Isaiah 9:6–7 (NIV)
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. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Feeding the roots of Jesus’ family story are prophecies, this one delivered to and by the prophet Isaiah, who lived roughly seven hundred years before the birth of Christ. This Advent prophecy, beginning with the words, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,” is brought out into the light every year as the Christian New Year begins.
While the world searches adamantly for gifted leaders to guide us, with their promises of a prosperous nation and a kinder society, Jesus was given as a gift to us from a source beyond us—our Creator. The one who made us knows the exact kind of leader we need.
Jesus was given to us, from the Father, for humanity and our condition, to lead each one of us from spiritual imprisonment to the freedom of the new creation life. Jesus leads us from simply living to a life of awakening.
Jesus was given to us, from the Father, to model for us a mode of kingdom leadership that puts the Father’s ends and goals first—a remarkable form of leadership that springs from an unwavering, transcendent perspective on what is best for us all. Learned through intimacy with the Father, Jesus speaks what the Father speaks and does what the Father does in full view of us all (John 5:19; 12:49).
Jesus was given to us, from the Father, to establish a kingdom that would inhabit the human heart rather than a geopolitical location, an establishing of an inward reign by which a person is truly and utterly changed, and through which a renewed humanity would lead others to wholeness, to belovedness, and to the true shalom (peace) of God. Nations are collections of individuals, and Jesus pursued the individual knowing that changing the heart of one leads to changing the hearts of the many. The eternal government, the providential politics of Jesus, will always transcend the human structures so exposed and humbled by time.
Jesus was given to us, from the Father, in the form of a child. Innocence, growth, maturity, and dependence are integral to his story, as they are integral to our own. In other words, he came like us, in every respect, that he might lead us into the fullness of being a child of God (Heb. 2:17).
Jesus was given to us, from the Father, named by names that characterize his divine-human life unveiled before us (John 1:9–13). He is called Wonderful. Amazing. Breathtaking. Beyond understanding. He is called Counselor. Guide. Educator. Encourager. He is called Mighty God. Strong. Immovable. Unchanging. He is called the Everlasting Father. Son of the Most High. One being with the Father (John 10:30; the Nicene Creed). He is called the Prince of Peace. Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Chief Creative Officer of Shalom—the all pervasive peace of God.
Leadership is what the world needs from a Messiah—leadership that is motivated by pure, divine love and that is faithfully guiding us to the new creation ahead.
Be assured of this: Jesus will rule and reign over the kingdoms of this world, and they will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15). The Lord’s passion, the Lord’s energetic purpose, will make it so. Let it be, Lord; let it be.
Jesus, you come to us in a time when the ways and politics of humankind have failed us as much as they have served us. You choose the human heart to reign within, and I yield mine once again in this passage through Advent. Let my allegiance to you and your lordship rule over all other loyalties in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
In the past years, have you had any allegiances or loyalties that you felt ruled over your inward commitment to Christ from time to time? What were they, and how can you get back on track?
For the Awakening,