For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
In the computer age, it’s pretty easy to give our words emphasis when we write. You just use a bigger, bolder, or different color font. Ancient writers didn’t have these tools, but they did have emphasis. In the Old Testament, one of the most common ways to make a point was to repeat it, usually using slightly different words.
When Isaiah wrote, unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, he used this tool of repetition to emphasize the point. Yet we recognize the hand of the Holy Spirit in the specific wording.
It starts out, unto us a Child is born. This tells us that the victory-bringing Messiah would be a man. Theoretically, the Messiah could have been an angel, or even God without humanity. But only a true man could be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus is. The Child had to be born. What amazing mystery! There is nothing weaker, more helpless, more dependent than a Child.
Isaiah continued: unto us a Son is given. This would be more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. The Messiah wasn’t just a sinless angel or a perfect man like Adam. We needed a perfect, infinite Being to offer a perfect, infinite atonement for our sins. We needed Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14).
Thinking a little deeper, we see that the Child could be born, because the humanity of Jesus had a starting point. There was a time when humanity had not yet been added to His deity. The Son had to be given, because the Second Person of the Trinity is eternal, and He has existed forever as the God the Son – even before He added humanity to His deity.
While Isaiah may have intended the repetition merely for the sake of emphasis, we see that the Holy Spirit beautifully guided every word! Jesus, the Messiah, is fully God and fully man. There was a time when the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, added humanity to His deity. He never became less God, but He added a human nature to His divine nature, and so He became one person with two distinct natures, functioning together in perfect harmony.
If Jesus were not fully man, He could not stand in the place of sinful man and be a substitute for the punishment humanity deserves. If He were not fully God, His sacrifice wouldn’t be perfect and therefore wouldn’t be enough to satisfy God’s perfect standard. If Jesus is not fully God and fully man, we remain lost in our sin. We can say, “Thank you Lord, for the Child born and the Son given.”