ADVENT MEDITATIONS No.29
29. A Son is Born!
Isa 9:6 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As we have gone through these Advent meditations, there has been a tendency to try to put ourselves in the place of the people concerned, in order to catch the reality of the events and the possible impact upon us today. In doing this we have almost ignored the baby! In a sense the baby is the most important person in the story but, by necessity, we focus on the people involved with the baby. In the last of these meditations we now seek to remedy that by looking at this Old Testament prophecy about this coming one.
A child…. a son is given….. the prophecy is all about a male human baby yet to be born who, from the descriptions that follow, will be far from ordinary, who will be ‘given’ as a gift from God!
…. and the government will be on his shoulders… he will carry the burden of rule, a quaint way of saying he will be a king.
….And he will be called…. when you call somebody something, you are acknowledging who or what they are.
Wonderful Counsellor… this is literally wonder-counsellor or supernatural counsellor, one who will come with great wisdom and insight that is beyond human capability. When Jesus came he came with a different level of teaching (Mk 1:23,27, Mt 22:33) and knew what people were thinking (Mt 12:25, Mk 2:8, Lk 5:22, 6:8, 11:17) and stopped with mouths of the religious teachers with his wisdom and insight.
Mighty God… what a staggering prophetic claim! The word mighty gives no room to go off into wondering if the prophet was going off into some fantasy New Age speculations, (“we are all gods”). No this is Isaiah saying this child will be Almighty God. Of course, as we’ve noted a number of times, this defies our intellect and was therefore a stumbling block for the Jewish teachers. But this is at the core of the Christmas story – today we celebrate the coming of God Himself to live on the earth in human experience!
Everlasting Father… again there is no room given by the prophet for us to speculate about this coming child. Everlasting has to speak of God Himself for no other being is eternal or everlasting. The concept of God as Father was limited in the Old Dispensation, and only came to fullness when God came in the form of His “Son”. Contrary to the so-often terrible role models of today, this Father is a faithful, caring, compassionate and understanding provider who is always there for His children – which is what He calls us when we come to Him (Jn 1:12, 1Jn 3:1). Within these latter two descriptions so far, is the sense of unity. Jesus is the Son, but he’s also one with the Father (Jn 10:30 ,38, 14:9). John makes over 110 references to the Father in his Gospel! He understood something of the incredible concept that Jesus was sharing.
Prince of Peace…. a prince is a son of a ruler… hence Jesus the Son of the Almighty Ruler of all things. His role? To bring peace between God and man, to reconcile us sinners to Holy God (Rom 5:11, 2 Cor 5:19). This is what this baby is going on to do. Without him we would be estranged from God and could never know the wonder of His loving acceptance and the blessings that follow.
That is the wonder of this day – God has come to bring the means to bring us to Himself. Rejoice in it! Celebrate it! Worship Him! Have I received this gift from God? Has Jesus become the ruler of my life? Have I acknowledged him for who he is? Is he my counsellor, the one who knows all about me and who guides me? Do I acknowledge him as God? Is he the way to my knowing the Father, the one who cares for me and provides for me? Have I received the peace he brings?
If I can respond in the affirmative to all these questions then the only thing left is to thank God for all of those things – for my gift of life, the leader of my life, the bringer of wisdom and all else that I need, my entry to heaven, my peace here on the earth.
Lord I thank you for all these things. Thank you for this day! Thank you for Jesus!