Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
The Lord’s blessings on you this week. I have been struck of late by the Bible’s teaching on the church – its unity and its diversity. It is one body with many members. And what a wonderful picture of this we have in our local body. We have different people with differing gifts and differing backgrounds, and at the same time we are one in Christ. In fact, it is this diversity that strengthens our unity. May we pray that the gospel would be the foundation of all that we do in service for the Lord. And may we love one another, pray for one another, and enjoy worshipping with one another.
*Please be in prayer for the Spring meeting of the Presbytery of the Southwest that meets this weekend (that’s the presbytery we are in). Pray for wisdom and for wonderful fellowship among the brothers.
*Note that our monthly fellowship will be NEXT Sunday (May 11th), NOT this Sunday (May 4th).
*Men and ladies’ studies and fellowship will be meeting at the first of the month. Be on the lookout for info.
*Check out this article on infant baptism – it is brief and makes some great points and observations (http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=276).
*Continue to be in prayer for the church and the provisional session as we move forward in the ‘organization process.’
*Finally, this week’s devotion is a reflection from Isaiah 9 on our glorious Savior.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Our Glorious Savior”
Isaiah 9:6b, “… And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The verse that heads this devotional is typically associated with the Advent Season. The ministry and character of our glorious Savior, however, is worthy of meditation every season of the year. The prophet Isaiah paints the light of the coming of the Messiah against a backdrop of darkness and gloom. Verse 1 describes those who were in “gloom” and “anguish.” And in verse 2 the prophet references those who “walked in darkness” and who “dwelt in a land of deep darkness.” Furthermore, v. 4 uses the metaphors of a yoke, staff, and rod to describe the oppression faced by God’s people. In the early chapters of the book (see chapters 1-5), Isaiah identified the cause of such gloom, anguish, and oppression as materialism, idolatry, pride, injustice, unbelief, etc (in fact, the immediate historical situation was that of Judah’s king looking to pagan Assyria for help as opposed to turning to the Lord). In a word, the sin of the people resulted in darkness in and around the people. Was there any hope for God’s people? How could they be lifted out of such a pit of darkness?
Their only hope was the “child who was born and the son who was given” (v. 6a). Their only hope was in this one who was the king (note the kingly language in vv. 6b and 7 that brackets the messianic description). In other words, their only hope was the light-giving messianic king!! But what would this king be like? How could we describe him? What were they to look for? Throughout the Old Testament we are given several strands of teaching as to his nature and character (e.g. Isaiah 53:1-12 highlights the suffering angle of his ministry). And in 9:6c we are given four descriptive phrases that help to build the portrait of what the Messiah would be like and look like.
First, he is the “wonderful counselor.” This phrase speaks to the wisdom of the Messianic king. Indeed, his counsel is wonderful and divine (Is 28:29; Ps 40:5; Ps 139:14). His wisdom is a powerful, awe-inspiring wisdom.
Second, he is the “Mighty God.” The coming Messianic king will be none other than God himself (Neh 9:32). A king is no king without the power to bring about that which he wills. A true king is a mighty king. The true king is the mighty king.
Third, he is the “Everlasting Father.” We need to be clear that Isaiah is not confusing the first and second persons of the Trinity. That is, he is not confusing the Messiah with the Father. Rather, he is describing the Messianic king as one who eternally loves and eternally shows compassion to his people as a father does to his children (cf. Ps 103:11-14).
Fourth, he is the “Prince of Peace.” This phrase speaks of the Messiah as a commander who wins peace for his people. He is the victor who achieves peace for his followers.
As we turn the pages to the New Testament, Jesus Christ takes center stage as the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. In other words, all the various strands of Messianic revelation in the Old Testament come together in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider the four phrases above: Christ is the very wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:30; Col 2:3). He is God in the flesh (John 8:58: John 10:30). He pities and has compassion on his people (Mark 1:40ff). And he achieves the ultimate peace for his people – the peace of reconciliation with God (John 14:27).
What a glorious Savior! What a glorious King! What a glorious Messiah! He is the light who shines in the darkness! He is the light of the world who brings peace and healing to those lost and hopeless in sin! He is the light who shines in the sinners’s heart! He was the only hope for the lost then … and he is the only hope for the lost now! Christ is all-wise, all-powerful, all-compassionate, and all-victorious!! Indeed, what a savior!