Merry Christmas! If you want to really have a very Merry Christmas, I encourage you to either discover what Christmas (in its true form) is or remember what the celebration is by reading Luke 2 and Matthew 1:18-25.
On this Christmas morning, let me take you back 700 years before the birth of Christ and read a prophecy penned by the Prophet/Scribe Isaiah: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness 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. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV).
I want to take a few minutes of your time to examine and highlight a few important points of this prophecy.
First, I want you to notice that “a child is born” but “a son is given.” God became flesh in the child who was born, but He did not first take form in that child. He was from everlasting so while the child is born, the eternal son is given because He always was and always will be! The eternal God became a man in the birth of Jesus.
Second, the term “wonderful” was a Hebrew term reserved for God alone. Modern man tends to miss this important truth as we use the term wonderful often very loosely. When Isaiah writes that this Son given as a child born “Will be called Wonderful,” in the Hebrew mind of his day there was no question that this child was in fact God. Unfortunately, we further miss this point when we tend to add Counselor as the noun and think of wonderful as the adjective. That is not the case in the original language! Wonderful and Counselor are both seen as nouns. This second term reminds us that this child is God come near to us; God along side of us!
Third, lest we miss the nuances of Isaiah’s first words, he removes all doubt regarding the identity of this child in the manger, “And He will be called, Mighty God.” Jesus was not a mere man; a simple but profound religious teacher, he was God in the flesh. Isaac Watts put it this way, “Veiled in flesh the God-head see, hail incarnate Deity.” Andy Stanley says that “Jesus was God in a bod!” That is who the baby we celebrate is! Never forget that, if you do you miss the whole meaning of this day we celebrate.
Fourth, and driving the point home, Isaiah says the child who is born is in fact “the everlasting father.” These descriptive phrases of Jesus remove any question of His true identity to anyone but the most avowed unbelievers.
Finally He is called, The “Prince of Peace.” Many today ask “If Jesus was the Prince of Peace, why is there so little peace in the world today?” The implication is Isaiah was wrong and by extension either God’s promise was wrong or Jesus was not really who Christians claim him to be!
Not so fast! If you really want “Peace on Earth,” it begins by accepting God’s greatest gift to us, the given Son. How can you expect to have peace if you reject the “Prince of Peace?”
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Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org or email [email protected].