The Government Shall Be on His Shoulders By DAVE KUBAL for The Stream
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 9:6–7)
At the center of the announcement of the birth of Christ is the message that government is this Child’s responsibility. It is Christ who shoulders the responsibility for government. It is not an accident that this statement is inserted in the middle of the announcement of His coming and His purpose. This statement about His government could be easily glossed over. But it is a vital part of the announcement of His coming, and the roles He will play.
As we look through history, we see the counterintuitive manner in which Christ accomplishes this responsibility for government: personal governance and civil governance.
Personal Governance is the Foundation
The selfless message of hope and love and is the most compelling in all of human history. Our Creator was willing to limit Himself to the form of a human body, live a spotless life and then die a criminal’s death in order to provide for our forgiveness. This is such an appealing and personal message that it is still attracting and changing lives 2,000 years later. This Christ Child’s governance over individuals’ lives does not come through compulsion or external restraint, but rather through the message of sacrifice, love, and forgiveness.
We see this when we look at the sheer numbers of adherents to the Christian faith which have grown through every century since the first. The few hundred believers there were at the beginning have grown to number now over 2.5 billion, about one-third of the world’s population. A simple glance at the trend lines will show that there is no other world religion that will eclipse the influence of Christian believers upon the individuals around them. The individual governance of this Child continues to increase.
Our Savior’s Governance is Increasing in the Civil Arena as Well
God’s increasing rule is not limited to individuals only. It also encompasses nations. We know that just as every individual has a God-ordained divine purpose and a destiny, so does every nation. Founding Father Patrick Henry said it best: “There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations.”
Through the centuries, earthly rulers and kings have attempted to extend their territory through control, military advancement and even conquest; by contrast, the civil governance of the Christ Child advances through an opposite tactic: freedom.
The heart cry for freedom is embedded in each of us and is evidence that we are birthed in the image of our Creator. This God-given right is divine in its origin and irrevocably endowed to each person. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness comes through self-reliance and self-restraint within the moral code of God.
In our own nation, the restlessness created by the longing for a government that protects individual rights and freedoms continued to simmer in human minds until the American Revolution. At the core of this revolution was the Christ Child’s concept of individual liberty and an eternal moral code superseding the authority of kings. Our Founding Fathers gave birth to the freest nation in the history of the world by declaring independence from Great Britain and then adopting the Constitution of the United States.