December 20, 2015 • Life for Leaders
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
Our Advent season of preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ is drawing to a close. Today we focus on our waiting for the Son, the Son of God who will save his people and, indeed, the whole world. Isaiah 9 gives us a prophetic glimpse of this saving, ruling, divine Son.
I cannot read Isaiah 9:6 without two immediate associations. First, I hear in my memory the mighty chorus of Händel’s Messiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given . . . .” Second, I think of Jesus, the one who fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy. As the very Word of God incarnate, Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. He embodies the love and mercy of God in a unique way. Thus, in Advent we look forward to the coming of the Son of God.
All of us can be children of God through faith in Jesus. Yet, he alone is the unique Son of God: the ruler of God’s kingdom, the one who definitively reveals God to us, the beloved Son who refers to God as “Abba, Father” and invites us to do the same. Thus, through Jesus the Son of God, we become children of God who experience God’s parental love and who live in an intimate relationship with him each day.
Moreover, Isaiah 9:6-7 reminds us that the Son of God comes not just for our own individual salvation, but also for the salvation of the whole world. According to the prophet, the authority of the Son “shall grow continually,” until it spans the globe. In that time “there shall be endless peace.” This peace is not merely the absence of conflict. Rather, it is peace filled “with justice and with righteousness.” This means that the Prince of Peace transforms the world even as he transforms our hearts. He has come to reign over his people as a precursor of his reign over all creation.
In Advent, we ready our hearts to celebrate the first coming of the Son of God and we stir up our longing for his second coming, when he will bring his fulsome peace to the world.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What thoughts or images come to mind when you think of Jesus the Son of God?
How have you experienced being a child of God through faith in Jesus the unique Son?
In what ways is your part of the world in need of God’s peace, including justice and righteousness?
Lord Jesus, you are the Son of God. You are the divine king, hailed as Son of God in your royal majesty. I bow before you today, acknowledging your authority.
Yet you are the Son of God, not only as the divine king but also as the one who is God in human flesh. Jesus, you are the Son, the one and only, the one who makes the Father known to us.
May your authority grow upon the earth, Lord. May your peace embrace the globe, filling it with your justice and righteousness!
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, Son of God! May heaven and earth worship you today — including me. Amen.
Image Credit: “Adoration assisi” by Giotto – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.