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THOUGHTS FROM ISAIAH

TO US A CHILD IS BORN

Isaiah 9:6 is a well-known and well-loved verse, and with good reason. Every word in this verse speaks to us of our Lord Jesus Christ, describing many aspects of his person and his work.

‘To us …’ These words speak of the relationship and purpose of this birth.

He is ‘a child’ born ‘to us’ – unto us human beings, one of us. In the birth of Jesus Christ God’s long standing promises of a human Saviour are fulfilled – the offspring of the woman [Genesis 3:15], the seed of Abraham [Genesis 22:18], the prophet like Moses [Deuteronomy 18:15], the ‘branch’ of Jesse [Isaiah 11:1]. His essential humanity is here defined. He is not an angel. He is not a ‘superman’. He is not a ghost, an apparition, a pretend human. He is a child born ‘to us’ – a real, human, flesh and blood child, subject to the same pressures and temptations as us, of the same family as us, our ‘brother’ [Hebrews 2:9-18]. He is the ‘last Adam’, the representative man [Romans 5:12-21; 1Corinthians 15:22,45].

This ‘to us’ also teaches us that this child is born to bring to fulfilment the eternal purpose of God that God planned and determined before the beginning of time to save us. This birth is directed ‘to us’ - towards our salvation. The Scripture teaches us that:

This plan was ‘destined for our glory before time began’ [1Corinthians 2:7].

‘… when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law …’ [Galatians 4:4,5].

 ‘God chose us in him before the creation of the world …’ [Ephesians 1:4].

‘This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time’ [2Timothy 1:9].

The hope we have in Christ was ‘promised before the beginning of time …’ [Titus 1:2].

Jesus Christ is ‘the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world’ [Revelation 13:8].

This birth is not an ordinary or arbitrary birth. It is not an unplanned, unexpected birth. Here the eternal purpose of God breaks into human time and space. Here that which was hidden under the cover of prophetic symbolism breaks out into clear view. Here in this ‘to us a child is born’ God’s intentions towards us, intentions of mercy and grace, intentions involving an incredible substitutionary exchange, are irrevocably brought into tangible, visible reality. For us humans. For our salvation.

… to us a son is given.’ We might think at first that this is merely repeating the thought of the first line, and nothing more. But there is also a deeper truth here. Yes, this child is the son of Mary, this son is a human child. But a birth implies a father also. And here we learn that this ‘son’ who ‘is given’ is the Son of God.

Luke records the angel Gabriel’s message to Mary:

‘… you will … give birth to a son … He will … be called the Son of the Most High’ [Luke 1:32].

‘So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’ [Luke 1:35].

This birth, this Son of God, is given by God to us for our salvation:

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …’ [John 3:16].

‘… when the time had fully come, God sent his Son … to redeem those under the law …’ [Galatians 4:4,5].

‘This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. …he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’ [1John 4:9,10].

‘The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world’ [1John 4:14].

This ‘to us a son is given’ speaks of the deliberate intention of God to save us through Jesus Christ, his Son. This Son existed in eternity with the Father, before ever he was ‘given to us’.  But for our salvation, he was sent into the world, for our salvation, he came into the world. To us, for us, this Son is given:

He was sent by the Father not to condemn us, but to save us [John 3:17].
He came ‘to seek and to save the lost’ [Luke 19:10].
He came ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’ [Mark 19:45].
He came from the Father for the ‘hour’ of his death [John 12:27].

God has given his Son ‘to us’. In this Son is complete salvation; in his Son we have eternal life.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman:

‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’ [John 4:10].

If you knew the gift of God …

This Son has been given to us: let us not despise or reject this gift. Let us rather with Paul express our awe and our gratitude: ‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ [2Corinthians 9:15].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014