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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Again, in this title, we find a paucity in the english language that does not reflect the richness of the original Hebrew. Mighty, in the Hebrew, speaks of one who is brave and strong, where as God in this context refers to the Almighty Jehovah. It’s almost like saying the Mighty Almighty, a superlative phrase that says there is no comparison.
With this prophecy embedded within their culture, no wonder the occupied Jews of the Holy Land were looking for a warrior saviour. But are there different ways of understanding strength, might and power. In another sense Isaiah is not only saying the the messiah has the power of God, but he is the power of God. This Power of the kingdom of God is breaking into the old order, not as an imposition from on high, but as leaven slowly causing the dough to rise. In the sermon on the mount Jesus in fact redefined power altogether, by saying blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus even rebuked the religious powers of his time when answering an involved question about marriage, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Surely, the power seen in Jesus Christ was the complete opposite to ancient and even contemporary thoughts of power.
We often confuse humility with weakness. After all, turning the other cheek does not seem all that powerful, does it?
Yet, when leaders choose to stand on the principles of love, compassion and integrity, many quietly label them as soft and spineless. Why? Because our modern-day ideas of strength have nothing to do with biblical principles. Too often, we commend so-called “success” that was achieved through a lack of empathy, greed, and self-centred attitudes.
Jesus, the greatest Leader of all time, had more strength, self-control and wisdom than any man who ever lived. Yet He passionately taught love, compassion, grace and forgiveness.
So, yes, Jesus was compassionate and loving. He was a strong leader who resisted intense temptations, led an imperfect team of problem-prone people, passed constant scrutiny and testing of commitment and integrity, and in all this, remained faithful to His mission despite the consequences.
- have a hard time embracing love, kindness, truth, grace, and forgiveness,
- can’t put others first,
- or think that somehow Jesus was weak and soft in the way He led,
then they probably have the wrong idea of what leadership is and its ultimate purpose,
Let’s remember that we can speak in tongues of angels, we can give all we have to the poor, we can have the prophetic power, we can understand all mysteries and possess all the knowledge, yet if we don’t have love, we have nothing. (1 Corinthians 13: 1-3.) And that’s pretty hard to argue against.
God of all power, and truth and grace
which shall from age to age endure,
whose word, when heaven and earth shall pass,
remains and stands for ever sure;
that I your mercy may proclaim,
that all the world your truth may see,
hallow your great and glorious name,
and perfect holiness in me.