These past few weeks have been significant for us in the UK. The Conservative Government returned a big majority in the recent General Election on the promise of a glorious new beginning for Britain outside of the European Union. We have (and still are) hearing about all that the new Government is going to do in order to make Brexit a success and to get our economy ready for a post-Brexit world. In this regard the Prime Minister is setting out his stall not just for the next 5 years but for the next 10. Whatever your political views (and if you know me you will know that this was not at all my preferred outcome) I think we can all agree that all Governments come to end at some point. Well almost all! As Christmas rapidly approaches I have been reflecting on the words of Isaiah 9 which speak about a great light and a child upon whose shoulders will be a Government that will never end!
These words were written around 700 years before Jesus the prophet Isaiah and were quoted in Matthew 4:12-16 with the explanation that Jesus fulfilled them:
9 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan – 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.Isaiah 9:1-5
A great Light (v2-5):
Back in Isaiah 7 we read of the rejection of God’s people who were represented by King Ahaz. These verses in chapter 9 represent therefore something of a climax for this whole section and describe a great transformation for God’s people. There is a significant contrast between the end of chapter 8 (which finishes with the words “Then they will look towards the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness”) and the beginning of chapter 9 (which prophecies “no more gloom for those who were in distress”). What made the difference? According to these verses it is the shift from darkness to light that brings rejoicing (v3), freedom from oppression (v4) and an end to war. As we read on it becomes clear that this light came in the shape of a child…ultimately a child who one day would describe Himself as the “Light of the World” (John 8:12, 9:5).
A child is born (v6-7):
Surely there is little doubt that these verses look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. The titles used here about this child are quite extraordinary: see for yourself:
6 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 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 for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.Isaiah 9:6-7
This child will have the government on his shoulders. He is attributed the titles Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, descendent and everlasting King on David’s throne. No Davidic King ever came close to fulfilling this prophecy…that was until Jesus Christ came in the flesh. The gospel writers show clearly that Jesus was a descendent of David (see Matthew 1:1-17). Even Jesus has yet to completely fulfil this and wont until He returns a second time.
Finding the Light of Life
This Christmas lets try not to get too caught up with the traditions, presents and food. These things are great but Christmas is really about the coming of this child who would transform everything. Because of the coming of this incredible child, we no longer have to walk in darkness but have the light of life. This child showed us the Father and claimed to be the way, the truth, the life and our means to come to God the Father. Whether for the first time or the 1,000th time I would encourage you to seek after Him this Christmas…
“The Word [Jesus] became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
6 Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6