“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.”
I quoted this passage from Isaiah 9 last Christmas, and I still think it is profound. But what does it say to us today?
The bigger picture
So often, we see things from our own limited perspective. It’s natural, but sometimes it’s too narrow. Sometimes we are tempted to think “it’s all about me!”
We christians have often seen Jesus that way. He came to save us, we think; he came to save ME.
It’s true, of course, but Isaiah reminds us that Jesus was doing much, much more.
This child would be wise beyond our understanding (“wonderful” means beyond our understanding, and “counsellor” mean a wise king or advisor). Do we believe that? Are we following him? Do we ask him for “the best advice in the universe”, and accept his advice?
The kingdom of God is made up not just of those he has saved, but of those who welcome his guidance.
Peace is something we all know we need – in ourselves, in our families and churches, in our world. And Jesus can give it to us.
But it isn’t always automatic – often we have to accept his counsel and government to receive it. If we want peace, we need to be learning to love our enemies, not worship wealth, care for the poor and forgive.
One day, we believe, Jesus will rule in a clear and unambiguous way. But for now, his government is expressed through us. First we submit to him, and then we act for him.
The physical and the spiritual
So Jesus is not just interested in our spiritual response to him, but in our practical response to him. He wants to make a difference in the world through us.
We cannot just do evangelism and ignore government, the poor, the environment. For the son given to us is very much interested in peace, wise counsel and good government.
Thank you for reading my blog this year. May this Christmas be a time of knowing that child better, and may 2015 be a year when we all promote his good government.