Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulder: Christmas 2006

I've been reading Isaiah over the past month or so and I encountered chapter nine, verses one through seven, afresh - afresh and in power. Here's how it reads in the ESV.

[1] But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

[2] The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.
[3] You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
[4] For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
[5] For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fueld for the fire.
[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.
[7] Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

I took Religion in the Public Square this semester, so when I read this chapter a few weeks ago, I read it with a mind that had had to consider many forms of government. The thought that Christ Himself shall be our ruler one day, that all the corruption, greed, and war that so defines the governments of our world will be upheaved and replaced by a Messiah on the throne of David and that his reign will be endless and ever defined by by justice and righteousness, it is breathtaking - and humbling.

We had our candle light service as a church tonight and took Communion as a part of it. As I prayed before taking the cup, I was reminded of the very real aspect of having a King and being part of a Kindom. Am I an obedient subject of this kingdom? I was reminded that my salvation is only by grace, but that same grace demands so much. The Kingdom of Christ has come but yet is coming. And Christ has made us ambassadors on his behalf.

If you are reading this as a brother or sister in Christ: Merry Christmas, and may this holiday season truly be a time of wonder and worship. We celebrate the birth of our King, God in the flesh, Son of God and Man. May we work as faithful citizens of such a Kingdom, and may the zeal of the LORD accomplish His will. If you are reading this as one who does not believe in Christ, than may I urge you to consider the claims of this One who was born in Bethlehem around 2,000 years ago and yet lives as the firstborn from the dead. To you I also wish Merry Christmas.

May the King's reign be everlasting. Amen.


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