A Child Is Born
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A Child Is Born

Isaiah 9:6  (ID: 2916)

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of no ordinary child but one who was born to save and to rule. In this study of Isaiah 9, Alistair Begg reminds us that Jesus is Mediator, beloved Son, Redeemer, Creator, and King. When we consider Christ from this perspective, our eyes are drawn from the manger to the cross and the throne, where our living Savior reigns in power.

Series Containing This Sermon

It is HIStory!

A Journey to the Heart of Christmas Isaiah 9:1–7 Series ID: 27101

Sermon Transcript: Print

Well, I invite you to turn to Isaiah once again, and this time to Isaiah chapter 9, which has been the focus of our study during these Sundays in Advent and which will take us through Christmas Eve and to next Sunday as well, I think. And we’ll read our portion from the first verse of Isaiah 9 through to the end of the seventh verse. It’s page 573 in the church Bibles, if that is of help to you.

“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.

“The people who walked in darkness
 have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
 on them has light [shined].
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.
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.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
 and every garment rolled in blood
 will be burned as fuel for the fire.
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.
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.”


Now just a brief prayer:

Gracious God, what we know not, teach us; what we have not, give us; what we are not, make us. For your Son’s sake. Amen.

I think probably every Christmas since I ever read this quote, I have it in my mind. It’s a quote from Jim Packer, the theologian and professor from England. And it goes as follows: “Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation.” “Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation.” “The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets.”[1] And for many of us, we would affirm that statement, having spent many years of our lives enjoying privileges, such as we have before us now, to take our Bibles and to turn to them and to investigate what they have to say concerning this most staggering claim. And since the first Sunday in Advent, we have been looking at Isaiah 9, and we have been noting the fact that the prophet describes what is yet before him in a way that speaks to us as though it was already past.

Years and years and years before the arrival of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah and his contemporaries wrote. Pitched forward, as it were, in their minds, they described scenes as so certain as if they had already taken place. Obviously, for us, living on the far side of the birth of Jesus, we look back to it, and we realize that what Isaiah is describing here is of impact to us, describing the future as something that has already taken place—so that we read, verse 2, for example:

The people who walked in darkness
 have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
 on them has light [shined].

That is set within a geographical and historical context such as we’ve considered before; we don’t need to go back to it. But we need to realize that when Matthew picks up those verses, he employs them in the arrival of the Lord Jesus himself.

And if you want to make note of this—you needn’t turn to it—but this is how Matthew describes the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. First of all, he tells us that Jesus came into this very region that is referred to here at the beginning of Isaiah chapter 9: “The land of Zebulun … the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea.” And then he quotes from this:

The people dwelling in darkness
 have seen a great light,
… for those dwelling in the region and [the] shadow of death,
 on them a light has dawned.

And immediately, he says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”[2] So for those of you who have difficulty understanding the Bible and reading it, you may want to do what some of us have learned to do, and that is begin to read the Bible, as it were, backwards, so that you can then read the prophecy of Isaiah in light of the way in which it is applied by those who wrote the New Testament.

The longing for justice and for peace and for a renewed moral world order is a representative of the deepest longings of the lives of men and women.

You have the same thing in the prologue of John’s Gospel. Speaking of John the Baptist, John says, “He was not the light, but [he] came to bear witness about the light.”[3] And then he says, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own; his own did not receive him. But to those who received him he gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believed on his name.”[4] “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”[5]

Now, it is all of this and more that Isaiah is pointing to. And we noted in verse 2 what we referred to as the illumination: “The people … walk[ing] in darkness have seen a great light.” Then, in verse 3, we considered the celebration that had emerged as a result of that: increasing the joy of the nation; they rejoice as those who have had a wonderful harvest or have been sharing the plunder as a result of a battle victory. And then, in verses 4, 5, and 6, you have explanation. So you have illumination in verse 2, you have celebration in verse 3, and then the next three verses explain just exactly what’s going on. And you will notice that each verse begins with the word “for,” f-o-r. “For” he is the one who has relieved the burdens: “the yoke of his burden, … the staff [of] his shoulder” this one relieves. In verse 5, he is the one in whom all of the battles come to an end. And as we studied that a couple of Sundays ago, we quoted from the Indonesian commentator who said, “We look forward to the day when we will see not just the destruction of the weapons of war but of our human desire to use them”—quoting there from Isaiah chapter 2: that eventually, there, they will take the weapons of war, and they will beat them into plowshares.[6]

And if you remember, if you were present, we paused for just a moment to acknowledge the fact that the longing for that reality, for justice and for peace and for a renewed moral world order, is a representative of the deepest longings of the lives of men and women. You can test me on this; I don’t think I would guide you wrongly. If you choose in the next day or two to ask people what they’re hoping for, what they’re longing for, you will find that almost without exception, the reply will come back in the same framework: “Well, I would like things to be put right. I would like for love to prevail over hatred. I would like for peace to prevail over war. I would like for wrongs to be righted. I would like for justice to be served. I would like for there to be a moral order in the universe, if even there possibly could be.” Those are contemporary longings, because they are the realistic longings of the heart of a man or a woman—the awareness that deep within us, there is that expectation for somehow or another being set free from the burdens that oppress us and from the battles that ensnare us. In this one who is to come, the burdens are alleviated, and the battles are dealt with.

I was staggered. The thought came to my mind, and then I went to check on it. I would never have guessed this, and I can put it out to you, but this is rhetorical: How long ago do you think it is since John Lennon wrote “War Is Over”? Forty-one years. I was nineteen when he wrote it. I’ll never forget it. He and Yoko had just finished one of their extravagant attempts at world peace by living in a bag or doing something equally outrageous when, in October of ’71, after he and Yoko Ono have launched their great peace initiative, he goes into the studios in New York and recorded the song that has become a Christmas anthem for the last forty-one years:

And so it is Christmas.
We hope you have fun.
The near ones and dear ones,
The old and the young.

And then, in juxtaposition to that, a choir of young people from Harlem, between the ages of four and twelve, singing the plaintive refrain: “War is over, war is over.” “And so it is Christmas. We hope you have fun. War is ov—”[7] Is it? Is it? No, clearly, it isn’t. But the longing remains—a longing in the heart of every man or woman, every boy or girl. Do you want to argue? Do you want to be at war with those who love you? Do you want to be pressed down under the burdens of life? Do you want simply to fight your own battles?

Here, sounding out all these hundreds of years before the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth, comes the prophet, standing on his tiptoes, inquiring diligently into that which he is about to see fulfilled in the person of a baby. A baby! Trying to produce the experience described here in all kinds of ways leaves us feeling flat and empty. So, “For,” in verse 4, the burdens are dealt with. “For,” in verse 5, the battles will be ended. And here’s the great explanation, verse 6: “For to us a child is born, [for] to us a son is given.”

And the emphasis here is on the birth of this child—if you like, on the factuality, on the historicity, of a birth. We tried to point that out when we began this Advent series, telling us that the story of the Bible is his story. It is history. And the biblical story is linear in its progression. When you read the Bible, you find that it is all leading to the person of Jesus of Nazareth and that it is all leading from the person of Jesus of Nazareth and back to him once again.

It’s a really very straightforward story. God makes the world, and it is good. Sin enters into the world, and it is bad. God sends a Mediator and a Redeemer to effect reconciliation, and those who embrace that reconciliation are made new. And one day, this same Reconciler and Mediator will usher in a new heaven and in a new earth, where it will be absolutely perfect, where the song “War Is Over” will be really true, where the burdens will be laid down, where joy will be a reality without anything to mar it, where peace will be deep-seated and everlasting. Now, I say to you, with Packer again, there’s nothing quite so staggering, so fantastic as the story of the incarnation. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”[8] The birth of this child is a gift of God.

Now, in the time that we have—and we don’t have much—let’s at least make an attempt at seeing that what Isaiah does for us here in verse 6, at least in the first half of verse 6, is establish for us the identity of this child, speak to us about the authority of this child, and then—and we’ll never get to this, at least this morning—deal with the activity of this child.

The Child’s Identity

Well, first of all, then, the identity. It’s there for us if your Bible is open: “For to us a child is born.” “A child is born.” “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Jesus came to fulfill the role of Savior, of mediator, so as to bring together God in all of his holiness and man in all of his need.

Now, what we need to realize in this is that the Bible makes absolutely clear the humanity of Jesus. The humanity of Jesus. Throughout church history, heresy has either fallen foul of the notion of creating a Jesus who is less than human or a Jesus who is less than divine. And the creeds throughout the early centuries of the church were really put in place in order to say, “No, this Jesus is absolutely human, and this Jesus is absolutely divine,” in all of the mystery that is there—nothing so staggering in all of the world. Right?

He comes as a child in order to be a Mediator. That’s how Paul puts it in 1 Timothy: he says that “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”[9] For a mediator to do the job, he needs to be able to represent both sides equally. So, when we read our Bibles, we discover that we’re introduced to Jesus, who is God from all of eternity and yet who is human in the womb of Mary. If we might put it in the most obvious and straightforward terms: Jesus emerged through a normal human birth canal. Jesus learned how to put his socks and shoes on—or his sandals—by observation and by instruction. Jesus’ DNA was unique to him. He came to fulfill the role of Savior, of Mediator, so as to bring together God in all of his holiness and man in all of his need. Only a God could bring this about; only man should. And so the could in his divinity and the should in his humanity meet in the work of atonement.

He is not only the Mediator, but he is also the Redeemer—and you have that on the front of your bulletin this morning. You can research this on your own: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman”—there we go—“born under the law,” into our sinful world. Why? “To redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”[10] That’s the significance, again, of the prologue: “He came to his own; his own received him not, but to as many as received him he gave the power to become the sons of God”—adopted into God’s family as a result of his exercising the role of Redeemer, purchasing our salvation.

In Glasgow last week, in a shop front of, essentially, a church, there had been placed a large Christmas card. And the Christmas card had writing on it, and it said, “This gift may not mean much to you, but it cost me everything.” And it was signed, “God.” “This gift may not mean much to you, but it cost me everything.” It was signed, “God.” Because you will notice that not only is a child born, but we’re told, “A son is given.” “A son is given”—speaking to us, again, of the reality of the eternal Sonship of Jesus: that there was never a time when he was not, but he enters into our world; his glory is veiled.[11] “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th’ incarnate deity.”[12] “This is my beloved Son,”[13] says the Father on the occasion of his baptism. “This is my beloved Son; listen to him,”[14] says the Father again in the transfiguration. And John puts it so carefully, doesn’t he, when he says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave [us] his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe[s] in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”[15]

Now, when Peter writes concerning this—not in his first letter, from which we read, but in his second letter—he actually wants to make sure that his readers understand what he is conveying concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus. And this is what he says. Listen carefully: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths”—“cleverly devised myths”—

when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.[16]

So Peter says, “Now, look: if you know anything about me, you know that I flat-out denied Jesus of Nazareth. On the occasion of his crucifixion, I said I didn’t even know him—and I was one of his key followers! But I’m writing to you today to let you know that this Jesus whom I denied is actually alive, that he rose from the dead. And what we’re conveying to you is not some kind of mythology that has been cobbled together over time, but we’re actually conveying to you the reality of what took place in time and space, at a geographical point on a compass and at a moment in time in history. We were there. We were on the mountain. We heard this voice.” And keep in mind that he was about to get himself killed for the sake of his affirmation. That’s how strongly his life was impacted by the message that he conveyed.

And when you take your Bible like this and you read it, you realize why we do a disservice to every aspect of Jesus when we isolate one piece from another—when we take, for example, the story of the incarnation, of Christmas, and try and understand it apart from the story of Easter, because the incarnation only makes sense in light of Easter; or when we try and consider Easter apart from—in terms of his death—apart from the reality of his resurrection. Because it is only insofar as we have a Savior who is alive that his death has any significance and his birth is even worth considering. I mean, why gather together to revere the memory of a Galilean carpenter who lived for thirty-three years? Why would the whole world stop just to think about somebody who did a few miracles? No, you see, it is the fact that he is alive today, and that because he is alive, it proves that his sacrifice was accepted by the Father, and his sacrifice was that for which he came. There can be no salvation from sin unless there is a Savior who is alive.

His identity is as a child born, as a Son given.

The Child’s Authority

We’ll say just a word concerning his authority. Notice: “And the government shall be upon his shoulder.” “The government shall be upon his shoulder.” We’ve already had mention of the shoulders. Verse 4:

For the yoke of his burden,
 and the staff for his shoulder,
 the rod of his oppressor,
 you have broken.

No, you see, it is on account of the fact that he shoulders the burden of rule that he is able to relieve the burden that is upon our shoulders.

We often say to one another, “Why would you worry about all of that? Your shoulders aren’t broad enough to handle it.” Are your shoulders broad enough to bear the burdens with which you’ve arrived this morning? Do you have broad enough shoulders to contain a head that is wise enough to deal with the battles and disruptions and disquietudes that mark your life? No, you would have to be honest and say, “No, I’m going to have to look somewhere outside of myself, somewhere beyond myself, if I’m going to achieve that.”

It is on account of the fact that Jesus shoulders the burden of rule that he is able to relieve the burden that is upon our shoulders.

And here again is this staggering claim: that the child that is born is “born a child and yet a king.”[17] When the wise men showed up, you remember what they asked: “Where is he [who] is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and [have] come to worship him.”[18] Because this child is born to rule. There is dignity in this child—a dignity that is obscured, albeit, by his birth. Nobody would have gone to the stable in Bethlehem and said, “Oh, in here this morning, with this slip of a girl, is the answer to the issues of the entire universe.” Nobody would have gone there to say that.

In fact, at the other end of his life, nobody would have gone to the hill outside of Calvary and said, “Oh, there up on that cross, that bloody piece of humanity—that must be the answer to the universe. That must be the answer to all of our disquietude and our battles and our burdens.” Nobody would say that, would they? Nobody did say that. His disciples didn’t even say that. Do you know the only person that did, the only person that we know got it? Was the thief! Suddenly, in a moment of insight, the man says, “We’re up here getting what we deserve. This fellow’s up here, and he hasn’t done anything wrong.” Then he must have said to himself, “Well, maybe what he’s doing is paying the price for what I’ve been doing. I might as well ask him. Hey! Hey! You got a kingdom or something?” “Yeah.” “Can I get in it? Any… Any chance? I mean, I ain’t going nowhere fast—or I am going somewhere fast. But I…” “Yeah. Yeah, today you’ll be with me.”[19] “Now, where did you get the authority to say that? Who are you on this cross? ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’![20] What do you know about paradise? Who gave you the keys to paradise? How could you determine what you’re going to do?” You see, when you read the Bible, you’re stuck with this Jesus—this incontrovertible Christ, this unruly character.

That’s what the disciples discovered. “We’re the fisherman. We know about boats. We know about currents. We know about seas. We’re in charge of the seas. Don’t you worry about a thing. Have a sandwich, Jesus. Lie down at the back. We got you covered. We’ll see you at the far end of the voyage.” And Jesus is asleep. They wake him up: “Jesus, we’re all drowning. We thought we’d just let you know before we all go down.” So they wake up the creator of the universe to let him know he’s finished; his number is up. He stands up, and he says, “Hey, that’s enough; that’s enough for now”—calms the seas with a word. And what do they say? “What manner of man…” “What manner of man is this?” They didn’t say, “This is a phantom.” They didn’t say, “This is a Hindu avatar.” “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the [waves] obey him!”[21] Because they knew, as good Jews, that the Old Testament taught them that the only person that was in control of the universe was God himself. Only God can control the universe. He stands up in the boat, and he controls the universe. And they said, “Who is this?”

So you see, that’s the real question. That’s the question you’ve got to answer as a skeptic. That’s the question you’ve got to answer as an inquirer. You’ve got to finally decide for yourself: Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Who is he? His authority is unparalleled. Who else could tell the demons to come out and be silent? Who else can say to the paralyzed man, “[Take] up your bed and go home,”[22] and everyone goes, “That’s unbelievable”? Who is it can meet a lady at a well who’s had five husbands and a live-in lover and tell her, “If you listen to me, I’ll give you living water, and you’ll never thirst again,”[23] and he himself is the living water? “Who is he,” as the hymn writer puts it, “in yonder stall,” in the manger stall, “at whose feet the shepherds fall?”

Who is he [who] stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps? …

… Who is he [who] from his throne
Rules through all the world alone?[24]

He is the one on whose shoulders all authority lies. Is there anything as staggering as such a claim? Bonhoeffer, as he writes from prison in his day, says of this, with the cross, all the sin and distress of the world is loaded on those shoulders. His shoulders are broad enough to bear the burdens, to bring the battles to an end.[25]

And we need this Christ. Since I last stood before you for our last study in Advent, our society has witnessed once again its complete inability to enjoy the peace for which men and women long. And the events in the Northeast are more than matched by the events throughout our broken world. Horace, the Latin dramatist, taught his students in the art of stage play writing that they should never introduce a god—small g—never introduce a god into their play unless things had got into such a dreadful tangle that only a god could bring about the resolution.[26] What the Bible says is that our things are in such a dreadful tangle, and only God can bring about the resolution.

If education could do it, we’d be fixed, wouldn’t we? We’re as educated as any nation in the world. If social engineering could do it, we would be absolutely fine. People would be coming here for vacation just to see the tranquility of it all. They’re not doing that. They’re looking across the nation, they’re looking across the oceans going, “Who are those people over there? How did they get themselves like that?” The policies of government are not irrelevant, but they’re ultimately incapable. The progress of man in science and in medicine is unable to heal the heart, soothe our disappointments, bear our burdens, or relieve our guilt. Where are you going to go? Where are you going to go?

And the Christmas songs make it worse! You say, “Now you’ve lost your mind.” No, I haven’t lost my mind. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”[27] How? “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”? Does that mean “Have a merry little Christmas by yourself”? You know, lock yourself in a room and have one by yourself, ’cause you sure can’t have it with Aunt Mabel, who just showed up, or with, you know, Cousin Tommy, who’s got his miserable dog with him again this year. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” The person says, “I can’t have a merry little Christmas; I am an unhappy little soul. The burdens oppress me. I’m embattled. I’m embittered.” “I’m dreaming of a…”[28] What a sad song that is! It is! The fellow is in Los Angeles, wishing he was in the snow. We’re in the snow, wishing we were in Los Angeles. There’s no answer, you see. The answer is here. The answer’s here.

I don’t know if you’ve gone to see The Hobbit. I haven’t yet. I will when I pluck up the courage. But when we get there, it’s going to be great. At least some of it’ll be great. Because you’ve got all these little creatures with the little, you know, green aprons and yellow hats and the blue hat and everything. I love those things. Because as I’ve told you before, I actually—I believe in them. I believe in them. I want so badly to believe in them. Don’t you? You see, that’s why Tolkien wrote that stuff. He said, “I wrote those fairy stories for adults so that I might cut the umbilical cord to the fact that they are entrenched in” what he referred to as worldliness—that they are trapped in the here, and they’re trapped in the now, and they know that there must be something beyond here, beyond now. There must be something beautiful. There must be something transcendent. There must be another place where love triumphs over hate, where peace rules over war, where nations live in harmony with one another, where the lion lies down with the lamb. And the fairy stories point to that reality.[29] And, said Lewis when he and Tolkien got together in the pub in Oxford, this is the answer, then, is it not? That when you come to Jesus of Nazareth, when you come to Isaiah 9, you don’t come to… Well, in one sense, you come to the ultimate fairy story, in the right definition of fairy, in the Tolkien definition of fairy. In other words, you come to the reality to which all the fairy stories point.

Where are you going to get this world? How are you going to get this burden dealt with? How will all these battles be brought to an end? There is nothing as staggering in the entire world as the story of the incarnation: that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us[30] because he was counting our sins against him, so that he who knew no sin became sin for us, in order that we in him might become the righteousness of God.[31] There’s a lot to think about, isn’t there? It’s a lot to be thinking about.

And when Jesus takes his leave of his newly invigorated followers, he looks them in the eye, and remember what he said to them? “All authority…” “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”[32] Think of the greatest ruler that has ever existed. They don’t have “all authority.” Only one person has all the authority: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government [will] be upon his shoulder[s].”[33]

Let me end by asking you this: Have you bowed beneath the authority of Christ? Have you bowed down and admitted that your shoulders cannot carry your burdens, cannot alleviate your battles, cannot fix your dilemmas? If you will, you will discover that he takes them—takes them, as Bonhoeffer says, on his shoulders in the cross in order that we need not. There’s no story I have discovered that is as good as this story. I commend it to you.

Let us pray:

O God, help us. Help us not to get lost along the line of these things. Anything that is unclear, help us to forget it; untrue, remove it. That which is of yourself, may it linger in our recollection until we come and bow down before you and admit, as C. S. Lewis did, that you are God, even as reluctant converts but converts nevertheless, humble enough to acknowledge that we can’t fix these things and to ask you to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And then help us to go into the world and tell this wonderful story—to live it, tell it—so that others may come to rest in the joy and the peace and the forgiveness and the freedom from guilt, because you promised that our sins you will remember no more because you cast them into the depths of the ocean.[34] Wow! Thank you. Amen.


[1] J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1973), 46.

[2] Matthew 4:15–17 (ESV).

[3] John 1:8 (ESV).

[4] John 1:9–12 (paraphrased).

[5] John 1:14 (ESV).

[6] See Isaiah 2:4.

[7] John Lennon and Yoko Ono, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (1971). Lyrics lightly altered.

[8] Luke 2:11 (ESV).

[9] 1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV).

[10] Galatians 4:4–5 (ESV).

[11] Graham Kendrick, “The Servant King” (1983).

[12] Charles Wesley, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1739).

[13] Matthew 3:17 (ESV). See also Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22.

[14] Mark 9:7 (ESV). See also Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35.

[15] John 3:16 (KJV).

[16] 2 Peter 1:16–18 (ESV).

[17] Charles Wesley, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” (1745).

[18] Matthew 2:2 (KJV).

[19] Luke 23:41–43 (paraphrased).

[20] Luke 23:43 (ESV).

[21] Matthew 8:27 (KJV). See also Mark 4:41; Luke 8:25.

[22] Matthew 9:6; Luke 5:24 (ESV). See also Mark 2:11; John 5:8.

[23] John 4:10, 14 (paraphrased).

[24] Benjamin Russell Hanby, “Who Is He in Yonder Stall?” (1866).

[25] “Sermon Meditation on Isaiah 9:6–7, Christmas 1940,” in Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, vol. 16, Conspiracy and Imprisonment: 1940–1945, ed. Mark S. Brocker, trans. Lisa E. Dahill (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006), 613.

[26] Horace, Ars Poetica, lines 191–92.

[27] Ralph Blane, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (1943).

[28] Irving Berlin, “White Christmas” (1942).

[29] J. R. R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories” (1947).

[30] See 2 Corinthians 5:19.

[31] See 2 Corinthians 5:21.

[32] Matthew 28:18 (ESV).

[33] Isaiah 9:6 (KJV).

[34] See Micah 7:19.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.