Saturday, December 12, 2009

Third Sunday in Advent: Jesus who is Wonderful

Third Sunday in Advent: Jesus who is Wonderful

“For a child shall 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, Mighty 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 host will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

One of the funny yet beautiful passages in the Bible that I have written about is the way in which God gave instructions to the mother of Samson about his birth and how she was to take care of him. You can read about the funniness of it in this posting. But the important part is that it is the “angel of the Lord” that brings instructions to Samson’s mother. In those final scenes as the couple make a sacrifice to the angel of the Lord who has refused to give them his name, he says, “Why do you ask my name seeing it is wonderful?” (Judges 13:18)

The next thing that happens is that the angel of the Lord goes up in the flame from the sacrifice, and Manoah, Samson’s father, and his mother realize they have been instructed by God. The Tyndale Commentary on Ruth and Judges notes that “The angel of the Lord is regularly used in the Old Testament to denote the manifestation of the Lord Himself in a theophany.”

The Lord whose name is wonderful is given to us in the Incarnation. Samson was to deliver God’s people from the Philistines; Jesus delivers us from our sins and gives us everlasting life. In his gift of life to us he forever unites us to himself. His kingdom is the true utopia.

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