You probably shouldn’t tell my mom this, but I really liked a lot of the music she listened to in the car, especially around Christmas time. If she finds out, she’ll never let me tease her about it again. But I really did enjoy a lot of it, including Steve Green’s Christmas music. One song in particular stands in my memory, so much so that it has cost me points on a Bible verse test in Bible college. He did a song called, “Messiah Medley,” and in it, he sang words to verses, including Isaiah 9:6. He repeats the last two names the Messiah would be called, and so did I. Here’s the song:
Isaiah is talking about the Jewish Messiah that would be coming, and he is listing what He should be called. Today, I want to focus on His being called the Mighty God. Here in the midst of a list of titles is perhaps one of the most significant terms in all of the Old Testament. I would venture to say that this list is read as a whole, with little thought given to the individual titles, but they are distinctly separate roles, and each one is important for understanding who Jesus was, and who He was predicted to be.
Deuteronomy 6:4 is the beginning of the Shema, a key Scripture to the Jewish faith, and it is often used to explain why Jesus just couldn’t be God. ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” God was defining Himself and distinguishing His true nature from the nature of the false gods in polytheistic societies. He was one. He was the real deal, the end of the line, the one and only. He didn’t outsource various jobs to other deities, because He was it. And so God is one. If God is one, how then could Jesus also be God?
Well, there are various things we could discuss, including that the word for God in that text is “Elohim,” –im being the ending used for singular plurality in Hebrew. It is one God, but contained within is some plurality (like the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit). This is one God, yet He exists in 3 persons, as we know now. In John 1, Jesus is identified as God (In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.) To a Jewish person, this is heresy. Jesus cannot be God, because God is one. At best, He could be the Messiah, but that’s not the same as being God. This is the pushback I have received from Jewish friends.
But being the Messiah is the same as being God. His name would be called the Mighty God! In Isaiah 7, God would give us a sign when a virgin would conceive, and His name would mean God with us! Isaiah wasn’t really being that mysterious with his prophecy. He wasn’t beating around the bush. He plainly states that when the Messiah comes, He would be God. And Jesus did, and He was, and He still is.
Which name(s) from Isaiah 9:6 best describes who Jesus is to you right now?
If you understand that He is the Mighty God, the Father from everlasting to everlasting, how does that change the way you celebrate Him, especially around Christmas? Is there awe and reverence in your celebration?
Christmas is really about God coming to earth to rescue us. How can you make that reality a better part of your Christmas celebration?