Subject: Christmas Part 5 – Jesus Christ = The Son Given by His Father
Isaiah 9:6a “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a SON IS GIVEN….”
Matthew 13:54-55 “He taught them in the synagogue, so they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the CARPENTER’S SON?”
“He was her man, she was his wife, and late one winter night he knelt by her as she gave birth. But it wasn’t his child. Yet he still took Him as his own, and as he watched Him grow it brought him joy. He loved that boy. But it wasn’t his child. But like a father he was strong and kind and good, and I believe he did his best. It wasn’t easy for him, but he did all he could. His son was different from the rest. It wasn’t his child.
And when the boy became a man, he took his father’s hand. And soon the world would all know why It wasn’t his child. And like his Father, He was strong and kind and good. And I believe he did his best. It wasn’t easy for Him, but he did all he could. He grew up with His hands in wood. And He died with His hands in wood. He was God’s Child.
He was her man, she was his wife and late one winter night he knelt by her as she gave birth. But it wasn’t his child. It was God’s Child.”
The above lyrics, from Skip Ewing’s 1989 song “It wasn’t his child”, explain very well the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6a, of the “Child born” who matures into the “Son given”. Jesus was born and raised as a Child under the instruction of His earthly father Joseph, who grows up with “His hands in wood” as a carpenter, who eventually follows the instruction of His heavenly Father, who dies “with His hands in wood”.
The word ‘Child’ means a ‘young boy born of a man’. But the Hebrew word ‘Son’ means ‘a builder of the family name’, and the word ‘given’ means ‘offered up’ or ‘appointed’’. In his book “He Shall be Called”, Robert Morgan explains: “Our Lord’s earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter… we can assume Jesus Himself took over His father’s business (in Matthew 13:55, He is called ‘the carpenter’s son’, but in Mark 6:3, people said of Him, ‘Is this not the carpenter?’). The irony is too poignant to have been accidental. The tools of His trade became the instruments of His death. Hammer and nails and wood, using them to erect something that would outlast the ages. ‘I will build my church,’ He said, ‘and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18)’
In Jewish Law, all Hebrew boys automatically transition to men, or ‘bar mitzvahs’, at age 13 (‘bar mitzvah’ means ‘son of the commandment.’) At age 13, he is no longer treated as an child, and takes on both the responsibilities and privileges of manhood, especially the accountability to keep the commandments of the Law, to take part in leading religious services, even the privilege to marry. We are given a glimpse into Jesus moving from Joseph’s son to God’s Son in Luke 2:41-49, when He was 12 years old. After somehow losing track of Jesus for three days, Joseph and Mary find Him in the temple, where He is sitting with the teachers of the Law. It’s in verses 48-49 we see the transition from child to man: “When they (Joseph and Mary) saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’”
Jesus is moving from His father’s business of carpentry to His Father’s business of redemption. It’s the essence of John 3:16, where Jesus explains to Nicodemus that He is being given by His Father to redeem mankind from their sin: “For God (the Father) so loved the world, that HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
How can we receive this Son freely given by God? What if our New Year’s resolution was to give Him our hearts, our very person, to allow Him to have free access to mold our character into the person He wants us to be, instead of trying in our own strength to somehow be a better person? 2Chronicles 16:9 says “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal toward Him.” He doesn’t want your good intentions, or your good deeds – He wants you, to live within you as both your Savior and Lord. As Paul says in Colossians 1:27, it’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Over the next several weeks, we’ll walk through the character traits of a person who has resolved to live only to please Jesus Christ. We’ll start next week with what it means to “fear Him”.