This is the one-hundred-eighty-fourth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
“And he will be called…Mighty God.” Isaiah 9:6
In the Old Testament, some of the prophecies about Christ are mysterious statements. They were so bold and so large that they were treasured through the generations until they were fulfilled and finally understood. Isaiah’s oracle about a son who would be born—Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, and all the rest—was one of those landmark prophecies. In that moment of inspiration, Isaiah revealed Jesus would be Mighty God.
After Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension, his followers would piece together what he said and did, and they would conclude that Jesus really was one with God the Father in a way that is appropriate to call him divine. The doctrine of the Trinity would be defined later, but in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming one are the seeds of this truth.
In the Jewish tradition, nothing was more important than belief in the “oneness” of God. Not two gods, not a thousand gods, but one and only one God. So what could happen when, in Bethlehem, Magi from the east came bearing gifts fit for a king but also worshipped him? Why did Jesus allow fishermen in a boat to worship him after he calmed a storm? Or what about Mary falling at Jesus’ feet and worshiping him there in the garden after his resurrection? Or the disciple Thomas falling at his feet and saying, “My Lord and my God”?
Nobody at the start of Jesus’ life, nor during his adult ministry, even hinted at anything suggesting there is more than one God. But because of who God is; because God is higher than human comprehension; because God said “us” from the very beginning: “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26); and because the coming one would be called Immanuel, “God with us” (Matt. 1:22-23), we can believe that Christmas represents the true entry of God into human affairs. The same God who created humanity also took humanity on himself when it suited his purposes—to save that same humanity. The God who created the world entered it through a human birth in the town of Bethlehem.
Not any kind of god would do that. Only the One, true, Mighty God.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I believe you are mighty. I believe you can do whatever you wish. I believe you came in the flesh in Jesus.
[See next – God Dwelling With Us]
[See previous – The Name of Jesus]
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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel’s many books include Spiritual Leadership Today: Having Deep Influence in Every Walk of Life (Zondervan, 2016). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.