The world around us is broken and filled with sin. We are surrounded by human depravity at every level (from childhood relationships to political leaders). Yet, we long for the day when God will make all things new and our broken world will be renewed, changed, and filled with the glory and splendor of God. In short, we await the second coming of Christ.
As we await the second coming of Christ, we celebrate his first coming. This was something the prophets wrote about and pointed to even as Isaiah did some 700 years before Jesus was born. Isaiah records one of the most eloquent prophecies of Jesus that is filled with hope. Read it and think of the already and not yet aspects of how Jesus fulfills (and will fulfill) this glorious verse of Scripture.
Isaiah 9:6 — For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The prophecy of a child to be born and a son given was not a reference to just any child. It was a reference to the most glorious birth that has ever occurred in human history. It’s a reference to Emmanuel. When God took upon himself human flesh and entered his very own creation, what a glorious hope. Isaiah longed for the day and yet that day has come and gone and we live on the other side of this prophecy. We celebrate the birth that has already occurred.
There is no doubt about our corrupt political system in America and while can see such depraved political strategies here, around the world in various other nations the corruption is far worse. Like Isaiah, we long for the sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords to rule visibly. Every part of Isaiah’s words in this single verse has already been fulfilled except this reference to the government being upon his shoulder.
In actuality, this has been partially fulfilled, but we long for the visible reign of Christ. Some believe that Jesus will rule in the future and the government will be upon his shoulder in the future, but in actuality, he is ruling now from heaven’s throne. In supremacy he sits on the throne and he is unchallenged and unflinching at all of the marching armies of this world. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” As Jesus rules now, we await his second coming where he will rule in our visible presence.
Because of sin, we have to navigate the broken road of human depravity on a daily basis. For that reason, we need good counsel. We seek the counsel of close friends, family members, parents, pastors, and fellow church members. However, there is none who can provide greater counsel than our Lord. We come to him in his Word, we seek him and look into the great wisdom of his teaching, and we follow him as we submit to his commands. Not one time has Jesus given bad counsel or provided for us failed promises. We can trust him and we should find hope in his words (words of comfort, hope, and truth).
The central truth of the gospel is that Jesus is more than a gifted rabbi. When you examine the cults around the world, often they want to attack the deity of Jesus. They want to relegate him to the level of a prophet or a good moral teacher, but that cannot be so if Jesus isn’t God while he made such lavish claims to be God (see John 8:58 and John 17). In John’s prologue, he writes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1).” The grand truth we celebrate at Christmas is that far greater than angels appearing to shepherds in a field was the reality that God had clothed himself in human flesh and was lying in a manger. He came to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21), and it was only possible if Jesus is very God of very God.
As “Everlasting Father” Jesus is not the Father. Isaiah is not suggesting that the Son is the Father in the sense of confusing the persons of the Trinity (which is a heretical position). He is using the tern “father” in perhaps two ways in this statement. First, Jesus can show compassion as a father shows compassion to his children (Ps. 103:13). Secondly, Jesus is the everlasting father of the universe and he upholds everything but he word of his power (Col. 1:15-20).
Finally, Isaiah speaks of Jesus as the “Prince of Peace.” Only in Jesus can rebel sinners find peace with God (Rom. 5:10). Only in Christ can a world that is filled with sin, brokenness, murder, and violence find peace. It’s only in Christ that God’s children can navigate this broken world with peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). While we as believers live in a world of sin and experience the peace of God, we will one day live in a peaceful world. We long for that day to come. As we celebrate the first coming of Jesus we anticipate the second coming of Jesus. As John said, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).