Names for the Messiah

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November 27 - December 24, 2016 (Advent & Christmas)

The prophet Isaiah anticipates a coming king with four distinct and important titles: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). These words came very quickly to be applied to Israel's long-awaited Messiah, the one who would come finally to shake off the yoke of Roman oppression and establish the reign of God once and for all. During the season of Advent, as we await God's long-expected savior, we examine the names—and the roles—of the one who has come, and who will come again.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Names for the Messiah (Part 1)

In presenting the story of Jesus' birth, Luke begins by describing the political context into which the messiah was born. In naming God's anointed "Wonderful Counselor," we acknowledge that he will be a wise ruler who will upend the political order of this world and establish a new order of justice, love, and peace.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Names for the Messiah (Part 2)

In expecting a messiah who will be "Mighty God," we expect someone who will come in strength, demonstrating the very power of God. But the power of God is not at all straightforward, and in waiting for God to come with a power that operates like human strength, we run the risk of missing God's coming altogether.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Names for the Messiah (Part 3)

The coming Messiah will not only be wise and powerful, but also compassionate and forgiving. In the same way that Jesus' own ministry was characterized by these traits, the kingdom that he ushers in will be a kingdom of compassion and forgiveness.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Names for the Messiah (Part 4)

Jesus laments that the city of Jerusalem did not recognize the things that make for peace—and for the most part, nor do we. The Prince of Peace we await at Christmas comes with a peace that is far different from what we expect, and our world is in desperate need of that peace: the peace of the kingdom of God.

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24, 2016

Names for the Messiah (Part 5)

Amid the noise of the world, we expect God's intervention to be louder still. But God comes to us not with a shout, but with a whisper—the whisper of a feeble infant king born in Bethlehem, given the name above all names.