“What Child is This?”
December 24, 2020
WHAT CHILD IS THIS?
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. (NIV) (489)
Over 700 years B.C., Isaiah prophesied the coming Messiah. He proclaimed how Jesus would come, “as a Child” – For to us a child is born. And… he proclaimed what the eventual outcome would be:
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
In there is a “short range” prophecy and a “long range” prophecy for us. Short range in that it would be fulfilled in only 600 years. Long range in that it would come to pass in what is now our future. It is so important for us to realize that prophecy that was to be fulfilled before our time has been fulfilled. And has been fulfilled exactly as it was pronounced. We can take great confidence from this fact. Fulfilled prophecy has been fulfilled as it was proclaimed, and all un-fulfilled prophecy will be fulfilled exactly as it has been proclaimed.
Part of Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled and part of it is yet to come. However, I believe we are in the midst of part of it as we live today.
John the Baptist came proclaiming a Gospel of repentance, the Kingdom of God, and the coming Messiah.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV) (682)
at hand meaning very nearby. I believe when Jesus came He brought with Him His Kingdom. I believe anywhere He went He carried its presence with Him.
This little baby, lying in a hay filled manger, was The King. Some knew it. Mary had some idea of what was going on, Joseph probably less so.
The angels in the sky who greeted the shepherds knew who was lying in the manger. Not long ago He was in Glory with them as they worshiped Him. Now they worshiped Him here on earth as a little baby boy.
I am beginning to develop a relationship with a baby boy. BJ keeps our Great-grandson while Katie and Dalton work. The other day Asher Kai, as I call him, wanted my lap not Mema’s. He wanted me to give him his bottle, not Mema. You have no idea what that did to my heart.
I wonder what the angels thought as they looked upon the Creator of the Universe lying in a manger. The King of kings and Lords of lords was lying there wrapped in swaddling cloths. Much the same way He would be wrapped before He was laid in a tomb.
Doesn’t that bring a dichotomy into view? The manger – The cross. I wonder if both of them were made of the same wood? Probably cedar. More than 30 years apart so probably not from the same tree. However, designed by the same Lord. Charles Swindoll has a book entitled “He Chose the Nails.” It’s about the fact that Jesus planned His own death.
If you were to be shot at sunrise would you choose the bullets? If you were to be hung at noon would you go out and buy the rope? Some people plan their deaths, suicide is on the rise in this dark season. But Jesus planned His long before the earth was ever formed. He also planned His birth. He knew He would come to this fallen world to redeem all of creation to God the Father.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (NIV) (800)
The coming of Jesus as that child in the manger was the answer to the desire of the hearts who loved God. Though they could not recognize Him as such, He had come to Redeem them, to Save them.
Our hymn today says, “What child is this who, laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping?” That throws me immediately to the song, “Mary, Did You Know.” Seems like some of the same songs keep getting mentioned every year, and there is a good reason, their message. Their messages are faithful and true. Just like our Lord.
In the song “Mary, Did You Know’ that one line still gets me… “When you kissed your little baby, you’ve kissed the face of God.” Could she have known the depth of who Jesus was? I doubt it. Who could?
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV) (725)
Could it have broken Mary’s heart to have to lay her newborn in a hay filled trough? Not just that He was her firstborn, but she also knew He was special to the world. Much has been written and discussed as to how much Mary knew about Jesus. But, without the Savior part, just to lay your baby in such a place had to be heart wrenching. As our hymn today says, “Why lies he in such mean estate where ox and ass are feeding?” Imagine delivering a baby under such circumstances. We want nothing but sterile delivery rooms and nurseries.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, came to us through such a lowly estate for one reason, I believe, so we could know that He is ours. Our Lord. Our King. Our Savior Whom we can approach because He came in such a lowly way to reach everyone in the world.
He did not come as a triumphant King in order to reach all the kings, presidents, and leaders of the world. He came as a man, a child, a servant to reach EVERYONE.
This year let us celebrate Christmas in a more powerful way than ever before. During this dark season, the world needs to celebrate Christ, His Love and especially His Healing Power. The world not only needs healing from a virus, but we also need healing from the sin that keeps the world captive.
12/20/2020 Bostwick UMC
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