Living in a mud home with spotty electricity surrounded by razor wire and guards, having an inadequate food supply, working in a dirty and poorly equipped hospital treating patients with diseases and situations rarely encountered in the US, and encountering security check-points and people with AK-47s on a regular basis; Doug Page has given his life and career to help heal the physical and spiritual wounds of a Central Asian people living without Christ. Doug refers to his mission as one little candle burning in the darkness. He said, “I feel very responsible to stay here and keep that burning.”
This morning, on the first Sunday of Advent, we light the first candle, commonly called the “Prophecy Candle”. This candle is lit in remembrance of the prophets, primarily Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. This candle represents the hope, expectation, and anticipation of the coming Messiah.
In our sermon this morning we will reflect on what Isaiah the prophet foretold in Isaiah 9:6-7 and pray that it will encourage us to boldly share the good news of Jesus Christ in our world as we have hope, expectation and anticipation of the second coming of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. Isaiah writes:
For to us a child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
A Child is Born/A Son is Given
The word of the Lord came to Isaiah and told him to write: “for to us a child is born, to us a Son is given.” Consider the grace and mercy of our God who is providing His Son (John 3:16) to us. In Luke 2:11, the angels announced the birth of God’s Son Jesus and said to the shepherds: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Of the Son who is given, we are told that “the government shall be upon His shoulder.” It is said to be “upon his shoulder” in reference to Old Testament rulers having a key or rod laid on their shoulders, as ensigns of their office, or carried by their officers for them. For example, in verse 4, the Lord tells Israel that when Midian was defeated “the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor” has been shattered.
God’s people are comforted that the enemy will not always burden, but the Son who is given will come and “of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end”. We are comforted that there is no rival who can conquer the kingdom of God and this kingdom will be established “with justice and righteousness”.
As His Name Shall be Called
The oppression of the enemy shall be replaced, we are told, by the Son who is given. The four names given express His divine and human qualities and give promise that He is indeed Immanuel: God with us. The Son, Jesus shall be called:
The Son given to us shall be a counselor because He is able to make wise plans on your behalf (Jer 29:11). His plans and counsel are promised to be wonderful in that it is of the utmost quality and wisdom. His counsel and plans might not make sense to us, but we submit to Him knowing that “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
The Son who is given to us shall be the mighty God. We are told He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and that “they shall call Him Immanuel (which means God with us)” (Matt 1:23; Is. 7:14). He is mighty and shall, “by the finger of God” (Luke 11:20), “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and make it known that “the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20).
The Son given to us shall be an everlasting father. Father here denotes a protector. As the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 19:16), He will forever care for and protect his people. We are assured that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28).
Prince of Peace
The Son given to us shall be a prince of peace who brings us peace. There is no better verse to show the beauty of this peace than Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 4:7 tells us that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
We are assured of the truth of these verses because “the Zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
As we reflect on what the prophets foretold about the Messiah Jesus, we should also reflect on why Doug Page would risk his life daily in Central Asia. The answer is simple. Doug knows the Son who has been given to us and desires to make His name known everywhere. Let us resolve to give this year generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering and let us be, in the words of Doug Page, “obligated and compelled, because of our love for Jesus Christ.”
 Name changed for security reasons.