Advent Mid-week 2
December 12, 2001
"A Profile in Greatness"
INTRODUCTION: In this Advent season we look forward. As we look forward we anticipate one of two great events happening. Either we will celebrate with family and friends yet another Christmas or we will see Jesus face to face as He returns in glory. If it is to be yet another Christmas celebration we will welcome Him into our hearts and homes. If it is to be His Second Advent – we will be ushered out of this world only to spend our time in glory. Certainly we need to be prepared for these coming events.
But who is this expected one and what is He like? Is He worth the effort? Is He worth all of the preparation? Is He worth the wait?
Admissions officers of colleges and universities often prepare profiles of new students to acquaint the faculty with the lives of incoming students. In business, the personnel director might do something similar with a new hire profiling a city of a community; highlighting schools, churches, and community attractions. Profiling can be a positive thing.
In our Old Testament lesson for this evening Isaiah draws a profile of the Messiah about 800 years before He came into the world. This evening, lets consider the portrait that Isaiah would paint for us as we consider the One who is coming. This evening, consider the profile of greatness.
I. Who is He?
A. He is a prince – v. 1 “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit” As Isaiah wrote this prophecy the Assyrians had all but destroyed Judah. Things got even worse! The Babylonians which took Judah into exile brought the kingdom of Judah to an end in the year 586 BC. How could a prince emerge from such great odds stacked up against them?
With God all things are possible – In these word we have the Lord’s promise that the Messiah will grow as a shoot from the stump of David’s dynasty. As Jesse, the father of David has the promise of an even greater son emerging on the scene.
B. This coming one not only is He a prince – He is also a man of spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord” (v. 2) The Holy Spirit will endow Him with the wisdom to undertake wise purposes and with the power to carry them out in the fear of the Lord.
C. This coming one will also be a God-fearing man. “and He will delight in the fear of the Lord” Jesus, speaking to the people, speaks of the validity of His testimony. In the gospel of John He says: “ The one who sent Me is with Me; He has no left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him” (v. 29) Then John replies with this observation: “Even as He spoke, many put their faith in Him”
Transition: We see who this coming one is but what will He do? Many a skeptic may question “but what have you done for me lately?” Isaiah replies to this question:
II. What will this chosen one do?
A. He will judge righteously, not on outward appearance or on hearsay – “He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, or decide by what He hears with His ears” (v. 3b) This is good news for you and me. Despite the holy and pious things people might say, often time people act from selfish, self-centered and self-serving motives. They ask “what’s in it for me?” Jesus establishes a new standard. He will judge by the standard He sets for the world - a standard that is centered in the cross and empty tomb. “With righteousness He will judge the needy with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth” (4b)
B. He comes to destroy the evil in the world through the power of His Word. “He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth; with the breath of His lips he will slay the wicked” (4b)
As in Isaiah’s day world rulers many times lacked those qualities needed for leadership. Jesus, on the other hand, rules with righteousness and equity. You will always receive a fair hearing with Jesus on the throne.
III. What will this coming Messiah accomplish?
A. He will establish peace on earth. “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a young child will lead them” (v. 6) We see this verse depicted in Christmas cards which we receive in the mail at Christmas time. On the cover we see a lion and a lamb lying down together. As the world works, you would expect to open the card and find a picture of the lion licking his chops having just devoured the lamb! The world knows nothing of peace! The world knows only strife, contention and war. It is only Jesus who can bring about real and everlasting peace. That is why the prophet says “And a young child shall lead them”. It was only at the coming of the Savior that the angels could sing “peace on earth, good will toward men”.
B. With the coming of this child to earth the sons of men will come to know God – They will neither harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (v. 9) As the Word of God is taught people come to the knowledge of the truth. As Christ came into this earth so He reveals Himself to the whole earth that people now can come to know God.
C. Wise men still seek Him. As the coming one enters time and space so now the nations seeks after God. Isaiah writes: “In that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him and His place of rest will be glorious” (v.10)
CONCLUSION: This is the profile of the coming one Jesus our new born king. Jesus, a descendant of David comes as the righteous branch with healing for the nations. As we prepare to celebrate His entry into time and space as an infant may we even now prepare our hearts and minds to be welcomes by Him when he comes again as judge and king. Oh, come let us worship Him, Christ the Lord. Amen.