Sunday Recap for December 19, 2010

Last week I was I preached at the Berlin site of SonRise which is quite different from the West OC venue.  Preaching at West OC, I have gotten used to being very close to people to whom I am preaching so being in a large, open cafeteria was an adjustment. It was good to see so many church members that I hadn’t seen since we launched the West OC site in May.  We are preaching through a Christmas sermon series entitled “To Us” where we are unwrapping Isaiah 9:6-7:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
         And the government will rest on His shoulders;
         And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
         Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
         On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
         To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
         From then on and forevermore 
         The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

This week we looked at the titles “Mighty God” and “Eternal Father”.  The main thing we celebrate at Christmastime is God coming to us as a baby. This is an image of God that is safe for us and makes us feel good. God humbles himself to the point of even becoming a human baby so that he relies on Mary, his mother, for sustenance. And yet, things are not always as they seem. Even though he was a baby, he was also Mighty God coming to reveal to us the Eternal Father. We like baby Jesus but if we only think of Jesus in these terms we are neglecting a vast amount of how he has revealed himself to us.  We see this same Jesus describe a different way in Revelation 1:12-18:

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

In this passage, John is hardly describing a meek and mild baby. This is the vision of who we think of as “Mighty God” when we read Isaiah 9.  This is a terribly and scary vision, a God who is intimidating and frightening. And yet, again, not everything is always as it seems.  John’s only response to seeing this one “like a son of man” was to fall down and die. But, he didn’t die. More than this, this “Man” did not strike him down or destroy him, but in v17 it says he reaches out his right hand, touches John, and tells him not to be afraid.

Jesus is revealed to us as the humble baby and also as the conquering rescuer. He comes in humility but still possesses all authority. One day, he will come again in that authority, but today he extends to us his grace, mercy, and offer of salvation.

Merry Christmas indeed…


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