Part 2 of a 4-week series on the identity of Christ. (See the rest of the series.)
Last week PJ kicked off a new weekly feature in which we’ll be recapping the sermons at Oasis Church (where we both attend, and where PJ is the student pastor). Last week’s message was the first in a series titled He Will Be Called… that focuses each week on a different aspect of Christ’s identity as revealed in Isaiah 9:6, which reads:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This week, we focus on the second dimension of Christ’s being, that of mighty God. Keep in mind that this bit of Scripture was written by the prophet Isaiah more than 750 years before Jesus Christ was born. That would be like someone in the 1260’s (around the time of the Crusades and the signing of the Magna Carta) predicting a particular child’s birth today. Too cool.
What does it mean that Christ is “Mighty God”? In a nutshell, that he has the power to move mountains, and he can move them for you. Christ was a man, yes, but one whose life was filled with the power and glory of God, and who now sits at God’s right hand, ready and willing to use that power on the behalf of his followers.
Even greater, he has the power to change and work through us if only we will let accept him as our lord and savior. The implications of this are threefold:
First, there has to be something inside of us for God to work with. In his first letter to the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:14-15), the apostle Paul says that men “without the Spirit” reject the things of God as foolishness because they can’t understand them. The “spiritual man… has the mind of Christ” on the other hand. The same notion is repeated in the book of Titus, where Paul claims that “all things are pure to the pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe nothing is pure.” (I wrote about this awhile back.) If you’ve ever been criticized for being “too religious” or a “Jesus freak”, it was likely by someone “without the Spirit”. Those of us who accept follow Christ, though, discern his Spirit in one another. This leads to the second implication…
We are changed by the power of the Mighty God working in us. Recently, I’ve found my worldview changing. I don’t like the things I used to like, and I’m starting to find a lot of joy in simpler things, like a peaceful afternoon with my wife. For awhile, I attributed that change to getting older. In his sermon on Sunday, Todd suggested something else, though: that old age doesn’t make you wiser, God does. When you’re living for God and by his word, your will bends toward his. You begin, like I’ve begun, to find joy in the things He provides, not those man does. Your hopes and dreams take on the cast of his light, and you find they look much better than before. Anyone who has ever given up their plans for God’s will likely attest to how pitiful theirs seems in hindsight.
And finally, when we submit to God’s will and give ourselves up to be changed by him, God’s power begins to be seen in us by others. This is a hard one. Primarily because we are so prideful. We want our accomplishments to be attributed to us. Don Miller blogged about this recently, the risks of thinking that you’re the most impressive thing in the room, that you are responsible for your own greatness and not God. It’s been my experience that people who do this reek of desperation and are never more than a couple of bad days removed from losing it all. “Pride goes before destruction,” and all that. Consider, on the other hand, the joy and success that almost always follows people who commit – and I mean really commit, not just by way of lip service and ceremony – their children, careers, marriages, and talents to God. Sincerely modest people, who thank God for what they’re given and mean it. What great joy those people know.
This Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, I give thanks that he is mighty, with power to change me and to use me to change the world.
How have you experienced Christ the Mighty God? Let us know in the comments, and check back next week for the third part of our series He Will Be Called… .