Three Meditations on "The Messiah"

Christmas Festival

Meditation One: The Revelation of the Son 

Even though Psalm 19 says that every day "The heavens are telling the glory of God," nevertheless there is coming a time when the glory of the Lord will be revealed in a way that it has never been revealed before.

It will be revealed, Isaiah says, in such a way that all flesh will see it, and they will see it together. There will not be a person here and a person there saying, "I have seen the Lord, I have seen the Lord."

No more solitary Moses on Mount Sinai. No more solitary Ezekiel with his visions. No more solitary Paul with his ecstasies in the third heaven. But every single human solitary being together will see the glory of Lord.

When? When will this happen? The Lord Jesus tells that it will be at the time of his coming (Matthew 24:29–30):

The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

The Son of Man will come with power and GREAT GLORY. And all the tribes of the earth will see—not just believers—but everyone, all flesh will see it together. Some will rejoice with joy unspeakable as they hear the cry: "Behold your God." And others will mourn and weep and gnash their teeth as they hear the cry, "Behold your Judge."

Think very seriously about this today. If Christianity is anything, it is the promise that Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan, and that his glory will be supreme over all the earth. In the end Satan and all his forces and all who have worshiped him and followed him will be cast in the Lake of Fire.

I believe with all my heart that the day is coming when Jesus will be utterly and totally and gloriously triumphant over all his enemies. This is what keeps me going when I feel sometimes like I am about to drown in a sea of evil.

O that I could persuade every one of you that the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and that when it is, those who have been in love with the world, who have walked in disobedience to Christ, who have played at religion without knowing the power of it, who have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will be so frightened at his appearance there will be nothing but regret and misery for the rest of eternity.

But before the revelation of that awesome glory God planned another revelation first. He ordained that his Son suffer many things. And to suffer many things, he had to become a man. And to become man, he was born of a virgin.

Meditation Two: Isaiah 9:6

The dawn of God's glory was the first coming of Jesus Christ. The high noon of God's glory will be the second coming of Christ. And that is where the sun will stay forever and ever.

The next text that the choir will sing, Isaiah 9:6, describes the glory of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. What we find here is a combination of excellencies that correspond perfectly to needs of our souls.

Consider these four things:

  1. The Lord is a counselor. And that corresponds to my need for wisdom and guidance.
  2. The Lord is mighty. And that corresponds to my need for strength and power to live my life pleasing to the Lord.
  3. The Lord is Father. And that corresponds to my need for firm and gentle care and provision. Especially if I've never known it here.
  4. The Lord is peaceful. And that corresponds to my need for quietness and rest and freedom from trouble and agitation.

But that's not all. What makes the Lord exceedingly glorious is that

  1. His counsel is wonderful. The Lord has better advice for your life than anyone. It is amazingly and wonderfully different from the advice of the world.
  2. His might is divine. (Mighty God!) There is no greater power in all the universe than his. It will prevail over all his enemies. It is full of hope.
  3. His Fatherhood is everlasting. You will never attend this Father's funeral. He will never get old and senile and leave you like an orphan on your own.
  4. His peace is maintained by his princely authority. (Prince of Peace!) The government shall be upon his shoulders as a great prince, and his kingdom will be everlasting peace.

The glory of the Lord has risen upon us. The noonday is not yet. But given what we know now, it will come. And we can live and wait in hope.

Meditation Three: Jesus the Savior

"Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people; for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior . . ."

You know what will make this really good news for you this morning? It will be good news of great joy if you feel like you need a Savior. If you are content without him, if you don't feel like you need him, then he is not your Savior.

Or if you feel like you need him, but only as a Savior from a bad relationship, or from a financial problem, or from sickness, but not from sin, then he is not your Savior.

The angel said to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, "You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." We take him as Savior from sins or we do not take him at all.

But we must be even more careful in the way we say it. For there are many who want Jesus as Savior from the penalty of their sins but not as a Savior from their sins. They want to be saved from the consequences of sin, but not from the corruption of sin. But if you don't want Jesus to save you from the pleasures of sin, and give you a new and deeper set of pleasures, then you don't have Jesus as your Savior.

Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of the devil John says (1 John 3:8), namely, sins. If you try to take him only as sin-forgiver and not as sin-destroyer, you don't take him at all.

Jesus Christ is a glorious Savior! A glorious Savior. He said, "It is not the well who have need of a physician but the sick." He came to save us from the disease of sin. To take him as a sin-forgiver and not a sin-destroyer is like being deathly sick with pneumonia and using the precious antibiotic to rub on your skin.

The doctor says, "You're supposed to swallow it! It goes inside of you!"

But you say, "I don't care for the taste. Besides it feels good on the outside; I think it helps."

"But the medicine is made to fight your disease. You're going to die if you don't take it!"

But you say, "I think it will work this way. I feel better already."

Jesus Christ is a great Savior. He will save from hard relationships and financial problems and sickness. He will save from the penalty and consequences of sin. And he will save from bondage to the fleeting pleasures of sin and give you fullness of joy and pleasures at his right hand forever more. But not if we refuse him as mighty sin-destroyer and only try to use him as sin-forgiver.

Our great duty and our great joy this morning is to worship Christ—the whole Christ, the glorious Christ. Come and worship. Come and worship. Worship Christ the newborn King!

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org