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Isaiah 9:1-7 1
1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 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.

clip_image029Background

It was during times of apostasy (a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc. ) and sin that God sent prophets to Israel and Judah. The work of a prophet was to proclaim God’s word as the Lord gave it to him through His Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:20-21). This would include the foretelling of future events, though it was not limited to that. Prophets also reminded the people of past events and gave instruction about what they ought to do at the present.

One of the most well known of these prophets was Isaiah. He has come to be known by some as “The Messianic Prophet” because so much of his message had to do with the coming Messiah and His kingdom. In one such section, Isaiah tells of a time to come when a great light will come and shine throughout the land now draped in darkness. This prophecy was fulfilled about seven centuries later by Jesus, of Nazareth, our Messiah and Redeemer. Let us consider Isaiah’s text and how it is fulfilled in Jesus. (Isaiah 9:1-7).

Biblical Truths 2

Let’s look at the prophesy: It includes a description of the Messiah “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.” (Isaiah 9:6). The Messiah came to us first as a child; an infant born in Bethlehem.

He grew into manhood and fulfilled this and all prophecies made concerning Him. Notice the various aspects of His reign:

  • First, “the government shall rest on His shoulders”. Today, in His spiritual kingdom, Jesus has all authority (Matthew 28:18-20). When we obey the gospel, we leave “the domain of darkness” and are transferred into “the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:12,13).
  • Second, Jesus has become our “Wonderful Counselor”. In the Hebrew, the idea is that His counsel is a thing of wonder and awe. In Jesus’ teachings we have the absolute best advice on how to live our lives to be eternally successful. Though the Law came through Moses, “grace and truth comes through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
  • Third, Our Lord Jesus is also our “Mighty God”. The word for “mighty” also means “hero” teaching not only the Deity of Christ but also His action in our behalf to save us from doom. He is the greatest hero of all time, for nothing compares to His sacrifice, his love and His power. And He is “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:5-11; II Peter 1:1).
  • Fourth, Jesus is also referred to as “Eternal Father”. Jesus, the eternal Word of God, has indeed become our spiritual Father by giving us “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12-13). Jesus also reveals the Heavenly Father to us (John 1:18) and since the Son of God bears His Father’s characteristics we can truly say when we have seen Jesus we have been shown the Father (John 14:8-11).
  • And Finally, Jesus is the “Prince of Peace”. Only He could bring about reconciliation between God and man (II Corinthians 5:18-19). Though faith in Christ brings conflict with the forces of darkness, and sometimes hardships and persecution and betrayal, it also brings harmony with God and a “peace that passes understanding.” Even the announcement of the angels at His birth refer to this peace that we may have with God and His goodwill toward us because of the Savior (Luke 2:11-14).

Items for Discussion

  • What makes a prophecy a prophecy?
  • What other persons or events in history have fulfilled or came close to fulfilling what Isaiah was saying?
  • What is the role of a counselor?
  • What does it mean to be mighty?
  • In what ways does Jesus act like out eternal father?
  • How has Jesus demonstrated that He is truly the “Prince of Peace?”

 

Matthew 16:13-28
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. 28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Background

We now come to a turning point in Jesus’ ministry when he acknowledged to his disciples that he was the Christ. He also informed them of His ensuing death. He had brought them to a place near the town of Caesarea Philippi (not the seaport Caesarea on the eastern Mediterranean). At that time it was a Gentile frontier town on the southern slope of Mount Hermon at one of the headwaters of the Jordan River. It is significant that Jesus chose this place to reveal His Messiahship because it was known for a shrine to the pagan god, Pan, the Greek and Roman god of nature. Caesarea Philippi had belonged to Herod the Great, and now to his son. Yet it was here that Jesus said to Peter after he confessed Jesus as Christ: “Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” (Matt. 16:18) Still, Jesus instructed the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ.

Biblical Truths

Matthew 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-21
Jesus brings his disciples to Caesarea Philippi and asks them who people are saying He is. They tell him some believe he is John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others believe him to be one of the prophets. When Jesus asked: “Who do you say I am?” it was Peter who spoke up and said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus had not revealed this to them and he acknowledged that it was God Who had revealed it to Peter. And he said that it was upon that premise His church would be built. This is the first reference in the Scriptures to His Church. And he continued to instruct the disciples to tell no one He was the Christ.

Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33; Luke 9:22
Jesus now began to prepare his disciples for the things He must suffer in Jerusalem. He told them he would be killed at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders but would be raised on the third day. Peter was very disturbed to hear his Master say such things and disputed it, for which Jesus refuted him.

Matthew 16:24-26; Mark 8:34-37; Luke 9:23-25
Jesus forewarned his disciples that in order to follow Him faithfully would be a life of suffering. He compared it to the suffering of one condemned to be crucified and forced to carry their cross.

Matthew 16:27-28; Mark 8:38-9:1; Luke 9:26-27
Jesus told them that He would return with the glory of His father and His angels for judgment. He declared that some of them would still be living when he would come into His kingdom.

Items for Discussion

  • What is the “Church” mean to you?
  • Look at verse 26 – How do you think today’s society is responding to this point Christ is making?
  • Verse 27 sounds like good works count for something – What is the balance between good works and salvation by faith?
  • How do you personally interpret verse 28?
  • How is this Scripture a good definition of Discipleship?

Discussion Challenge

  • How does a church grow disciples while it waits for Christ?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-isaiah-9-1-7.htm
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