Christmas 2020: For a Child Will Be Born to Us, Isa 9:6-7.

Class Outline:

Thursday December 24, 2020


The proclamation that a son would be given to Israel and the world, the Servant of Yavah, was given at one of the darkest times in Israel’s history.


Idolatry was rampant, as was greed and cruelty. They were warned of the impending judgment by the great prophet Isaiah.


ISA 9:6-7

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.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.


This was proclaimed to a wicked generation, in the midst of a disastrous time. The leadership and elites were deeply corrupt. Idol worship was pervasive. The warnings that had been coming from the prophet to the people were a declaration of divine anger and punishment.


For instance:

ISA 7:8

(now within another 65 years Ephraim [Northern Kingdom] will be shattered, so that it is no longer a people),


Isaiah was then sent to the king of Judah (Ahaz) to give him the opportunity to ask for a sign, which he refused to do. Being a pagan idol worshipper, Ahaz was likely scared of what he might see. Yet in response to this lying coward, God gives him a sign anyway, and nothing he nor anyone else expected.


ISA 7:9-14

“If you will not believe, you surely shall not last.”


10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 "Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." 12 But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!" 13 Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”


The house of David, not any king, could bring justice and righteousness to Israel.


Isaiah sees the entire house of David flash before him and their utter failure to issue forth a golden age in Israel. The failure of the house of David is wider than Ahaz alone. From the beginning it has failed to live up to divine justice and righteousness. It’s greatest king David failed miserably which resulted in a weakened kingdom and a revolution by his own son.


The son was promised at a dark time. Yet darkness is God’s description of this world at all times. Jesus was born into a dark world and every year we celebrate His birth, some years seem better than others in our part of it, we are celebrating the only light that the world ever saw.


Despite the evil of the time and the refusal of Ahaz, a sign is given to a world that wouldn’t ask for it: A virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel - “God with us.”


And as we know, He would be born to a nobody teenage girl, in a nowhere place, in a dirty feeding trough, and beheld by unknown and unclean shepherds. Through this One, God was going to turn the world upside down.


Then Isaiah reveals to them something the rulers and elite are not willing to believe. The king of Assyria, ruler of the super-power of that part of the world, is coming for them and he will destroy them. This is another sign they don’t ask for but receive, and another one they wouldn’t heed.


ISA 7:17

"The Lord will bring on you, on your people, and on your father's house such days as have never come since the day that Ephraim separated from Judah, the king of Assyria."


Isaiah would warn them about the coming of Assyria often in his prophecies, and it would come to pass as God said in 721 B.C.


The announcement of the Messiah came into a very dark time in Israel.


JOH 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.


Painting of nativity by Albrecht Altdorfer.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer had a copy of this painting hanging on the wall of his prison cell. He languished in that prison for a year and a half before being transferred to a concentration camp where he would be executed 6 months later. In one of his letters to his parents in late November 1943 he writes: “Remember the Altdorfer Christmas scene, in which the Holy Family is depicted with the manger amidst the ruins of a broken down house - how could he, four hundred years ago, against all the traditions of his time, show the scene like that? It is really contemporary. We can, and should also, celebrate Christmas despite the ruins around us. Did he mean to say that to his contemporaries? It certainly speaks to us in this way today. I think of you as you now sit together with the children and with all the Advent decorations - as in earlier years you did with us. We must do all this, even more intensively because we do not know how much longer we have.”


We could find several parallels to this time in Israel and our current time. Rulers and elites seem only focused on their own power and wealth. The citizenry are oppressed in various ways. People are afraid, uncertain of the future, and war seems ever to be looming in parts of the world and civil war seems to loom within our borders. Yet, for us as for Israel, a gentle and mysterious voice is heard all over, “For to us a child is born.”


ISA 9:2

The people who walk in darkness

Will see a great light;

Those who live in a dark land,

The light will shine on them.


ISA 9:6-7

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.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,

On the throne of David and over his kingdom,

To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness

From then on and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.


In the midst of coming disaster, the prophet confidently announces the birth of the divine child over 700 years before it happens.


We who don’t know what will happen tomorrow cannot comprehend how anyone could see out over seven hundred years. Their times were no less certain than our own today, yet the prophet sees clearly what we have known to happen.


And now to us, this child that grew into a Man and delivered all who believed upon Him, tells us of another reality that we do not yet see - He sits at the right hand of God in victory and authority, awaiting us, His body, the church, to be completed so that He may forever establish His kingdom of peace ruled by the Prince of Peace.


His government will rest on His shoulders, but only after all of our sins became His burden. The power of this Mighty God would be love.


Perhaps we have become so use to the message that “a child will be born to us” that we miss the depth of its significance. The message given to a dark world on the brink of disaster is about the birth of a child, not of the astonishing work of a strong man, not of the bold discovery of a wise man, nor the pious work of a saint. It is the birth of a child that will bring to man the deliverance he so sorely looks for and longs for but cannot accomplish.


All kings and statesmen, philosophers and artists, religious leaders and moral teachers put together could not remotely do what the infant Jesus could. A child born into the midst of the world has put them all to shame, shutting their mouths in disobedience.


The comfort from God to us who experience the darkness of the world, along with the darkness of our inner selves, is a child, His Son.


The child one day will be a man and He will belong to you and you will know Him, belong to Him, love Him and be loved by Him. Your entire life will depend upon Him alone - a newborn child in a cave somewhere in the little town of Bethlehem.


The fear of the Almighty God, standing before His infinite power will humble us and we will bow before Him. The astonishment that Almighty God would humble Himself to become an infant also humbles us, and like the shepherds and the magi we bow before Him containing no pride. Before the child we forget all our stress and struggles, our sense of importance.


The magi presented treasure to Him. In turn He presented treasure in heaven to all who would believe in Him.


MAT 2:11

And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.


“treasures” - thesauros = a place in which goods and precious things are stored.


LUK 12:33-34

“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”


LUK 6:45

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”


God’s treasure is total love and graciousness. He gives His Son and we, like the Magi, give to Him by giving to others.


Only by the gift of the Son could we know anything about grace and love and peace, things which would become the characteristics of the kingdom that He would build, and the riches of that kingdom are ours and can be spent by us in time by faith and with gracious hearts. Without Him we cannot be godly. Without Him we cannot be that which life really is. The dark world and its objects and powers are stained with evil and sin. Even the greatest nations and kingdoms have darkness in them because they are filled with fallen men - sinners. But the inheritance of Christ’s possession is in heaven.


EPH 1:13-14

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —  having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.


The “strong man” bows before a child and honors Him as his only Savior.


ISA 49:1

Listen to Me, O islands,

And pay attention, you peoples from afar.

The Lord called Me from the womb;

From the body of My mother He named Me.



ISA 49:2

And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;

In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me,

And He has also made Me a select arrow;

He has hidden Me in His quiver.


ISA 49:6

He says, "It is too small a thing that

You should be My Servant

To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;

I will also make You a light of the nations

So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."