Someone asked me the other day which Scripture passage was the best to share with their family at Christmas. That’s like cornering me and demanding I publicly declare which of my four children I love most.
It’s an impossible question, but the passage I return to most is Isaiah 9:6.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Why do I love this verse so much? Because in these four names of Jesus, you find the complete content of the Christmas story.
Wonderful Counselor. Sin reduces us to fools. At the epicenter of our foolishness is a street-level denial of God—not philosophical atheism, but a denial of our need for God and a belief that we can live life on our own. As the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus comes to rescue fools from themselves.
Mighty God. Sin doesn’t just reduce us to fools; it also renders us unable—unable to be who God designed us to be and do what he created us to do. When God unleashed his might through Jesus to defeat sin and death for all of eternity, he also empowered us to desire and do what we would not be able to do without his Son working in and through us.
Everlasting Father. By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus welcomes us into his family. He is the door by which we have access to God. He lavishes his fatherly love upon us, and we are blessed with all the rights and privileges of being his children. No longer separated, lost, alienated, and alone, we live forever as the sons and daughters of the King.
Prince of Peace. Sin makes us the enemies of God and casts us into constant conflict with other people. Sin is antisocial and destructive, making us better fighters than lovers. But God had a solution, and it would not be a negotiation. It was a gift. This gift was one that we could never achieve, earn, or deserve—peace with God. And peace with God is the only road to lasting peace with one another.
So yes, I love Isaiah 9:6 perhaps more than all the rest, because you could argue that there is no more stirring, encouraging prophecy of the birth of Jesus than this.
Under the careful direction of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah purposefully chose these four names to communicate how the Messiah Son is precisely what you and I desperately need.
Long before we were born, God had appointed for us the One who would be the remedy for every symptom of the sin that would infect us all.
Perhaps no words more encouraging than these have ever been written!
1. How did you reveal your foolishness this week? Specifically, how did you live as if you did not need God?
2. How did you reveal your spiritual inability this week? Where were you unable to do what you wanted to do because of the sinful nature (see Romans 7)?
3. What are some of the right here, right now privileges of being a child of God? Be specific. How do these privileges give you comfort and strength for what you are facing today?
4. Where were you a better fighter than a lover in a relationship this week? How does the birth of Christ provide a practical solution for your antisocial sinful nature?