Isaiah uttered the same truths as Micah in his prophecy: “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. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isa. 9:6, 7).
When the Wise Men came to Jerusalem inquiring after the new ruler and were directed to Bethlehem on the basis of Micah’s prophecy, they asked for “the one who has been born king of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2). That is, they were asking for one who was a king from the very moment of His birth.
Have you ever considered how unusual that is? Almost invariably, even though one is born into a royal line and is destined to be a king, it is necessary for the person to wait for the death of the monarch preceding him. It is probably impossible to find a case in all history where any infant was born a king. Yet that was true of Jesus. And the reason it was true is that He already was a king, and had been from eternity past. He is the King of all earthly kings, both past and present; He is the eternal Lord of all lords. Remember that the next time you sing:
Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child, and yet a king.
Or when you hear that great chorus from the Messiah:
King of kings and Lord of lords—
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he came not only to be a ruler, but as a ruler over Israel.
Second, it is not only His person that establishes this mighty one as a ruler. That would be enough in itself. God does reign. But in addition, the one who was to be born in Bethlehem (and who was born there on that first Christmas) was also ruler by virtue of His future work. He was to redeem His people, delivering them from the shackles of their sin. Thus, He earned the right (as well as having merely possessed the right) of being their personal and particular Lord. Jesus is a ruler because He has purchased a special people for Himself by dying for them (1 Peter 2:9).