The Conquering Christ of Christmas
Will Christ be the center of your celebration this Christmas season? Are you living for the things that Christ died for? The Christian needs to remember that our joy is because of Jesus, our songs because of our Savior, our love because of our Lord, our inheritance is because of His incarnation, and our blessings a result of His birth.
The central figure throughout the Scriptures is the conquering Christ. In the Old Testament era, through the Passover, the people looked forward to redemption. In the New Testament era, during the Christmas season, we look backward to the Incarnation. In the Book of Isaiah, the centrality of the conquering Christ is vividly seen for us. It is interesting that there are as many chapters in Isaiah as there are books in the whole Bible. These books divide into thirty-nine and twenty-seven, as do the books of the Bible in the Old and New Testaments. The tone of the first thirty-nine chapters of Isaiah has an Old Testament ring, while the remaining chapters thrill with the evangel of the New Testament. The last twenty-seven chapters divide into three sections, each containing nine chapters. Isaiah, in his center division, deals with the Messiah. Of the nine chapters in the “Messiah” section (49-57), the center chapter (53), gives the clearest view of Calvary to be found in Scripture. It seems appropriate that Isaiah’s name means “salvation of Jehovah.”
One moment the Book of Isaiah is black with thunder and the darkness of the storm. Then, the rainbow shines through, and Isaiah sweeps his readers onto the Golden Age still ahead for the world. He writes about the Messiah as the savior and sovereign to illustrate the cross and the crown. To Isaiah, Christ is just as much the Lamb of God as He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. It seems appropriate that we should be reminded that twenty-seven hundred years ago, Isaiah wrote, “ 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, Might God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 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” (Is. 9:6-7). From these two verses, there are several practical steps to ensuring that our conquering Christ is central during our Christmas celebration. First, we need to:
I. RESPOND TO HIS PROFOUND PRINCIPLES (Is. 9:6 a)
The Scriptures state that Jesus is a “wonderful counselor” (Is. 9:6). No doubt, Jesus has the answer to every question and solution for every problem. If you are weary in mind, Jesus says, “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). If you need basic worldly goods, Jesus says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness: and all these things will be added unto you” (Mt. (6:33). If you are worried about life, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid” (Mt. 14:27). If you want to be a witness to the lost, Jesus says, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8). If you are weak in body, Jesus says, “Rise, take up your bed and walk” (Jn. 5:8).
Jesus Christ is the wonderful counselor. He has counsel for every crisis, a plan for every problem, a direction for every dilemma, a prescription for every pain, and a message for every man. To the Christian, the Lord’s counsel is like honey to the taste, harmony to the ear, health to the body, happiness to the soul, and hope to the heart. Indeed, Jesus is the Conquering Christ of Christmas! Second, in order to ensure that our conquering Christ is central during our Christmas celebration, we need to:
II. REMEMBER HIS PERSONAL POWERS (Is. 9:6 b)
Isaiah has written: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . and His name shall be called . . . the mighty God” (Is. 9:6). Jesus is the God-Man. Mary knew when Jesus was born that He was older than His mother, but the same age as his Father. Before time began, Christ existed with His heavenly Father.
Jesus came down the starry spangled skies of glory. He was born in Bethlehem, hidden in Egypt, raised in Nazareth, baptized in the Jordan, and tempted in the wilderness. Christ performed miracles on the roadside, healed multitudes without medicine, and charged nothing for his services. He conquered everything that came up against Him. Then, Jesus Christ took our sins up to Calvary and died for the world. He was buried in Joseph’s new tomb and on schedule rose out of the grave with the power of His omnipotence.
Someone has said, “Christ dug deep the gorges, piled up the hills, and probed up the mountains with His will. The moon and the stars leaped on His arm. He did not have to write His signature on the corner of a sunrise because He is the creator. He did not have to place a laundry mark in the lapel of a meadow because He is the owner. He did not have to carve His initials in the side of the mountain because He is the titleholder. Christ did not have to put a brand on the cattle of a thousand hills because He is the proprietor. He did no have to take out a copyright on the songs the birds sang because Christ is the author.”
Jesus Christ stands for free healing and full salvation. Today social scientists are able to put a new suit on man, but only Christ can put a new man in a suit. Jesus precedes all others in their priority, exceeds all others in their superiority, and succeeds all others in their finality. Indeed, Jesus is the conquering Christ of Christmas! Third, in order to ensure that our conquering Christ is central to our Christmas celebration, we need to:
III. RESPECT HIS PATERNAL PASSIONS (Is. 9:6 c)
According to Isaiah, Jesus is the “eternal Father” (Is. 9:6). Literally, since the triune nature of God had not been revealed to Isaiah, he is expressing that Christ is Father until everlasting. Christ will still be God after eternity begins. He will be God long after America lies in the dust somewhere. He will be God when our fleeting and vaporous life we now have is gone. He will still be God when the stars leap at His command from their present orbit, and the earth melts with fervent heat from the gaze of Him whose eyes are like fire. He will still be God after all our confusions are wonderfully resolved in a heavenly understanding. He will still be God when all our weaknesses become strengths. He will still be God after our defeats become victories. He will still be God when our Sinai sojourn through the wilderness of this life gives way to the vestibule of eternity. Indeed, Jesus is the conquering Christ of Christmas! Last, in order to ensure that our conquering Christ is central to our Christmas celebration, we need to:
IV. RECOGNIZE HIS PRIESTLY POLICIES (Is. 9:7)
Isaiah calls Jesus the “prince of peace” (Is. 9:6) and describes His domain (Is. 9:7). This passage is prophetic because it will not be fully actualized until the millennium. During the millennial reign of Christ, our savior will rule and reign over all the earth. The establishment of the domain will rest upon the Lord’s shoulders. The extent of this kingdom is summed up in the words of Isaiah: “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace” (Is. 9:7). The expansion of this millennial empire will materialize when Jesus is on the throne and judgment and justice in the land.
It is going to be different when Jesus comes back again. The first time He rode a donkey. The next time He will ride a white horse. The first time He stood before Pilate. This time Pilate will stand before Him. At first, Jesus was rejected, but at the last every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. At Christ’s first advent He wore a crown of thorns. At his second, He will wear the diadems of glory. There is coming a day when Jesus Christ will make walking on water look like child’s play when He steps out of eternity into time and walks on the clouds. There will be a rainbow of victory wrapped around His shoulders. There will be a smile on His face. At that moment, the laws of gravity, time, and space will simultaneously collapse, and His disciples will instantly be standing on the shores of heaven. Hollywood and glitz will be replaced with holiness and godliness!
Will Christ be the center of this Christmas season or will you have a Christless Christmas? If you desire for the conquering Christ of Christmas to be central to all your celebration, then respond to His profound principles, remember His personal powers, respect His paternal passions, and recognize His priestly policies.