“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7a ESV)
Isaiah’s words sound really weird to me. I am thinking about the newborn Jesus, such a tiny baby lying there in the manger—and suddenly Isaiah says, “the government shall be upon His shoulder.” What? How can those tiny shoulders carry any weight at all? And what exactly does he mean by government, anyway?
Read verse 7: “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7 ESV)
It looks like when Isaiah says “government,” he doesn’t mean the bureaucracy we usually think of. Instead he means the action of governing, ruling—what we call “being in charge,” “taking care of things,” or “making sure that everything happens the way it’s supposed to.” That is the government Jesus’ shoulders will carry. He will do the work of a good shepherd, of a manager, of a king—of God.
That work includes all of us, with our sins and our troubles and our griefs—all the things that need to be set right. Only God’s shoulders are strong enough for that. That’s why Jesus can carry it—because He is God and human, too. And because He loves us, He will carry that weight gladly—all the way to the cross and beyond.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for carrying the weight of our care now and forever. Amen.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
First published December 4, 2021
* Have you ever been in charge of something?
* How heavy was the weight of the “governing” you did?
* In what ways do you see Jesus governing your life?
(To view the entire “Advent Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)