Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections
A familiar scripture reading this time of year is Isaiah 9:6. When the prophet Isaiah wrote this, Israel was experiencing a time of darkness. They were surrounded by hostile enemies. But these words of Isaiah brought light into their darkness. Isaiah 9:6 says that a child is born and he then gives us four names by which this child will be known. I want to focus on these names for they are rich and full of meaning.

The first name is "Wonderful Counselor." A study of recent history shows that our U.S. presidents have had numerous counselors, chief-of-staff, press secretaries, and spokepersons. It is clear that the president consults various experts in matters when critical decisions are made.

But this child has no need to surround himself with a collection of counselors because this wonderful counselor is Jesus Christ. He is the one who needs no advice from anyone. In fact, it is he who gives advice and guidance. When he is the king of lives, he gives us direction. He shows us the way to go.

The second name given the child is "Mighty God." There is usually one particular characteristic listed about every great leader. That is strength. The child is described as the mighty God. He has power. Jesus conquered death. He was killed on the cross, but he also rose again to life. Since he has conquered death, he offers life because he is the mighty God.

The third name given to the child is "Everlasting Father." One of the problems with society today is the lack of influence of many fathers on their children's lives. I have a wonderful father. My dad has provided for me in incredible ways when I was younger. He spent time with me and he sacrificed for me. But the reality is that some day, I will no longer have him as an earthly father. The name given to the Child here is that of everlasting father or eternal father. He is the eternal provider and protector. Jesus says in the 10th chapter of John's Gospel that He is "the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me." Jesus is a provider for us. He fulfills this name in that he gives us what we need.

The fourth name is "Prince of Peace." We understand what the word "prince" means � it is a title of royalty. But what is "peace?" Peace is more than the end of war. The peninsula of Korea is not at peace even after 50 years after the end of the Korean War. The fighting stopped, but that did not bring about true peace for the people of that region. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul says the peace of God surpasses all understanding. We cannot grasp the kind of peace that God offers. The Hebrew word for peace, "shalom," entails more than just the end of fighting or tolerance of conflict. It includes a sense of well-being. That is what Jesus offers.

These names carry with them a great deal of significance. Jesus is our all-knowing, all powerful, ever-present advisor, protector and defender. He can offer us peace that may be lacking in our lives. This is the time of the year when we think the most about peace. We talk about "peace on Earth and good will toward men." He offers us peace. The seventh verse of the ninth chapter of Isaiah says that he offers a peace that has no end.

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