Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Text Isaiah 9:6c Time 17 12 08 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
Some years ago now my mother died, which is a great loss. But I had her for many years and I still have my father, which is a great blessing. Not only that but like many of you I have lived through many years of peace. Such blessings are not to be taken for granted. To have a father who cares for you and to be in a peaceful environment are great blessings many do not know. I want to talk tonight about what it is to know Jesus caring for you and bringing you peace.
We are looking at Isaiah 9:6 a great prophecy of Messiah. We looked before at the first two titles or names given to Messiah here and tonight I want us to look at the second two. We looked last time at
1. Wonderful Counsellor 2. Mighty God
The Lord Jesus is full of both wisdom and power. He is the wisdom and power of God. This is because he is both man and God. He is the God man, the one Mediator between man and God. There is no greater wisdom than the supernatural wisdom found in him. There is not greater power than the Almighty power of God which he wields.
Now this evening I want us to concentrate on the second two phrases here delineating the character of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Everlasting Father 2. Prince of Peace
The first two names really flow from the name he is given back in 7:14 Immanuel (God with us). These next two bring us to the matter of what this Child to be born, this Son to be given, this Wonderful Counsellor, this Mighty God will bring about when he comes. He not only preserves and liberates his people, he does much more.
1. Recognise Jesus Christ as the Everlasting Father
1. He is a father
To refer to the Son as Father seems strange indeed. The reference here is not to the First Person of the Trinity, however. The point here, rather, is that the Messiah will reign like a father. He does this as God because, of course, because he is Mighty God. Like the Father he is A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5). Like God the Father he is one of whom it can be said As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him (Psalm 103:13). Like the LORD he also disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Just as an earthly father deserves honour so Jesus Christ deserves honour too.
In other words, the Lord Jesus is marked by fatherly compassion and by tender care. This sometimes means hard discipline but it is always for the good of those who so suffer. Wasn’t the Lord Jesus like a father to this disciples? How he loved them, how he cared for them. In John 14:18 he says I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. So he deals with all who are his. When he said I am the good Shepherd he was expressing much the same thought. Remember too how he wept over Jerusalem saying he longed to gather them as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Or think of how he speaks in the Sermon on the Mount like a wise father teaching his children.
Do you know the Lord Jesus as a father watching over you? Perhaps you have never thought of his tender and loving care – you ought to. It can be yours through faith in him. Believer, may be you have never thought of the Lord Jesus in this way. You ought to.
2. He is eternal
As before, in other places with the very human epithet of Father comes this clearly divine one of eternal or everlasting. Jesus had no beginning and he will have no end. The point, however, is that he is everlastingly a father to his children. He is ‘Father-Forever’. It is very sad when a parent dies, especially a good one (I can testify). But this Father never dies.
Warning: we all look with hope in one direction or another. If you are not looking to Christ, wherever you are looking cannot last. It will be removed.
Encouragement: if you are looking to the Lord Jesus he will never be taken from you.
2. Recognise Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace
1. He is a prince
The title prince is a royal one. He is a leader, a valiant young leader. Here is David revived and all his promise fulfilled. Here is one who is victorious and who will rule. Cf Ezekiel 34:24, 25 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. He is a prince but he is superior to all kings. See Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. Rev 5:1 Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Who is your prince? Look to Christ, the prince of glory, the prince of life. He has overcome the prince of this earth, the prince of demons.
2. He brings peace
He is not only David but Solomon too. This is the emphasis. His victories lead to peace. The triumphs he brings about lead to peace. He not only brings peace but the methods he uses to secure peace are peaceful means. Other princes gain victory through war, he does so through peace. John the Baptist’s father Zechariah picks this up (in Luke 1:78, 79). He speaks of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. We are very familiar with the words of the angels to the shepherds when Jesus was born too Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
Jesus himself speaks in these terms
Luke 7:50 (woman who'd led a sinful life) Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
8:48 (woman with issue of blood) Then he said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
Often in John 20, 21 Peace be with you!
When weeping over Jerusalem (Luke 19:42) he said If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes.
But how does Jesus actually bring peace about? In Isaiah 53:5 we read But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. By nature we are God’s enemies, we are at war with God but by his death on the cross the Lord Jesus has secured peace for all who trust in him.
The word for peace is a very full one. It does no mean merely the absence of war. It means well being, freedom from anxiety, wholeness, completeness. This is what Jesus Christ brings to his people – peace that transcends understanding, peace with God. The person who knows Messiah has a total peace that cannot be taken away. All his sins are forgiven and he at peace with God. He knows peace in his heart at last. He is then able to be a peacemaker and bring God’s peace to others.
As so often in Scripture, we end with peace (grace, mercy and peace). Verse 7 simply expands on this 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 for ever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. It reminds us of Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you know peace with God? Possession of all who trust in Christ. As Isaiah often says there is no peace for the wicked but to those who look to Christ God says Peace, peace, to those far and near. Paul takes this up in Ephesians 4 (14-18) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Peace is often spoken of, especially at Christmas. It can be yours in Christ. Warning: peace is not the same as complacency or warm feelings. Real peace comes through faith in Christ.
It is very important for believers to make every effort to continue in the peace the Prince of peace has brought. Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. James 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. 2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God

Text Isaiah 9:6b Time 10 12 08 Place Childs hill Baptist Church
Have you ever seen a strong man competition? Or perhaps weightlifting or something like that? It can be interesting for a while. More interesting is something like ‘Brain of Britain’ or 'Mastermind'. I’ve never seen a competition looking for both brains and brawn, wisdom and power. Not always, but it tends to be that those who are thick in the arms are also thick in the head.
I want us to consider tonight one who is both all wise and all powerful. We’re looking at Isaiah 9:6. We’ve already said that this text is clearly a prophecy about the Messiah or Christ. It is one of two famous texts found in the ‘Book of Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7-12). The other is 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. We made the point that the verse shows that the only hope for us is in a Child, a Son to be born and that one is the one Isaiah prophesies here – the Lord Jesus Christ, who was born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago. He is both human – the child born to Mary, and divine – the Son given by God. He has come to his people – to all who are his by faith. We can be absolutely confident in him because, as Isaiah puts it here, The government shall be on his shoulders – the Lord Jesus is the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords – he is the Sovereign Lord whose kingdom can never fail. But more than that, Isaiah goes on to say And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, etc. Already in 7:14 we are told that the child to be born to the virgin will be called Immanuel. As here, this is not a personal name but simply a name that shows us his character. People today tend to choose names for their sound. They want a name that sounds masculine (Samuel, Joshua, Daniel or Jack) or feminine (Emma, Emily, Chloe or Sophie). If the name has a good meaning all the better but it is not the most important thing. In the Bible the meaning of a name is usually more important. Here certainly Isaiah’s concern is not over what the Messiah will be called but over his character, his nature. He was eventually called Jesus/Yeshua – he saves or the LORD saves. Here, however, we have a series of names or titles that sum up in a large measure the character or person of Messiah. So what I want us to do today is to look at these important titles given to Messiah through Isaiah.
Before we look at them there are two important things to sort out.
1. It is important to recognise that they are spoken of Messiah.
There have been Jewish commentators who have tried to understand the verse thus, ‘God who is called and who is Wonder, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, calls his name the Prince of Peace’ but the verse will not bear that and is clearly all about this Child who is born, this Son who is given.
2. Then there is the question of how many names are used of him. The answers vary greatly.
1 Just one name? It has been suggested that we render all the words as one. You know perhaps how some of the more eccentric Puritans sometimes gave their children names such as ‘Praise God’ or ‘Joy in trials’ or even ‘Repent from your sins’. Something similar was known among God’s ancient people. Isaiah himself had a son – Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil). The suggestion then is that the name here is ‘A wonderful thing is counselling he who is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ There are many problems with this idea. One writer calls it ‘sesquipidalian’ (cumbersome and awkward) which it certainly is. Another calls it ‘an unparalleled monstrosity’.
2 Many go for five names. That's how the AV deals with it. John Newton in his sermon (a series on the texts of Handel’s ‘Messiah’) takes it that way as does Handel, of course – Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
3 Vulgate (1 higher) plumps for 6: Admirabilis, Consiliarus, Deus, Fortis, Pater futuri saeculi, Princeps pacis
4. It is more difficult to argue for 7 or 8 but I suppose one could go for – ‘Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty One, God, Everlasting One, Father, Prince of Peace’ or even ‘ … Prince, Peace.’
5. It seems most likely, however, that we have here four names as in the NIV. Why?
1. Despite what I have said the last two names stand in such close relation to each other that they must say Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. The other two pairs also appear to be related quite closely.
2. The way the Massoretic text (ie the main Jewish text) is accentuated suggests four names.
3. This gives the most likely symmetry.
4. By taking the names this way we preserve a further suggested symmetry in that there is an emphasis in the original on the divine and then the human in the first pair and then on the human followed by the divine in the second pair, ie WONDERFUL Counsellor, GOD Almighty, Father EVERLASTING, prince of PEACE.
So we will look this evening at the two phrases Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God and then another time, God willing, at Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. In his commentary E J Young says ‘It is one of the saddest points in the entire history of exposition that in the entire history of exposition that so many have refused to see the true import of these glorious names.’ Let’s not make that mistake.
1. Recognise Jesus Christ as the Wonderful Counsellor1. He is a Wonder
The Word Isaiah uses is not actually wonderful but wonder – that is why the AV translates as it does. I rarely mention what a word is in Hebrew or Greek because to most it is meaningless. The word here though is Pele. I don’t know where the great Brazilian footballer go this nickname but he was often described as a wonder – an inexplicable bundle of talent who was delight to watch and the despair of his opponents on the football field. The Christ is a wonder not in that sense, of course, but his great wisdom, would cause similar astonishment and excitement when he came to this world. The word is used in Psalm 78:12 to refer to the wonderful miracles God did in saving his people out of Egypt. Think of the wonder of the miracle of crossing the Red Sea. Interestingly, in Judges 13:18 when Samson’s future father Manoah asks the visiting angel his name he says it is wonderful ie beyond understanding.
The words wonder and wonderful have become rather devalued in our day. Marvel or marvellous have suffered a similar fate. A wonderful/marvellous opportunity or a wonderful person/a marvel can sometimes be rather ordinary in reality. We should be in no doubt about the strength of the word here, however. The Messiah is clearly God – mysterious and amazing as it is – that is who he would be. Everything about him would be and was and is wonderful in the highest sense – truly amazing, supernatural. From his supernatural conception to his supernatural resurrection and ascension he was a great Wonder.
2. He is a Counsellor
A counsellor is someone who gives you advice, who helps by speaking to you about your needs and what to do. We hear a lot about counsellors these days. Whenever there is a disaster of some sort such as this terrible rail crash a few months ago we are now used to hearing that both the victims and those dealing with them, such as t he police and ambulance drivers. It is recognised that such disasters can be hard to cope with and some are not equipped to face it on their own. And so they are offered professional counselling by those who have been trained to various levels and in various techniques and schools of thought. Modern society recognises that good counselling can be very therapeutic and make the difference between surviving and going under. Now the Messiah will be Wonderful Counsellor.
When a king is on the throne people look to him for wisdom and guidance. The wisdom of Solomon, of course, is famous. Now Jesus was one greater than Solomon – what a wonderful counsellor he was and is. What ever our need we should go to him. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. In Isaiah 11:2 we are told The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. Luke tells us (2:40) that the baby of Bethlehem grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. When he came to his home town, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? they asked (Matthew 13:54).
The idea is perhaps that whereas a king normally surround themselves with many advisors to help them rule this one will not need such counsellors – he himself is the Wonderful Counsellor to whom we all may go in complete confidence. Of course, God’s wisdom is foolishness to men but once our eyes are open to see it what wisdom shines out.
So what we are saying here is that Jesus was both a supernatural counsellor and one who gave supernatural counsel. Think of some of the things he said. For example
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. If we go to him all will be well despite our troubles.
13:24-26 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Of course, Jesus’s wisdom not confined to his own words – all of Scripture is breathed out by the Spirit of Christ. It is all useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It is the Scriptures that are able to make us wise to salvation.
Warning: Isaiah lived in days when many thought themselves wise but they were in fact very foolish. This is one of the biggest problems facing people today. We are convinced that we are wise and so we have become fools. Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Don’t make that mistake. It is only by going to the Wonderful Counsellor Jesus that we have any hope at all. Yet how few will go to him. There is no counsel if you refuse to go to him. Humble yourself and go to Jesus and to his Word for guidance, for wisdom.
Encouragement: Jesus is the wisdom of God. He came with a perfect plan for the salvation of his people. It cannot fail. Praise God. All wisdom found in him. Oh yes we are fools by nature – how many mistakes we make but if we go to him he will guide u and help us and make us wise. Believer are you seeking his counsel daily? Are you acting on it? We slide back when we rely on our own wisdom. 1 Corinthians 3:18, 19 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.2. Recognise Jesus Christ as the Mighty God1. He is God
As you know there are many who deny that Jesus the Messiah is God. When we come to this next phrase then these people have great problems. The title Wonder of a Counsellor suggests Godhead but it could possibly mean someone less than God. Even confronted by this next title some try to wriggle out of the idea that he is God. It is true that sometimes men are referred to in Scripture as being ‘like gods’ but there is no example of the title here El Gibbor being used for a man. The translation ‘Great hero’ then is not adequate. This is clear from 10:20, 21 for example - In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to El Gibbor.There can be no real question that this is what is being said here. It’s an amazing contrast – he is a child, says Isaiah, yet he is also God. Isaiah was moved by the Spirit to reveal this even in those far off days. Now Jesus has come we can see that he is God – God come in the flesh. If he was not God he could not save as he does. It is because he is both man and God that he is the Perfect Saviour. That is why we must go to him. ‘God of God, Light of light, Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb, Very God, begotten not created’
2. He is Mighty
He is called here Mighty God. The word Gibbor really means ‘hero’. We could translate ‘God of a hero’ or ‘Heroic God’. In John 16:33 Jesus says In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. What a word of encouragement to those who trust in him. He is not only the wisdom of God but the power of God also. His power is without limit. Remember his words at the end of Matthew (28:18) All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. God is putting everything under his feet. When you go to a human counsellor than hopefully they will give you good advice but it is up to you to put it into practice – they cannot do it for you. Good counsellors are advised to give those they counsel ‘homework’ to do. But the Lord Jesus is Mighty God and he not only counsels perfectly but he gives the strength to his people to live for God’s glory. He not only has a perfect plan but he has brought it to completion and he continues to work it out in the lives of his people.
The most obvious example of his power is his resurrection. Death was not able to hold him down. He triumphed over it. How? Because he is Almighty God. The same power that raised him from the dead is now at work in believers.
Do you know that power at work in your life? Go to Christ and know it.
Warning: It is no good relying on our own power. It's easy to feel strong when all is going well but think of the future.
Encouragement: Are you aware of your own weakness – how easily you fall. But if you rely on him he will give you strength and enable you to stand.
Believer are you relying on his strength not your own? if you're slipping back may be it is because of that.
Jesus is a man – he is able to sympathise with us and draw alongside us like no other. Yet he is also Almighty God. He can transform us like no other. He is the Perfect Saviour. If we reject him what hope is there at the judgement?

To us a Child is born

Text Isaiah 9:6a Time 03 12 08 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
Isaiah 9:6 is one of the great prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Messiah. It is one of two found quite close to each other in Isaiah 7-12 (what has been called the Book of Emmanuel) – the other is in 7:14 (Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel).
Perhaps you are familiar with the famous chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Handel’s Messiah was first performed in 1742, some 17 years before Handel died. It was revived again over 40 years after the first performance in John Newton’s time. Newton objected to it as it involves singing Scripture for entertainment. Rather than just be negative he preached a series of sermons on the texts used in that oratorio. His aim is summed up in something he says near the end of the series - “Permit me to hope and to pray, that the next time you hear the Messiah, God may bring something that you have heard in the course of these sermons, nearly connected with the peace and welfare of your souls, effectually to your remembrance.”
When he comes to this great Christmas text he says that every clause in the verse could provide us with a long sermon. That is certainly true and so I want us to just begin looking at it tonight and then return to it again. Tonight I just want to look at the opening words For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
Chapter 8 of Isaiah ends on a very sad and distressing note (8:21, 22) Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look towards the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. Isaiah prophesied in very dark and dreary days when there was much sin and many troubles. However, God enables him to look forward to better times ahead. Isaiah 9 begins with a strong Nevertheless …. Isaiah 9:1-7 is full of hope for the future. This hope is so strong and these better times are so certain that Isaiah writes in the past tense – the so called ‘prophetic past’.
One commentator divides 1-7 into 2 parts:
1. The hope described (1-3). There are three things
What God does – The reason that despite the desperate situation there will one day be no more gloom for those who were in distress is that though in the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali … in the future he will honour Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan.
What his people will enjoy – It is because God is determined to honour The people walking in darkness that they (past tense) have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
What follows – (3) You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
2. The hope explained (4-7) Again there are three elements
What God does - 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, (ie under Gideon) you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.
What his people will enjoy – Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
What follows this great victory is what we find in 6 and 7 and what we want to concentrate on now.
Notice the movement from
Nevertheless do not be afraid (1) to
For God will act (4)
to For (6) – how God will act.
There is no doubt at all that this a prophecy of Messiah. That is made clear in Matthew 4:12-17 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali - to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
There are four things in particular I want us to concentrate on tonight.
1. The hope is a child and a son. Look nowhere else.
This great victory that is going to come for God’s people will be won through a person. Fundamentally, the truth is not abstract. It is not in the realm merely of ideas. It is to do with a person. Surprisingly, perhaps, this person is a child. The emphasis is not on the child when he grows up but on the mere fact of his birth. Once he comes all will be well. He is referred to as both a child and a son.
1. Child
This word relates him to his ancestry. He has a mother like us all.
2. Son
He will be a male, and, as is clear, of the Royal line. He is Son and heir. The word king is not used – perhaps because the idea had been greatly devalued by the fact that Judah’s kings had so often been reprehensible.
There can be no doubt that, as in 7:14, Isaiah has in mind the coming of Messiah – the Lord Jesus Christ. Some have implausibly tried, especially Mediaeval Jewish commentators, to deny it. Others can see it so clearly that they try to say it was written much later than it was – around 800 years BC. However, both earlier Jewish commentators and Christians see this must be about Messiah.
So here is the hope for Israel and for the world – not an army, not a political movement but a person. And not a world leader or a great hero but a baby. As one writer (Oswalt) puts it ‘How will God deliver from arrogance, war, oppression and coercion? By being more arrogant, more warlike, more oppressive and more coercive?’ Well, no. It is clear from Isaiah that God is powerful enough to destroy his enemies in a moment but ‘again and again, when the prophet comes to the heart of the means of deliverance, a childlike face peers out at us.’ God overcomes his enemies by becoming vulnerable and humble. On the face of it the idea seems faintly ridiculous and yet even to the worldly mind there is a charm to the idea that attracts. But this is not some form of romanticism but the cold fact that the only hope for any one of us is in the Lord Jesus Christ – the child who was born in Bethlehem and who Mary his mother placed in a manger there. Do you believe that? Do you believe it as a fact?
This fact ought to shape our approach to everything. For example
1 To salvation
Matthew 18:2-4 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
2 To witness
2 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect ....
3 To parenting
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged
4. To holy living
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
2. He will both be born and be given. He is both God and man.
You notice, secondly, that he says two parallel things about this child and son.
1. He will be born.
This brings out the human side. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. A real baby was born there. He had genes and blood cells, skin and bones just like us. Never underestimate the humanity of Jesus.
2. He will be given.
But also he would be given. God sent him into this world. He came from the glory of heaven to this world. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He did not spare his one and only Son. He gave – he did not lend. We must never forget that he is nothing less than God – he is God come in human form.
We must always keep this in mind about Jesus. He was one person, yes, but he had two natures – human and divine. He is the God man, the One Mediator between God and man. This is why he is the perfect Saviour – as man he fully sympathises with us in our weakness and sin but as God he is able to save us, nevertheless. This is what Newton calls ‘the central truth of revelation’ which like the sun casts its light on all else.
3. He will be born and given to those who believe. Is he yours?
The emphasis in the Hebrew is certainly on the child being born and the son being given but do notice the repeated to us. Isaiah is speaking of the people of God. To all who trust in him Jesus has been born. The angel spoke similarly to the shepherds at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:11) Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. It was a favourite theme at Christmas time with Luther – a Saviour has been born to you. He was not born, he did not come merely to please himself – it was for you, for all who look to him.
Did Christ die for you? He died for all who look to him and to him alone.
4. The government will be on his shoulders. Be confident in him.
The last thing I want us to look at tonight is the phrase and the government will be on his shoulders. This is not the only thing that Isaiah says, clearly, but it is the first. He uses a rare word for government. It is a word that basically means this child or son will be the epitome of princeliness, of executive authority. On his shoulders is symbolic of bearing rule (See 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no-one can shut, and what he shuts no-one can open.) Think of a golden chain of authority. This is a common enough picture from the idea of carrying authority. In 7:14 we have already been told that the child is Immanuel (God with us). The statement here comes as no surprise then – the child is the Son of God and he will reign forever until all his enemies are put under his feet. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Of course, that kingship was veiled on earth. Many would have gladly made him an inferior earthly king but he refused it. He refused because he had a higher glory to come. Already his kingdom has advanced far but one day it will reach its zenith and it will be in every place.
Here is the great paradox again – a mere baby, yet Lord of all! Trust in gentle Jesus now before he comes in wrath and might and destroys you. Those who trust in him already share in his throne – and there is more to come. What blessings await those who have the King for their friend. Are you ready for glory?