by Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSCNC Executive Director-Treasurer
Perhaps the most well-known prophecy about Jesus’ birth is found in Isaiah 9:6. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (NKJV).
This verse is read and recited frequently during the Christmas season, but have you ever stopped to reflect and meditate on what this one verse of Scripture teaches us about the Christ whose birth we celebrate at Christmastime?
“For unto us a Child is born” reminds us of Jesus’ humanity. Christ humbly took on flesh and came to earth as a baby so that He could grow and experience life as we do, except that He experienced it without yielding to the temptation to sin. A reference to Jesus in Matthew 1:23 calls him Immanuel. The name Immanuel, meaning “God with us,” tells us who He is. The name Jesus, meaning, “Jehovah is salvation,” tells us why He came.
“Unto us a Son is given” reminds us of Christ’s deity as the second person of the Trinity. As God in human flesh, Christ lived the life that we should have lived and died the death that we should have died in order to defeat sin and death forever.
“The government will be upon His shoulder” reminds us of Christ’s ultimate Lordship. Although many in Jesus’ day were looking for a military leader, Christ said that His kingdom was not of this world. When Christ returns to rule and reign, the full extent of His kingdom will ultimately be realized.
In his book For These Tough Times, Max Lucado describes the coming of Christ into the world in these words: “Stepping from the throne, He removed His robe of light and wrapped Himself in skin: pigmented human skin. The light of the universe entered a dark, wet womb. He whom angels worshipped nestled Himself in the placenta of a peasant, was birthed into the cold night, and then slept on a cow’s hay. Mary didn’t know whether to give Him milk or give Him praise, so she gave Him both – since He was, as near as she could figure, hungry and holy…”
Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation, that is God becoming flesh. It commemorates the time when God invaded this small planet; when omnipotence was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
Preacher, author and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Annuity Board Paul Powell wrote, “it is the fact that God has come to live among us, to reveal Himself to us, to identify with us, and to give Himself for us. It commemorates a time when God became flesh and dwelt among us in order to be our Savior. Jesus is God in flesh, getting down on my level where I can comprehend him.
Michelangelo expressed himself in marble;
Rembrandt expressed himself in oils;
Handel expressed himself in music;
Shakespeare expressed himself in prose and verse;
God expressed himself in flesh.”
Consider and worship the Christ of Christmas!
“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” — Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)
Reprinted with permission from Milton Hollifield, Jr. This post originally appeared on www.NCBaptist.org