“May our God come and not keep silence; fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him.”
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.
–“Sound of Silence”
by Simon and Garfunkel
In 1970, Michael Viner, a wide-eyed thirty year old entrepreneur, was desperate to make his splash in the music recording industry. He had no backing, no contracts or agent, so he spent his life savings to press several thousand copies of an album he titled, “The Best of Marcel Marceau.”
(some of you caught that)
It was a 35-minute recording of absolute silence interrupted by occasional applause. Newsweek and Billboard magazines picked up the bizarre story and soon mail orders poured in. In the end, Viner’s new-found capital allowed him to seriously pursue the music career he so desired.
In a Baby’s cry, two thousand years earlier, the Word spoke out of silence and the angels applauded. The world in all its silent stillness lay on that very Silent Night, Holy Night as a baby’s coos, giggles and cries hung on the the frosty night air on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
It didn’t just happen; it was planned. Right down to the very town and time as well as the players involved, including a very shy and innocent virgin. Intricate details, like where this Child would grow up, even where and how He would die. What’s more, it had been planned and scripted for hundreds, yea thousands of years! 332 clues and prophecies to all of these and more are found perfectly preserved in the living pages of the Old Testament.
The gospeler Matthew tells us about His Life through the formulaic saying, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying…” He used this phrase twelve times in his gospel (1:22; 2:15,17,23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 26:56 and 27:9 and 35). Twelve. The number of government.
“And the government will rest upon His His shoulders…”
There was more build-up, more family planning to this Baby, the Child Jesus, than any other human that has ever lived. Not for Muhammed. Nor can it be said of Zoroaster or Guatama Buddha. The Savior’s prenatal wasn’t nine months. It was thousands of years! The baby announcements were sent out as far back as in the Garden, when God walked the earth among Adam and Eve.
“He will crush your head and you will strike His heel.”
The Lord spoke these words to Lucifer, the one-time cherub, whose name meant ‘star of the morning’. While he served as the guardian of the Throne of God, he was a walking kaleidoscope of color, a prism of light reflecting off the One whom he served. After his fall, however, his name meant far less the light of morning as it did the darkness that surrounds the morning star, reflecting his transformed nature and character. This curse was to assure the anti-God that he may have led Adam and all humanity into sin but he had sealed his own doom as the enemy of God and would incur His wrath forever.
You recall that Jesus was also called the Morning Star but the name given Him speaks of dawn, resurrection and life. Lucifer, the ruler of darkness, faded when the Son rose to greet the new Day!
The Genesis prophecy led a string of over 60 major prophecies with regard to the First Advent of Christ along with those aforementioned 332 minor prophecies that gave details of His life and death. Little details like His vocation. His style of teaching. That gifts would be brought to Him. His hometown. His rejection immediately after he rides into the City on a donkey, welcomed as a Messiah. That He would be betrayed and sold for thirty pieces of silver. Pierced. Crucified. Buried in a rich man’s sarcophagus.
And then, nothing. Silence. It’s like He was the featured front-page article, the headliner, the lead story, then the story gets buried. For 400 years! All was silent. When the Old Testament record closes, nothing more is heard by way of revelation or prophetic voice for four centuries. Heaven’s print shop and messengering service had shut down.
…The Father was waiting. The Son waited. The Holy Spirit waited. All Heaven held its collective breath, knowing the story was not finished. Anticipating. Tuning their harps and lyres. Angelic choirs getting their pipes ready to break forth in beauteous song!
…A Baby wails and the Word, voluntarily held back, announces He is here and He is the ‘logos’ in FULL VOICE! All the prophecies and all those announcements by the Angel Gabriel to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds—these were like the sounds of one clearing one’s throat to get the earth’s attention, to demand that we listen up.
I love the narrative in John 9 which takes place sometime between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Festival of Lights (Hannukah), our Christmastime. The main character is a young fellow born blind but he also suffers from deafness. Oh, I know you won’t find that in the text because it wasn’t physical deafness. His was spiritual. After Jesus restores his sight, the young man is found in the Temple where Jesus again encounters him. With eyes healed, the Son of God now wants to focus on the boy’s heart—by way of his ears.
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” Jesus asks him.
“Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in (Greek eis, meaning ‘into’) Him?”
Now notice our Lord’s wonderful, glorious response:
“You have both seen Him, and He is the One talking to you!”
I love that! The Word made flesh was communicating to a single person in a moment when the boy would be hearing Him. Why do I believe that if I were the only lost person on earth that needed saving, that Jesus would STILL have come for me? Because of verse 35:
The verb ‘finding him’ is an aorist participle meaning that our Lord, the ‘logos’ of God, labored much in looking for this young man. He had something to TELL him: the good news! And the Savior went to great lengths to make sure He was heard. Give thanks this season that the Word made flesh, crucified, risen and ascended to glory has spoken to you!
Jesus said, “the One who is talking to you is He.” That’s the coolest thing He could have said in that seminal moment. Just think:
- the same One who spoke forth His creation
- the same One who commanded the sun, moon and stars to shine
- the same One who called to Abraham and made from him a chosen people
- the same One who spoke to Job from the whirlwind
- the same One who warned Pharaoh
- the same One who sang over David
- the same One who cried, “It is finished!”
He is the One who has communicated His love to you! And since He is the Word, He is still talking and will go on talking forever. A word for those of you to whom God seems silent: never fear, there is a word forming on the lips of God for you. He who is the Word will not be silent for long.
And a word for you, devil of hell: He who had the First Word also has the Final Word. You, who tried to silence the Baby’s cry, will have the judgment of Almighty God echoing in your ears for all eternity.
We have heard You, Lord, and give thanks for the Word of Life.
“The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard…”