A Child, a Son, and a King Forever

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.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9.6-7

The Child born In Isaiah 9.6 is the Son of the virgin mentioned in Isaiah 7.14.  The first two phrases tell us that a Child is born (birth of Christ) and a Son is given (admittedly Hebrew parallelism but I think alluding to the crucifixion of Christ).  Everything following in Isaiah’s prophecy points to His coming Millennial Kingdom.  The government will be upon the shoulder of the Christ when He reigns for 1,000 years (Revelation 20.1-6).  He will be the King reigning, and the saints will reign with Him.

There are now four descriptive phrases of the King (Wonderful should modify Counselor):  1) Wonderful Counselor; 2) Mighty God; 3) Everlasting Father; 4) Prince of Peace.  First, He has wisdom to govern the people of the world perfectly.  Second, He has the power to carry out His rule with an iron scepter.  Third, He is the everlasting Father in the sense that He is the Father of all those who are redeemed.  Adam is the father of all living beings.  Christ is the last Adam and became a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15.45).  Finally, He is the Prince of Peace.  The 1,000 year reign of Christ will be marked by the absence of war and violence.  It will fulfill the Davidic Covenant and satisfy the promises of God.  It will be a time of great blessing.

“Of the increase of Christ’s government and peace there will be no end.”  The government of Christ does not increase through war but through peace.  His justice and judgment are characteristic of His reign.  His reign and rule is forever.  This will be a fulfillment of the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7.12-17:

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

So our text is all about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is a Child born, a Son given, and King forever.

Jesus is a Child Born

Galatians 4.4-5 state, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Paul wrote these words to Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians.  Gentile believers need not place themselves under the Law of Moses in order to gain acceptance with God.  Jewish believers need to understand that they are dead to the Law of Moses.  Believers need neither guardian or steward, because we are sons.  Paul asks and answers three questions when it comes to the incarnation of Jesus Christ:

When did the incarnation of Christ occur?

While everyone is preoccupied with the date December 25, God simply tells us that Jesus came as a Baby in a manger when the fullness of time had come.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us at just the right time in the history of mankind (John 1.14).  1 Timothy 3.16 states, “Great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifested in the flesh.”  He was manifested in the flesh at the perfect time.

First, Jesus Christ came at a time when the Greco-Roman culture flourished, but the Gentiles professing themselves to be wise had become fools.  Second, Jesus Christ came at a time when the Jew made his boast in the Law of Moses, but dishonored God by continually breaking that Law.  Third, Jesus Christ came when the nation of Israel languished under the Roman Empire, but longed for a King of their own to rule over them.

The fullness of time had come.  it was the perfect time.  There wasn’t a better time than the time when God the Son came into the world as “a Child born.”

How did the incarnation of Christ occur?

Paul describes the incarnation with two phrases that are key:  Jesus was “born of a woman” and “born under the law”.  The physical birth of Jesus Christ in an animal stall is quite unremarkable.  He was born of a woman.  All of us are.  Yet the birth of Christ is remarkable in that He was born to a virgin named Mary.  The Baby was formed in the womb of a pure virgin through the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit.  This distinguishes His birth from all others.

If Jesus Christ had been born as you or I, then He could not have escaped the same curse we are now under.  All of us are born in Adam.  Through Adam’s disobedience, all of us have sin natures.  But Jesus did not have an earthly biological father.  His birth was miraculous.  All of us sin like our father Adam sinned.  Therefore, all of us die.  But Jesus Christ remains the Perfect Man, the Son of God.  He is fully God and fully Man.  He is the only begotten of the Father, the only one of His kind.  “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel …which is translated, ‘God with us’” (Isaiah 7.14; Matthew 1.23).

Second, Jesus was “born under the law.”  He was not born under the curse of the Law but simply under the Law’s authority.  He did not fail in submitting to the Law of Moses.  Actually, He fulfilled it.  Thus, in fulfilling the Law, Jesus made available to us the righteousness of God the Father.

Jesus was born of a woman and born under the Law.  He carried the curse of the Law for us, a curse He did not deserve.  He fulfilled the righteous demands of the Law so that we might have everlasting life and righteousness.  “Now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe (Romans 3.21-22)!”

Why did the incarnation of Christ occur?

Paul writes that Jesus was born of a woman and under the Law “to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoptions as sons.”  There is a two-step progression here that it vital.

First, we must be set free or loosed from the bondage of the Law.  Paul writes in another place:  ”Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3.19).  Jesus frees us from that objective, forensic guilt before God.

The Law cannot condemn us, because Jesus Christ absorbed all the condemnation we deserve.  The Law cannot command us, because we are under grace and not Law.  We are dead to the Law through the body of Christ (Romans 7.1-4).  The incarnation and death of Jesus Christ redeems us from the condemnation we deserve because of our transgression of the Law of God, knowingly or unknowingly.  We are no longer obligated to stand or fall according to our works once we trust in the completed work of our Savior.  He has redeemed us!  God sent forth His Son to free us from sin.

The second step in the progression is our purpose in life.  We are set free from sin so “that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  Many believe that every member of the human race is a child of God.  But that is not true.  While all are created by God, once sin entered, we became children of the devil.  Jesus Christ came so that we might become children of God through supernatural rebirth.

Adoption is not so much a legal transaction by which we are declared righteous.  That belongs to the theological term justification.  We are adopted through supernatural rebirth.  We are now precious children of God with all the precious privileges and great inheritance that Christ has purchased for us with His precious blood.  “But as many as received Christ, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1.12).  God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

All of this NT revelation illuminates truth which people in Isaiah’s day did not understand.  Unto us a child is born.  He is a child born of a virgin woman under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.  The Child born would become the Son God gave to the world.

Jesus is a Son Given

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16).  Jesus is the Son given (grace).  He is the gift of God and the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  Propitiation means that Jesus Christ is the full and satisfying payment for our sins.  He is fully satisfying and pleasing to the Father.  ”By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3.16a).  Jesus is the Son given.

2 Corinthians 5.21 tells us that the Father made the Son who knew no sin to be sin for us.  Jesus Christ stood in our place and absorbed the wrath of God we deserve.  He drained the dregs of judgment from the cup of God’s indignation.  He prayed that it would pass from Him, but nevertheless not what He will as a Man but what God willed.  He did this not for Himself but for you and for me.  He died and was buried in a tomb.  He arose the third day!  The Father raised up the Son, Jesus our Lord, from the dead.  Jesus was the Son given for our offenses and the Son raised with a view toward our justification (Romans 4.25).

Jesus is a King Forever

  1. He is the Wonderful Counselor – The Bible exhorts us as believers to be knit together in love, and attain to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2.6).  Jesus is wisdom personified.  He is the Word become flesh!  His ways and judgements are beyond our comprehension.  We look to Him for wisdom and guidance!  He is the King Forever, the Wonderful Counselor.
  2. He is the Mighty God – He is not only God with us; He is God over us.  If Jesus is not God, then He could not be the Son given.  If Jesus is not God, then He could not reign as King.  He shares in all the attributes of the Father.  He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere present.  The Mighty God was the Lord of glory crucified.  It is His blood that is the purchase price of our redemption – matchless blood, perfect blood.  He is King Forever, the Mighty God.
  3. He is the Everlasting Father – This text is not saying that Jesus the Son is actually God the Father.  We believe in the triune nature of God:  Father, Son, and Spirit – three persons and one God.  So how is Jesus the everlasting Father?   He has begotten us as children by His Word and His Spirit.  Jesus is the Second Adam.  He is the giver and source of everlasting life.  Through His blood, He has opened the new and better way to God.  We are adopted into the family of God through supernatural rebirth.  Jesus made this possible.  He is the Everlasting Father in this sense.  He is the King Forever, the Everlasting Father.
  4. He is the Prince of Peace – While Jesus will reign upon David’s throne and bring peace to the entire world, we as believers experience the benefit of peace today.  He redeemed us and reconciled us to the Father.  We are no longer enemies but children.  Not only that, we have peace garrisoning our hearts to this day.  Nobody is able to take this peace away from us.  He is the King Forever, the Prince of Peace.

Father, all we can do is meditate upon these verses and simply get lost in wonder and in praise for Jesus, the Child born, the Son given, and the King forever.  The more we think about this passage, the more devoted to Christ we become.

We are filled with wonder.  He is the Child born:  God in the flesh.  You have revealed that the angels themselves are lost in wonder and desire to consider this great truth.  Great is this mystery of godliness!  Thanks be to You for Your indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9.15)!

We are lost in praise.  Our gratitude is heightened when we consider the incarnation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  That He would be a Child born in order to become a Son given as a sacrifice compels gratitude within us.  You put it there in our souls though the power of your Spirit.  What can we give in return?  We can never repay You for the Child born and the Son given, but we can give You our lives anew this morning.

Let us be filled with devotion and commitment.  Let Your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.  We submit ourselves to the King today and every day.  We accept the gift of His reign over us.

You have bid us come.  We have labored and we have been heavily burdened by our sin.  We receive the rest only You give.  We take Your yoke upon us.  We will learn from You for you are gentle and lowly in heart.  You will give us what we seek this Christmas:  Rest for our souls.  Lord Jesus, Your yoke is indeed easy; Your burden light.  You truly a Child born, a Son given, and a King forever.

Black Friday Possessions

And Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’ -Luke 12.15

Covetousness is nothing new, but it is steadily tearing our country apart.  Ron Colone wrote an op ed piece in the Santa Ynez Valley News.  His conclusion is quite bracing:

Well, know this, Black Friday has 100 percent to do with the promotion of covetousness, which is greed, materialism, envy and avarice.  These are not the kinds of feelings that can raise us to our own higher ground.  Instead, they condemn us to cold-heartedness and small-mindedness.

Jesus spoke the words above to His followers in order to challenge them regarding their spiritual wellbeing.  The instruction actually came upon the heels of being asked to settle a family dispute.  A man in one of the crowds that typically gathered around Jesus called out, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (12.13).

Jesus instantly knew that the man had his mind fixed on earthly and temporal matters rather than spiritual and eternal matters of the heart.  The focus in our lives should be to take root downward in order to bear fruit upward.  The Lord simply would not allow this man to put Him in such a place.  He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?”

The Lord Jesus wouldn’t allow this man to put Him in a place where He would be settling a family squabble about money.  At any rate, the core of this man’s problem was covetousness (greed and avarice).  Contrary to popular opinion, life is not made up of possessions.  Possessions are tools to serve not chains to bind.

How are we to know whether or not we are bound by our possessions?  First, we must examine the way in which we pursue them.  Does it make a whole of sense to wait in line outside of a department store for four days in order to purchase a widescreen television at a deeply discounted rate?  Consider the opportunity costs in making this foolish choice?  How much time was sacrificed which could have been better used for eternal pursuits?  Second, we must examine just how delusional we are to think that possessions will satisfy.  A lot of rich entertainers and athletes prove this point with their self-destructive choices.  It would not take long to marshall serveral examples to prove this point.  Finally, we must pause to recognize just how debasing and destructive rampant materialism is.  It will be the ruination of our country.

Life is too short to justify our drive for more in the United States of America.  It is good to find out early in life that blessing comes to those who behave as a sieve.  The wealth comes in, we pray for discernment, and we distribute it to those who have true needs to be met.  As we think of the month ahead of us, may the Lord grant us the wisdom to see that all we have comes from Him (Psalm 24).  Wealth is simply a tool to serve others and to ultimately serve our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.  After all, we are not redeemed with precious possessions, but rather with the precious blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

An Indescribable Gift

Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:10–15)

I grew up in economically challenging times …relatively speaking.  I had plenty to eat each day and shelter to protect me from midwestern winters.  Imagine a Sudanese father longing to provide food and shelter from the heat for his own son but unable to do so.  America has been blessed with many charitable organizations whose purpose it is to relieve distress and hunger at every turn.  Every need we can think of is provided for those humble enough to accept it.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

However, as noble as these causes are, if they do not provide for eternal and temporal needs, then they fail to demonstrate true compassion and grace.  Christians would do well to remember this this Christmas season.  Temporal gifts are merely describable; eternal gifts are indescribable.

God provides in abundance in this country.  Believers ought to pray that God not only supply but multiply material resources in proportion to our willingness to generously give them away.  God provides so that we might be generous and compassionate.  Thanksgiving is a result of sacrificial, grace-filled giving.

God makes it clear for us:  as we provide the needs of our brothers and sisters, many thanksgivings abound to Him (9.12).  Serving and supplying for the needs of others glorifies the God who created us (9.13).  Our obedience to the Gospel of Christ and our liberal, generous sharing with with those of the household of faith (and even with all men for that matter, see 9.13) provide evidence that the grace of God is with us.   Then, our generosity leads to intercession from those for whom we have cared; they long for us because they see the exceeding grace of God in us (9.14).  So, 2 Corinthians 9:15 serves as the penultimate statement for God’s plan in grace-giving.

God would certainly want us to support those who would provide relief for the body and the soul of those downtrodden.  Better yet we ought to provide for the physical and spiritual relief of others directly.  We should do so as evidence of the grace of God working in and through us.

Grace-giving starts in our local churches and is governed by the multitude of godly counselors within them.  Good churches are magnanimous churches which relieve the poor, magnify the grace of God, preach the Gospel, and glorify God.

Relieving the Poor

Solomon wrote, “All the brothers of the poor hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him!  He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him” (Proverbs 19.7).  If God chooses to give you wealth, you must become a protector of the poor to be a godly man.  You cannot abandon them!  If I myself am impoverished, my affliction may separate me from a friend, but it will not separate me from my God!  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Magnifying the Grace of God

Make no mistake!  God’s exceeding grace is at work in us strengthening our hands, confirming the needs around us, and providing through us.  How true the statement of our Lord Jesus:  “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.”  The one who waters is indeed watered abundantly himself.  Any sacrifice of love we make becomes a spiritual feast for us.  Imagine relieved poor people knocking on Heaven’s door and interceding for us.  Do you think that is a small thing in the eyes of God?  Just as the blood of the slain cries out for vengeance; even so, the cries of the oppressed are for our blessing.  God will hear!  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Preaching the Gospel

We herald the good news that God has given us the gift of His Son, the only begotten One.  Christ is the love-gift of the Father.  The sacrifice of His life’s blood for our redemption cannot be repaid.  Yet as believers, gratitude drives us to try.  This truly is what thanksgiving is all about for the believer.  Grateful hearts filled with the grace of God are energized to meet the needs of others.  It is a wonder that God would allow us this privilege.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Glorifying God 

We cannot glorify God in the abstract.  We must know what it means and how it happens.  A Christian glorifies God by internalizes the character of God communicated to us by His grace.  Once this occurs, inward transformation takes place and outward giving abounds.  I cannot add anything to the character of God; I can only reflect what is already there.  As a believer, I yearn to be a sacrifice pleasing to God.  This should be your aim as well.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

This thanksgiving, realize that stewardship of what God has allowed you to have is key in moving forward in your relationship with Him.  May God place upon our hearts a burden to tenderly meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ …the needs of all men.  We do not say that we can meet every need, but we can meet those God enables us to meet.  And we must remember that if we sow sparingly, shall we not also reap sparingly?  But if we sow bountifully, we shall also reap bountifully.  Blessed are those who learn to give.  Blessed are the truly thankful.  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Life-Givers and Life-Graspers

You would think that the king would be the first to eat at the rich banqueting tables of his palace.  But tables heavily laden with delectable, rich food provide an excellent opportunity for an enemy to poison the king.  So a man was chosen to go before the king and taste his food.  How would you like to be that man?  Going first in life is not always desirable; it’s often risky and dangerous.  Even so there is a big difference between the desire to be first and the fortitude to go first.  Those who would be first are selfish; those who would go first are selfless.

Now [Jesus, the Twelve, and others] were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” ” (Mark 10:32–34)

Amazed and Afraid

The apostles of Jesus were amazed.  Those who followed at a distance were afraid.  Why the amazement and fear?  It stems from the confident and steadfast stride of Jesus as He moves toward the cross, the instrument of His death.  Mark 10 is about discipleship and mentoring.  Jesus taught His disciples about the importance and permanency of marriage because of the natural tendency to search out loopholes in order to escape from our responsibilities before God (10.1-12).  Second, Jesus also taught the disciples about the importance of receiving the Kingdom of God and maintaining our citizenship with quiet, loving dependence (10.13-16).  Finally, Jesus taught His disciples about the importance of complete reliance upon Him and nothing else for the joy of eternal life (10.17-31).

Three passages prefacing the one under our consideration stress the importance of faithfulness.  Whatever it means to follow Jesus Christ, it most certainly will include a component of dependability.  Jesus modeled faithfulness as the selfless savior, the ransom and servant of all.  He leads out before all of His disciples:  those who follow close and are amazed and those who follow at a distance and are afraid.


Roads leading to Jerusalem necessitate an ascent.  Jesus is ascending in more ways than one.  The road to Jerusalem on this day was the ascent to the climax of His ministry.  As He does so, He offers the third and fullest prediction of what awaited Him.  The following components detail the prediction for us:

  • His betrayal to the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin)
  • Condemnation by the Sanhedrin
  • The deliverance of Jesus to the Romans due to the fact that the Jewish leaders could not enforce capital punishment on their own
  • The mocking, scourging, and spitting
  • The murder of Jesus Christ
  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ

The three predictions in the Gospel of Mark have two common elements:  the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem knowing what would befall Him.  The sorrowful, bleak, and difficult ascent up the Jerusalem road forms quite a contrast with the resurrection and redemption that would be the end result of Jesus’ finished work.  There is a contrast between the confident Master and the beleaguered disciple.  It is unfortunate that this contrast continues to the present day.  This in spite of all we know.

Life-Giver or Life-Grasper

It is a contrast between the selfish life-graspers (10.35-40) and the selfless Life-giver (10.41-45).  James, John, and the other ten apostles pitifully demonstrate what it is to grasp life only to lose it.  Jesus is a powerful example of One who selflessly gives His life only to gain redemption for all of us.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (10.45).  Are you one who serves or one who is served?  Are you a life-giver or a life-grasper?