- When vs. 5 tells us that the oppressor will be defeated to such a degree that their “garments will be rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire”, it’s a portrait that the enemies of the “son given” will be super-defeated. So defeated that they will become useful to the people of God. One idea in this fulfillment is in Romans 8, where God uses suffering, trials, and challenges to do good to His people (Romans 8:28)…what others intend for evil, God intends for good. Further, trials, tribulations, distress, famine, the sword…are actual tools that God uses in the life of His people to advance the gospel.
For further study:
John Piper does a series called, “Look at the Book” and he did a 4-part series on Isaiah 9:1-7, that was very helpful in my study. I think it will serve you as well. Here’s the link to that: https://www.desiringgod.org/scripture/isaiah/9/labs.
Looking ahead in this series:
- December 20th-“God with us”: Isaiah 7:14
- December 24th-“Bethlehem”: Micah 5:2
- December 27th-“A blessing to the Nations”: Genesis 12:1-3
From the Cheap Seats:
- Good for the Red Rifle…30-7 in The Jungle. We needed a win.
- I do not think a team that played only 6 games should be in the College Football Playoffs.
- As Chris Berman would say, “Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills”. They’re good…and Josh Allen is fast! He’s a large man, running really fast.
- If you’re a football fan, then you need to watch the series, called, “Peyton’s Places” on ESPN+. Peyton Manning goes through the history of football and the NFL in a humorous, yet informative way. It’s really good.
- Finally, on this…Premier League Holiday schedule is upon us…Enjoy!
To watch or listen to the sermon described in this post, please click here.