ADVENT SERVICE ‘WONDERFUL COUNSELLOR’
Message by Lester
Isaiah 9.1 -7, Matt 4.12-17.
WHAT AM I GOING TO SAY: How Jesus came to a dark of place.
HOW AM I GOING TO SAY IT:
1. Historical Context
2. Look at what Isaiah means by ‘Light & Darkness’
3. Read Isaiah 9.1-7.
4. Look at the names ‘Wonderful & Counsellor’
5. Look at the strange events around this child!
6. Read Mathew 4.12 – 17
7. Talk about 4a Brentwood St.
In the year 735 BC, the King of Assyria (at this stage occupying most of modern Iraq & Syria) was marching his army westward towards what is now Turkey, that same year the Northern tribes of Israel, already under the control of Assyria, formed an alliance with its neighbours to stage a revolt against Assyria. This coalition attacked Israel’s’ southern tribe of Judah in an effort to force them to join them. Ahaz, the king of Judah sent messengers bearing gifts to the capital of the Assyrian empire asking its King for his help against the Northern tribes & their neighbours. (‘trust’ an Isaiah theme, standing firm bib. imperative, ‘sign earth below & heaven above’ unique divine offer ) The King agreed & sent his army southward.
The Assyrians completely annihilated the Northern tribe’s largest ally before attacking Israel’s Northern tribes, plundering them, surrounding the regional capital & later sending the bulk of the region’s population into exile, resettling exiles from other parts of the empire in these regions. The northernmost tribes of Israel Zebulun & Naphtali were the first of Israel’s tribal regions to fall into this darkness.
LIGHT & DARKNESS
Isaiah uses ‘darkness’ is a figure for a situation where we do not understand what is going on, an experience of trouble, of deception & plotting, and for death itself (a tomb being a dark place). In summary ‘darkness’ suggests a place where God is either absent from, or inactive towards.
On the other hand Isaiah uses ‘light’ is a figure of a situation where we can see and understand, a place where we do not mind being seen being freed from shame, an experience of deliverance and blessing. It suggests a place where God is present and active.
LET’S READ ISAIAH 9.1-7 ‘For’ exclamatory; ‘Child’ subject latter contra King of Assyria mode of ruling by terror. Christ’s rebuking of Peter’s offer of violence to defend Christ; Christ’s ‘I pay’ taking violence into himself on cross.
The name ‘Wonderful’ has 2 elements: it’s an event that, measured by the standards of what we are accustomed to or what we normally expect, appears extraordinary & astonishing. It’s also a reaction to an event a struggle to comprehend what is happening in terms of concepts & ideas familiar to us.
The name ‘Counsellor’ also has 2 elements: to advise, but to put that advice into motion. So, When Isaiah speaks of Wonderful Counsellor he’s referring to one who is planning something wonderful, an event that a person, judging by custom & expectations, finds extraordinarily impossible.
STRANGE EVENTS SURROUNDING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD
As with the other births that have been reported are events that have already happened. Like those other names, this one does not describe the child but proclaims something that his birth is to remind people of, something about their God. Their God is a great counsellor, one capable of formulating plans and fulfilling them. This child will then be King Hezekiah, in whose time God did prove himself along lines suggested by the name Wonderful Counsellor, and in whose time light did dawn (he stood firm against the Assyrians but invited the Babylonians in) , though his reign was not the beginning of a new age, the new age came with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mathew 4. 12-1