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  • Writer's pictureAnush A. John

December 9

Scripture Reading

Isaiah 9:6-7

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. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Reflection

This passage in Isaiah is traditionally seen to be talking about Jesus. Indeed the 4 descriptors used - Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace - could not be used in combination for anyone else. Taken as a whole, this passage talks very specifically about the rule and the reign that Jesus brings.


The king that Israel had at that time was Ahaz, an unfaithful king, whose myopic policies sent the nation into chaos. A concurrent Syro-Ephraimite war was also complicating matters. The reign by Ahaz is reflective of human authorities - those who depend on human resources and finite sources for guidance while refusing any help from God. Such kingship leads a nation further into darkness. In contrast, this passage promises the birth of another king and describes his reign.


There are several characteristics of this upcoming new reign.

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,

There will be peace without end. Think about that for a minute. What would it look like to have peace in our world? We have not known peace for a very long time. There hasn’t been a year in the last 100 years where there wasn’t a war. Even as we speak wars rage on. We don’t have the smallest idea of what it means to have universal peace. It is merely an unattainable dream in our collective consciousness. As it stands, when cultures and worldviews' stated position is the non-existence of other cultures and worldviews, peace is impossible to attain.

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

There will be justice. Even though it is true that some countries experience more injustice than others, injustice seems to be a part of normal existence. The innocent are unfairly punished, and the guilty are unfairly unpunished. The latter seems to be more common, though occasionally there are reports of people having spent years in prison for crimes they haven’t committed. What would life look like in which perfect justice reigned?

to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

There will be righteousness. Every generation seems to be more wicked than the previous one, and yet when one examines distant human history, one recognizes the endemic perversion in ancient cultures. Sin is a cancer in society and destroys it from the inside out. When sin is celebrated and perversion is lauded, righteousness is humanly impossible. What would a culture look like if there was no sin?

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

There is certainty. This future reign will certainly occur. God himself is zealous for this to happen and nothing can hinder the actions of an omnipotent, sovereign God.

Human history is so entrenched with mental and physical disturbances, gross injustice, pervasive sin, and evil, that it is impossible for a person to even imagine how life characterized by peace, justice, and righteousness can be. But this is the hope of a life with Jesus as king.


Every Christmas then, a person looks back and is reminded of the birth of Christ, but at the same time, because of that holy birth, can look forward to the future and hope for a time when righteousness, justice, and peace will be the norm, and this is certain to happen.



For a sermon on hope: See A Certain Hope



Notes

Song: Unto Us, Matthew West

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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