The Book of Isaiah

Wednesday: Mighty God

Isaiah 9:6 In this week’s lessons, we look at the four names of Christ seen in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the child to be born.
Theme
Mighty God

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be our Counselor and be with us. And John writes that Jesus is also our Counselor as He reigns in heaven. I should point out here that this word parakletos, one who is called alongside another to help, is the Greek equivalent of the Latin word from which we get our word “advocate.” Jesus comes alongside as our advocate, as a lawyer does when he represents his client. Both the Son of God in heaven and the Holy Spirit present here in us on earth act as our divine Counselors, always acting wonderfully toward us.

How different from human counselors! People can give us bad advice, whether unintentionally or deliberately. But you never get bad advice from Jesus. If you and I get into trouble it’s because we don’t follow His counsel. Sometimes we ignore the counsel we are given in God’s Word because in our arrogance we think that somehow we know better than that One who actually made the universe, including ourselves. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, says the prophet Isaiah. And we’re wise if we learn to take His counsel.

Secondly, Isaiah says that this One to be born is going to be called the Mighty God. That’s also really remarkable, isn’t it? Here is an Old Testament prophecy that speaks of the coming of a king. There is turmoil on earth, and Isaiah says that someone is coming who is going to put things right. This child to be born is going to be a ruler, but His kingdom is spiritual in nature. Moreover, this One who is going to provide counsel is none other than the Mighty God Himself.

I think there is a tendency to look at this prophecy from our perspective of several thousand years later and conclude that, well, of course, this is talking about the incarnation. This is a doctrine with which Christians are very familiar, even though we do not understand every detail of how it came about. But at the time Isaiah wrote this it was a remarkable idea. To say clearly that there is going to be a child who is Himself the Mighty God really is astounding! And yet, of course, that is precisely what the incarnation is: God with us, Immanuel.

I find it interesting that this title, “the Mighty God,” is the one that Mary picked up on in what we call the Magnificat. She uses it in Luke 1:49: “…for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” Mary uses that name as she began to think of what God was doing in her life? It’s true that as she uses that she’s not using it necessarily of the child to be born of her. She was thinking of God who is responsible for the news she has received from the angel concerning the incarnation. But it is interesting, isn’t it, that Mary, the one who herself experienced this great miracle, that without a husband’s involvement she would bring forth the incarnation of God in human flesh, would be so impressed with the mighty power of Almighty God.

I suppose if you were to ask what the greatest miracle in the Bible was, many would answer the idea of resurrection—that someone who was dead had now been raised to life. But you know, even though resurrections are certainly very rare, the Bible records a number of them. I would say that the greatest of all the miracles is the incarnation. What an astounding thing that God, whom the Scripture describes as being spirit, could actually take upon Himself the human form of a specific man, born in a specific place, living in a specific period of history. How was it possible for God to do that?

If we’re trying to figure it out in human terms it is impossible. But with God all things are possible. The incarnation was necessary for our salvation, and this is precisely what God did, as He sent His Son, who is Himself the Mighty God, to achieve our redemption.

Study Questions
  1. Read 1 John 2:1-2. What does it mean for Jesus to act as our advocate?
  2. Why is it remarkable that Isaiah refers to the coming one as “Mighty God”?
  3. How does Mary use this idea of the mighty God?
Application

Reflection: Can you recount an experience in your life when the Lord did something wonderful that you did not think was possible? Praise Him for this.

Key Point: What an astounding thing that God, whom the Scripture describes as being spirit, could actually take upon Himself the human form of a specific man, born in a specific place, living in a specific period of history.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Donald Barnhouse’s message, “When Love Came Down.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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