Advent 2016

Now we see the face of God
Jesus Christ, Our Savior
God of heaven here on earth
Praise the King, Emmanuel

The name, Augustine, probably means very little to most people. But, it means a lot to a theology professor. It is like the name, Michael Jordan, to a basketball fanatic, or the name, Julia Child, to a home cook, or the name, Warren Buffett, to a financial advisor, or the name, Elvis Presley, to anyone born after 1940 and claims to like music, or the name, Jiro Ono, to anyone who claims to like documentaries (or sushi for that matter—just google “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”). I think you get the point. You may not know everything about that person—and you may not even like them if you do—but if you’re interested in that topic, you’ll be interested in that person.

So, Augustine. It always makes me feel better when people who are really smart say they don’t understand something that I, myself, don’t understand. The great Augustine claimed to have trouble understanding the book of Isaiah. That makes me feel better because I don’t always know what is going on in the book of Isaiah either.

But, don’t worry. Over the next 5 weeks we are going to talk about a major theme of the book, and this theme is captured in Isaiah 9:6:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

A bit of background: Isaiah wrote these words at a time when the nation of Israel was headed towards destruction. No one believed Isaiah at the time. No one saw it coming, though it should have been obvious. The people that God had rescued out of slavery and to whom God had given everything had forgotten about Him, and they didn’t care that they had forgotten. God is so patient, but He wouldn’t be a true King if He let injustice go unchecked. So God, in His grace, decided to act, not by totally obliterating the nation of Israel but through discipline to call them back to a truly full life.

In the midst of the discipline, God promised, through Isaiah, that there would be one person that God would send to lead God’s people into truth, restore justice, bring peace, and establish a kingly reign that would never end. We’ve come to know this person to be Jesus Christ. And now, knowing all that we know about Jesus, we see how amazing these names are: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And more than that, we see in Jesus what these titles truly mean.

SPOILER ALERT: It may not always mean what you thought it would mean, but it is always more than you could have ever hoped for.

I hope you’ll join us on this Advent journey as a few of our church staff members share an Advent devotional blog post with us each week. Each blog will be based on one of Isaiah’s four messianic titles.

Song: On each post, we will link Advent Song, written by Micah Risinger, which we will also be singing as a church when we gather each Sunday during Advent. This song was written with Isaiah 9:6 in mind and will help us further understand who Jesus Christ is. At the top of each blog post you can read the verse of the song that goes along with that week’s topic.