IV. Sunday of Advent 2016
Coming to the Light of Peace
Reading: Mt 1, 18-24
THE NARRATIVE informs reader being that the events of Jesus’ miraculous conception fulfill a prophecy from the Lord through the prophet Isaiah. The words spoken here may be a continuation of the angel’s message in the dream to Joseph, the only time in Scripture an angel quotes Scripture to clarify how these events fulfill an ancient prophecy.
Matthew looks back to the Old Testament and declares that the birth of the child Jesus, who would save his people from their sins, ultimately fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. The sign given to Ahaz and the house of Judah (“you” in Isa. 7:14 is plural) was God’s miraculous prediction of military salvation from the attack of Pekah and Rezin, but it was also a prediction of a future messianic figure who would provide spiritual salvation from sin. Isaiah’s sign, in other words, demonstrates both that Immanuel’s birth will signal deliverance from invasion for Ahaz and the house of David and that there would be a future messianic deliverer named Immanuel, truly God with us.
This interpretation takes seriously both the immediate context of the prediction to Ahaz in 7:14 and the broader context of Isaiah’s prophecy, in which a future messianic age would honor “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa. 9:1–2) with a child born who would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). Of this one to whom Isaiah points, only Jesus could be the true fulfillment: “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (9:7).
He is the Prince of Peace, he is the Peace and in His light we are coming to the light of Peace.
The angel instructs Joseph to name the child “Jesus,” which is what he is called throughout his earthly life and in the early church. We have no record of Jesus ever being called “Immanuel” by his family or followers. Instead, as Matthew translates it for us, we see that the name is intended as a title to indicate Jesus’ messianic identity: “God with us.” Both his common name and his titular name indicate profound truths: Jesus specifies what he does (“God saves”), and Immanuel specifies who he is (“God with us”). These are highly charged names that speak of a profound Christological orientation by Matthew. Note how he concludes his Gospel with the same theme, where Jesus promises his disciples, “I will be with you always” (28:20). In Jesus Messiah, God is with us indeed.
Activity – How to create the Peace?
Prepare two lists – first list of countries according to their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and second one with just names of countries. After that take bread and divide it into piece – sizes should be in sync with the first list. Then each participant should choose one country (without letting them know the GDP). Distribute pieces of bread to them according to the GDP of the country they’ve chosen. Smallest piece for the poorest country, biggest piece for the richest one. This demonstrate the wealth inequalities in the World. Finally, participants should discuss how to share the bread equally.
Discuss with them how they felt when they had smallest/largest piece of bread and how they behaved and what we can do with inequalities in the World.