Thursday, December 11, 2014

What Child is This?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.    Isaiah 9:6

It is the question of the ages, captured in the Christmas Carol’s title: What Child is this?
The carol raises the question this way: “What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping?

What child is this?  Here’s a small sample of what’s been offered:

  • President Thomas Jefferson said, “Jesus didn’t mean to impose himself on mankind as the Son of God.”
  • Mikhail Gorbachev also brought a voice to the forum when he said, “Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.”
  • Ghandi who was personally intrigued with Christ, stated, “I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus.  He is as divine as Krishna, or Rama or Muhammad or Zoroaster.”
  • Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail (an excellent read I might add) wrote, “Jesus was an extremist for love, truth and goodness.”
  • Albert Einstein said, “As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
  • Famed Yale historian, Dr. Kenneth Scott Latourette wrote, “As the centuries pass, the evidence is accumulating that, measured by His effect on history, Jesus is the most influential life ever lived on this planet.”
  • And finally U2’s lead singer Bono in a recent interview said, “The secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was, the Messiah, or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it. I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.”

What Child is this? This is Jesus Christ! The name Jesus is derived from the OT name Joshua which means “Yahweh God is salvation.”  The name Christ means “one chosen by God to be the messiah who delivers God’s people.”

Some 700 years before His birth, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to answer this question once for all. He wrote of this Christ child being a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

At the end of the day, while “What Child is This?” is a great question to ponder this season, a greater one is “Where will I place the government of my life?”  Will I hoard authority over my life, or place as Isaiah puts it, “the government” of my life on His shoulders?

Please take some time to Hark! (to pause, listen and pay attention) both the query and its eternal ramifications. Do you have questions regarding what it would look like to have the government on His shoulders?  Please visit I Am Second and listen to some amazing stories of lives that have been transformed through the power of Jesus.

Better yet, come join this Sunday as we look closer at Isaiah 9:6 and the Christmas Carol in our Hark! Series. I look forward to being together this Sunday!

I love being your pastor!