Isaiah 9:2-7 – The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
This portion of scripture begins by telling us about the spiritual blindness that people have when they do not have Jesus in their lives. Verse 2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” This verse reminds us of this simple truth: without Christ, there is only the darkness of sin. This darkness entered the world when Adam and Eve committed the very first sin in the Garden of Eden. When they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, sin entered the world.
Immediately after this first sin, God promised that he would send a Savior from sin. God said that the offspring of the woman would crush the head of the devil. This offspring is Jesus. God’s promise of the Savior shows God’s wonderful love for human beings. We need his love because after the fall into sin, every single person is born with a sinful nature. Because of our sinful nature, every inclination of our heart is evil. Without Jesus we walk in the darkness of sin. We commit sins with our thoughts, words, and actions. We disobey the commandments. We do not love God above all things. We desperately need a Savior from sin because there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.
That is why it is so amazing to hear that we have a Savior from sin. We are overjoyed as we celebrate the birth of this Savior. Through the prophet Isaiah we hear many details about what the Savior would do. Isaiah reminds us, “He will be called Mighty God, Everlasting Father.” These two names remind us that Jesus is all powerful. Look at all the incredible miracles that he performed – feeding the 5000, healing the sick, walking on water, raising the dead. Jesus is also eternal and the father of all believers. He is equal to God the Father and he played an important role in the creation of the world. Everything was created through Jesus.
Jesus uses his power to be our King. Isaiah says, “the government will be on his shoulders … He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” This reminds us of what God himself said to King David about the coming Messiah. God had told David that one of his offspring would have his throne established forever. God was not talking about King Solomon. King Solomon’s reign and the reign of his descendants came to an end. God was talking about the most important Son of David – the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Jesus himself talked about his authority. Jesus told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus has authority over all things. He is in complete control. He directs all of history so that his purpose is carried out. A little bit later we are going to talk about the peace that Jesus brings to the world. Right now we want to mention that the peace of Jesus is not an earthly peace. Jesus did not come to stop wars and to make fighting cease. He told his disciples that wars and rumors of war would increase before the end of the world. Jesus most certainly is our King but he is not a king who rules here on earth.
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus about his kingdom, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Jesus kingdom is in heaven and in the hearts of his believers. Jesus himself spoke against the idea that he would establish an earthly kingdom. When he returns to this earth, he is returning to judge all people. He is not returning to set up an earthly kingdom. He is coming back and when he does he will use all his kingly authority to judge all people. Unbelievers will be eternally condemned and believers will receive the paradise of heaven.
As the king who rules over all things Jesus is all powerful, he is present everywhere, and he knows all things. Because he is the God who created all things, he certainly deserves our worship and praise. He came into this world as the light of the world. He gets rid of the darkness of sin. He confronts us with the message of the law so that we can see our sins and see the way that God wants us to live. God explains his word to us in worship. He clarifies the teachings of his Scriptures in Bible Study. If we refuse to listen to his word, if we refuse to come to worship to hear his word, then we are in danger of falling back into the darkness of sin.
Our own sinful nature, the world around us and the devil want to take our focus off of Jesus. They want us to spend our time doing anything else besides growing in our faith. Our faith in Jesus will die if we are not fed with the spiritual food of God’s Word. Think about how much we eat during our lifetime. We eat roughly 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for 70 or 80 years – all that food just to keep our bodies alive. We need spiritual food just like we need food for our bodies. Hearing God’s Word a few times a year simply isn’t enough. Our King deserves better from us. Our King doesn’t want us to fall back into the darkness of sin and unbelief.
Look at what Isaiah says, “He will be called Wonderful Counselor … Prince of Peace.” Jesus also shows his authority by bringing peace to all men. He was won salvation for all people through his death on the cross. Because he is true God, his perfect life and innocent death are credited to all people. The entire world is forgiven. This peace is far more significant than any kind of earthly peace that people might hope for. The peace of forgiveness is more important than earthly peace because forgiveness has results that will last into eternity.
Some might wonder, if the whole world has been forgiven, then why is it that not everyone is going to heaven. This is because not everyone believes the message of forgiveness. Ultimately, it is foolish when people do not believe because the forgiveness that Jesus won is held out as a free gift. Jesus wants all men to be saved. His name “Wonderful Counselor” reminds us of the truth that he sends his Holy Spirit into the world and into the hearts of his believers. The Holy Spirit points us to the truths of forgiveness. The Holy Spirit reminds us of everything that God has done for us.
Jesus reminded his disciples that the peace he would give to them and to us is far different than any earthly peace. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus peace is that eternal peace of knowing that we have a heavenly home waiting for us. We should not be troubled when the sinful world around us does not understand our peace of forgiveness. Paul describes this peace as “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This peace can only be grasped by faith. Unbelievers cannot understand this peace of God unless the Holy Spirit brings them to faith.
Because of the peace that this little Christ child brings, we are able to come to Jesus with all of our problems. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This life, with all its problems and sins, can cause us to become very weary and burdened. We need to come to Jesus for the peace that he offers. When we worship our Savior, our spiritual batteries are recharged with the peace of forgiveness. As we look to the manger at Bethlehem, we see a tiny baby who brings hope to all people. He brings hope because he is our perfect Savior.
We look at the angels proclaiming the wonderful gospel message to the shepherds. They told them about the Messiah who had been born. We can only imagine what their joy must have been like. They hurried to see the baby with the song of the heavenly choir still ringing in their ears, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). They were able to see the peace of God. They went out and proclaimed this message to everyone they met. They were so overjoyed that they could not stop praising God.
We can be just like the shepherds. We look back to that child who was born. We see that he is the source of all peace. We come to praise him every time we gather around God’s Word. We know that this little baby grew up to be our Savior. He lived the perfect life in our place. He died the death that we deserved. He rose from the grave. He now gives us the peace and comfort that we need. We have the peace of forgiveness.