Behold the Savior

Posted: December 25, 2014 in Isaiah, Thoughts
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Christmas Eve 2014 – “Behold the Savior”

Isaiah 42:1–9, "(1) “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. (2) He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. (4) He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” (5) Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: (6) “I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, (7) To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. (8) I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. (9) Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”"

We read the Christmas story tonight – now put yourself in the place of the people who were there.  Can you imagine being with the shepherds that night?  There you are, doing the things you’ve always done on the outskirts of town (because no one really wanted you around in the first place), when all of a sudden the night sky explodes with light as an angel appears, telling you of the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord.  He would bring good news of glad tidings to all people (even you, as a shepherd!).  The bright light is joined by a symphony of sound as a multitude of angels begin to praise God.  The heavenly chorus blasted through the still night air, echoing through the Bethlehem countryside.

The angel told the shepherds to go see the Child, and they did.  How could you NOT go see this thing for yourself?  It’s doubtful the shepherds could have been held back if someone tried.  Coming with “haste” (an understatement in the Bible if ever there was one), the group of shepherds found the Holy Family and saw the Child spoken of by the angel.

Surely the words of Isaiah rang true at that moment: “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!”  There they were, beholding the Elect Servant of God – the one that would bring the salvation of God to all the world. As they gazed upon the newborn infant, they were gazing upon the eternal Son of God.  As they wondered at this helpless babe, they looked upon the Omnipotent God.  What wonder!  What amazement!  To “behold” the Servant chosen by God to save the world.

In this prophecy from Isaiah, God told Isaiah several things about this Servant – the One whom God has chosen and upheld.  Some of these things were only barely evident about Jesus as He lay in the manger, but they were nonetheless true and would prove themselves over time.

  • God “delights” in Him.  The Servant sent by God is not one whom God despises; it’s one in whom the Lord delights.  Keep that in mind when Jesus is hanging from the cross & cries out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  For God to send His only Son into the world to die for our sin is an amazing sacrifice.  The Father loves the Son more than we can possibly imagine…He delights in His Son.  And yet He also was willing to give the Son in whom He delights as a substitution and sacrifice for us.
  • God’s Spirit is “upon” Him.  The Man Jesus was not simply any other man; He was the God-Man, the Incarnate Son of God, and God the Holy Spirit rested upon Him in a way that was unique in the history of the world.  Jesus was empowered by God to do the work of God, and He has the authority to give that same power to all who follow Him in faith.  Because God the Holy Spirit was upon Christ Jesus, God the Holy Spirit can also come upon Christians.
  • He is righteous.  Isaiah wrote that “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.”  The Servant of God is one who is utterly righteous in every respect.  He shows no partiality to the Jew or the Gentile, and one day His righteous justice will be known in every nation, land, and language all over the earth.
  • He is meek and humble.  Jesus would not “cry out” nor would He break “a bruised reed.”  His humility is exquisitely seen at His birth in Bethlehem.  There He was, the Almighty Son of God, through whom God the Father created all the universe – lying as a Babe in a manger.  Jesus had created the tree that had been cut down and formed into the very lumber that held Him.  Jesus had created Mary, knitting her together in the womb of her mother – all the while knowing that one day He would be formed together incarnate in her womb.  Truly this is the humility of God the Son!  And His humility would not stop with His birth.  As He grew, He continued to live in meekness, tenderly calling sinners to Himself who were in need of salvation.  He still calls sinners today.  He called you & me – not in fierce condemnation, but in loving meekness, offering to save us from our sin and give us new life.  Praise God for our meek Savior!
  • He establishes justice by His might and rule.  Jesus is humble, but that is not all that He is.  He also has great might and power that will be seen when “He has established justice in the earth.”  Jesus came first in humility, but He is coming back in victory.  He began the kingdom of God when He walked the earth and went to the cross, but the kingdom will come into full fruition when Jesus one day walks the earth again, having defeated the devil and every other enemy of God.
  • He is called by the Creator God. The prophecy given by God to Isaiah goes into great detail of how God “created the heavens and stretched them out” – why?  Because it is this God who “called [the Servant] in righteousness.”  When Jesus was sent into the world, He came with all of the power and authority of God.  The Son of God had been given a mission by His Father, and the Son saw it through to perfect completion.  The Creator God sent Jesus to restore fallen creation, and it is all made possible through Jesus’ death and resurrection from the cross.
  • He fulfills God’s covenant promises to the Jews.  The Servant was given “as a covenant to the people” – which people?  The Jews.  Which covenant?  The One stretching back to Abraham.  Jesus fulfills all of the covenant promises made by God to His people.  From the very beginnings of the Hebrew people, God promised to send Someone through whom all the world would be blessed.  That Someone is Jesus.
  • He is the “light to the Gentiles.”  The Jews had the revelation and light of God given to them in the Scriptures; the Gentiles had only the revelation of creation around them.  That was enough to convict them of their sin, but not enough to bring them to salvation in Christ.  Jesus gave them (gives us) that revelation.  He shines the light of God’s love upon the people who are utterly lost in darkness.  Have you seen the light of Christ?  Have you rejoiced in the light that He gives?
  • He gives true sight and true freedom.  When Isaiah prophesied that the Servant of God would “open blind eyes” – that was true literally and figuratively.  Jesus did indeed heal the blind.  But far worse than blindness of sight is the blindness that is brought on by sin.  Someone can be physically disadvantaged and still go to heaven through faith in Christ; someone who is spiritually blind is left eternally doomed, unless God intervenes.  The good news of Christmas is that God DID intervene.  We were blinded by our sin – we were imprisoned, left as slaves unto death, but God sent Jesus to change all of that.  He sent Jesus to give sight to the blind, and lead us out of the prison of sin and death.
  • He receives the praise and glory of God.  God will not give His “glory” to another, nor His “praise to carved images,” but He will certainly give His glory to the living Lord Jesus.  He shares in the name and praise of God because He is God.  He is Jesus, “Our God is salvation.”  He is Immanuel, “God with us.”  He is glorious!

What a description of the Babe in the manger, and Lord of all the universe!  Christian, behold your God & Savior!

Tonight, we celebrate His birth, but the reason we do is because of what His birth makes possible: His life, His death, His resurrection, and ultimately our forgiveness from God and salvation.  When we behold the Babe in Bethlehem, we do not look upon just another baby.  We don’t even look upon just the hint of a promise of something more.  No, when we look at the One lying in the manger, we are beholding the Servant of God – the Savior sent by God – the very Son of God Himself.  We behold the Lord Jesus, the light of the world and the greatness of the glory of God.  This is Who we see and Who we worship.

Is this Who you worship at Christmas?  Christmas is more than gifts, traditions, and reindeer; it is the revelation of the glorious Son of God to all the world.  You can worship Him tonight.  You can behold Him as the Lord by faith.  This Christmas, receive the best gift that has ever been offered: eternal salvation.  From the moment you were born, you were facing death separated from God.  Every one of us is condemned in our sin because we have (at some point) loved evil rather than good.  Every one of us has a death sentence on our heads.  The good news of Christmas is that God gave His Son to change all of that.  God loves us and wants us to be saved.  He doesn’t want any of us to perish, so He gave us Jesus that we would not perish, but live.  So live!  Receive this gift of grace by believing upon Jesus as your Lord and God.  Behold Jesus with new eyes tonight, knowing that He died for you and rose again from the grave.

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