This devotional originally appeared in Sterling College’s 2015 Advent devotional.
I typically try to avoid talking about politics, but it’s hard for me to read this passage without drawing parallels to our current election cycle. The prophet Isaiah (hundreds of years before Jesus was born) prophesied that one day a Savior would rise up and rule, “and the government will be on His shoulders” and “the greatness of His government and peace will not end.”
This was just one of many prophesies made in the Old Testament about a coming Savior. The Jews of Jesus’ time knew these passages well, and most—if not all—expected a powerful, militant, and political leader. They had been taken advantage of, abused, and ruled unfairly for hundreds of years and were understandably anxious for the powerful leader Isaiah and the prophets promised them.
Strangely, a few chapters later, Isaiah also predicted that this coming Ruler would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” He would, indeed, save the Jews, but He would do it because of His willingness to be “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities.” The punishment we deserved was put on Him, and “by His wounds we are healed.”
That’s an interesting political strategy.
I doubt many people initially expected a humble carpenter born to a simple couple in a manger to become this leader who would eventually have the government on His shoulders. Jesus wasn’t vocal about overthrowing military regimes or taking power from the upper class. He wasn’t a successful CEO, influential politician, or controversial reality TV star. Instead, this Savior attracted people no one else cared about, routinely spoke about loving our enemies, and eventually sacrificed Himself so we could spend eternity with Him.
All of this started with a baby in a manger, predicted hundreds of years in advance.
Jesus’ power and influence wasn’t what anyone expected, but I, for one, am grateful that He is the leader we ultimately follow. He had no desire to gain fame or tout His agenda; instead this humble King came to claim these titles: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” That is a leader worth following and devoting your life to, and we have assurance that His reign of peace will never end.