For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name 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…
These are well known lines from the Old Testament, prophesying the coming of the baby born in a stable in Bethlehem nearly 800 years later. We see them usually in the couplet about the Child and Son or in the four names (or maybe five, depending on your translation of choice).
Less often we see the reference to government.
Was it prophesied that He would be a political leader? Thirty years after his birth in the stable, some of His followers would try make him that and some of His detractors would fear that. But He told them plainly, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and “The kingdom of God is within you.”
Yet the government will be on His shoulders and of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He has a kingdom0, and a kingdom is a form of government. His form of government.
We are told that it will increase continually. To increase means to get bigger. When people try to tell you that things are getting worse and darkness is closing out the light, don’t believe them.
Every day, across the world, even in the midst of persecution no reader of this paper can really imagine, the Gospel of the kingdom is spreading and people are responding to it by the thousands. They are surrendering their lives to Jesus and finding the truth of the words of St Paul in his letter to the Romans, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
But even for those of us who know Christ – who have declared our allegiance to Him and to His kingdom above all else, and that our true citizenship is in heaven – there is a question to ask. Is His government increasing in our lives?
For each of us, there areas of our lives over which we want to maintain control. Over those same areas, we have no peace.
For example, do we want to maintain control of who and when we forgive? Do we think that we are master over a wrong that has been done to us?
When we give it up, it becomes all too clear that unforgiveness had mastery over us.
Are those areas of control our finances, our desires, our addictions, our dreams, our goals, our relationships with family or friends? Those are a few possibilities. There are certainly others.
When we give each of them to Him, His government increases. Our Prince of Peace wants to extend His perfect rule over every part of our heart.