A CHILD CHANGES EVERYTHING
Dr. Chuck DeVane, Pastor
Lake Hamilton Baptist Church
Hot Springs, Arkansas
December 20, 2020
1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. 3 You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 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. 7 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.
— Isaiah 9:1-7, ESV
Isaiah was the pessimistic prophet with the messianic hope. His sermons were dark clouds of gloom and doom, but they contained a silver lining and a golden promise. One day, he prophesied, a child would change everything.
The prophet was gloomy because he lived to see the fall of Israel to the Assyrians and predicted the fall of Judah to the Babylonians. Because of the twin sins of unfaithfulness and idolatry, God allowed His chosen people to become conquered vassals. They were made to chafe under pagan rulers for centuries, under the Assyrians and Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Greeks and Romans. But one day, Isaiah promised with glee, a child born during the Roman occupation would change everything.
Such hopes and dreams are captured in this particular prophecy, Isaiah’s second concerning the birth of a special son. This virgin-born child (ref. Isaiah 7:14) would somehow be a descendent of King David and at the same time the incarnation of Almighty God. This only begotten son would come to set God’s people free and eventually rule and reign over the entire world. This child, in ways and means Isaiah predicted but few have really understood, would change everything.
So it was that seven hundred years after Isaiah, and two thousand years ago, and at a still undetermined time in the future — this child, a son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has changed, does change, and will change everything.
Jesus Changes Contempt into Glory
When the Assyrians came to conquer the ten tribes of Israel in 722 BC, they entered from the north, the land of Zebulon and Naphtali. The Babylonians took a similar route to destroy Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC. This land was “brought into contempt” until Jesus came and made it “glorious.”
There is a little city in Zebulon named Nazareth. And in Naphtali, on the coast of the Sea of Galilee, there is a little fishing village called Capernaum. Nazareth, of course, is where Mary and Joseph are from, and where Jesus grew from a child into a man. Capernaum is the place Jesus made the base of His three years of public ministry. Today people flock to these places to catch a glimpse of where Christ grew up and exercised most of His ministry. No place where, and in no person whom, Jesus is present and worshiped can be called contemptible, only glorious. Jesus changes everything.
Jesus Changes Darkness into Light
“Post Tenebras Lux” is the great theme of The Great Reformation. It means, out of “darkness,” “light.” But the Reformers did not bring us new news, they simply restored the primacy of the old, old story, the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Good king Hezekiah notwithstanding, Isaiah lived in dark days, and would eventually be martyred by the good king’s bad son, Manasseh. But his writings lived on, and so did the light. The early church’s prospects were darkened by terrible persecution. Almost all of the Apostles and many of the early leaders were martyred, too. But they kept preaching the light of the gospel, and that light still shines in the darkness.
The faithful who have gone on before us have passed the torch to us. We would not know God had not the light of the gospel appeared to us, by grace. We cannot see the light and share the light except by faith. The light is Jesus Christ, who changes everything.
Jesus Changes a Nation into a Kingdom
Isaiah’s promise was made to Israel, or technically Judah, but it was not only for Israel. “You have multiplied the nation,” the prophet said to God. The child changes everything, which must include people from every nation.
Jesus changed the Old Covenant into the New Covenant. Jesus changed a small, theocratic republic into a worldwide, spiritual kingdom. Jesus has claimed souls for Himself from every continent, country, and corner of the world. Jesus welcomes all souls from all soils. To those who are called and come to Him, Jesus changes everything.
Jesus Changes War into Peace
The promised child born seven hundred years after the prophet did not complete this change with His first coming, but will fulfill it with His return. There will be a day when every tool of every “oppressor” and every weapon of every “warrior” who sheds “blood” “will be burned as fuel for the fire.”
Of course, peace can be had today, when the war in your heart against God ceases the moment you trust and obey the “Prince of Peace.” This is the most important change in anyone’s life, made by the child who lived and died to grant us a never-ending peace with God. Jesus changes everything.
Jesus Changes God into the Son of Man
Isaiah caught a glimpse of God in a vision (ref. ch. 6) but the Almighty maintained invisibile to His Old Covenant people, Israel. But the child would change that. “For to us a son is born, a child is given.” Jesus changes the invisible to the visible. I use the word change here paradoxically, for one of the attributes of God is His immutability. And, “Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever” (ref. Hebrews 13:8).
But, Jesus did not enter the world as a 33-year-old man. His body changed, from fetus to baby to little boy to adolescent to adult male. And the biggest change is that He was begotten, took on flesh, and became God with us (ref. Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1,14). God became a man so that man could know, love, and live with God. Jesus changes everything.
Jesus Changes Man into Sons of God
Jesus changes you, when you accept Him, as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
God’s word, spoken through the prophets, penned in Holy Scripture, are the most wonderful counsel a man, woman, boy, or girl could ever receive. No change can come to the soul unless it hears and heeds the word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
No change can come to a soul who rejects the absolute deity of the man Christ Jesus. He was, is, and always will be God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Yet He remains a son, Prince, and grants peace, one soul at a time, by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. With Him, you will never be alone. Jesus changes everything, even time.
Jesus Changes Time into Eternity
Jesus changes people with what He accomplished during His first advent. His virgin birth, perfect life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection paves the way for believers to follow. Those who do will be changed forever.
Christ is coming again, to change the place we call heaven and earth, with a new heaven and a new earth. This change will be perfect and permanent. This change will have “no end” and last “forevermore.” Lord Jesus Christ, from beginning to never end, changes everything.
In the first light, of the new day,
No one knew He had arrived.
Things continued, as they had been,
While the newborn softly cried.
But the heavens, wrapped in wonder,
Knew the meaning of His birth.
In the weakness, of a baby,
They knew God had come to earth.
As His mother, held Him closely,
It was hard to understand,
That this baby, not yet speaking,
Was the word of God to man.
He would tell them, of His kingdom,
But their hearts would not believe.
They would hate Him, and in anger,
They would nail Him to a tree.
But the sadness, would be broken,
As the song of life arose.
And the firstborn, of creation,
Would ascend to take His throne.
He had left it, to redeem us,
But before His life began,
He knew He’d come back, not as a baby,
But as the Lord of every man.
Here the angels, as they’re singing,
On the morning of His birth
How much greater, will our song be,
When He comes again to earth!
— Robert John Kauflin
Dr. Charles F. "Chuck" DeVane, Jr., is the Pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. His weekly sermon article, "The Gospel Truth," has been published in newspapers in Arkansas and Georgia. Dr. DeVane is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served in the pastorate for over 20 years. Contact Pastor Chuck at PastorChuck@lakehamiltonbaptistchurch.org