Part 5: “Expect God’s Messiah”
(Series: What Do You Expect this Christmas?)
Friday, December 24, 2010 – Christmas Eve
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Somebody brought to my attention this last week the topic of a Sunday school lesson being used in two of our adult classes…
The suggestion was that this might make for a good sermon topic.
Oddly enough, the lesson under discussion is taken from the words of the Prophet Isaiah that make up part of the Lectionary readings for tonight – Christmas Eve.
Normally, I might avoid this particular topic on a night such as this when we are accustomed to joyous caroling and the traditional Christmas story.
However, since this Advent season has taken on several uncommon topics and challenged us to really examine our expectations; I see that this particular lesson fits right in.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be truly pleasing to you, O Lord, the God of hosts
Isaiah envisions the reign of a Messiah that God would use to bring about lasting peace, justice and righteousness in the world.
Of course, the kind of king Israel wanted was one who would establish a new kingdom on earth and “uphold it with justice and with righteousness.”
Such a king – a leader – would have these qualities:
· The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
· The spirit of counsel and might,
· The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord
The author of this Sunday school lessons says that these are the qualities humanity has always needed and longed for, yet they have been disappointed generation after generation…
“Why? Because, left to our own imperfect vision and selfish motivations, we end up choosing leaders like ourselves. Only a righteous God can anoint a righteous Messiah. Only a righteous Messiah can bring about a revision of the created order so that ‘the wolf shall live with the lamb’ (11:6). Only a righteous Judge can ‘decide with equity for the meek of the earth’ (11:4).”
This is where the challenge comes for us:
As Christians we accept and proclaim the Christ Child born this night in Bethlehem as the true righteous Messiah…
The implications of our faith are two-fold:
1. We believe that one day the righteous Messiah will bring about a peaceable kingdom, once and for all; and we can rejoice in that promise;
2. In the meantime, those of us who proclaim the advent of this harbinger of peace and justice are called to be his agents in the world today. We are called to live with righteousness and faithfulness bound around our waists like a bright sash for all to see.
And so this author asks us two very important questions:
If you truly expect God’s Messiah,
When have you placed your hope in a leader who embodies the qualities
of a righteous leader anointed by God?
How do you outwardly display Christ’s character to others?
And so, once again I ask us all to consider: What do you expect this Christmas?
Expect the unexpected
Expect a challenge
Expect a miracle
Expect God’s presence
Expect God’s Messiah, not one of your own creation
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!