For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful…
I. THE PROMISED SAVIOUR IS DESCRIBED IN HIS HUMAN NATURE. "Unto us a Child is born." Having respect to the connection of the passage, and to the object for which the announcement is made, we feel that it is impossible to look on at the birth of this Child that was predicted, without seeing that a greater than one born of woman is there.
1. Still the main object of the first clause of the verse is, undoubtedly, to show forth that human nature in which He was to be manifested in order that He might do the work of salvation for His people. To be born is as truly the evidence and characteristic of humanity as to die. Not less in the simple but impressive fact of His birth of a human mother, than in the fact of His dying a human death, do we recognise the proof of our oneness with the Son of God in the same nature.
2. And why was it necessary for the hope and consolation of those whom He came to redeem, that they should be taught by the prophet that the Redeemer must be one with them in their very nature; and that the Eternal Son of God should be born of a woman?
(1) It was necessary that the Son of God should be made man, because otherwise He could not have stood in man's place and dealt with God on man's behalf, nor suffered and died, as it was needful to suffer and die, in order to offer a true atonement for human guilt.
(2) It was necessary that the Son of God should become man in order that He might be qualified to enter into our human feelings and fears, and to furnish us with a pledge of His sympathy in all our infirmities and temptations.
II. We find the prophet in the second clause making reference to THE DIVINE NATURE OF CHRIST. "Unto us a Son is given." And this view of the Person of Christ, as the Son of God as well as the Son of man, is not less necessary than the truth of His proper humanity to furnish a ground of hope and consolation to the Church of God in coming to Hun as a suitable and all-sufficient Redeemer.
III. But passing from the description of Christ's Person, the prophet next proceeds to give an account of the OFFICE WHICH BELONGS TO HIM, and which He executes as the Saviour. "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Borrowing its language from ancient customs, it is quite plain that the statement of the prophet contains in substance a declaration that the predicted Deliverer, whose advent was to shed light and blessedness on those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, was to exercise a supreme and unlimited authority, and to employ this authority for accomplishing the great purpose for which He was born as a Child and given as a Son.
1. In the case of believers — i.e., of those who are already subjects of Christ's kingdom — it is a blessed privilege for them to be assured that He reigns, alone and supreme, in the world and the Church.
2. On the other hand, in the case of mere nominal professors, such a truth, if in any degree realised, is fitted to fill them with anxiety and dispeace.
(J. Bannerman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.