By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “What Child Is This?” The tune is called “Greensleeves” and was written in England about the 16th century. But it was not until 1865 while America was in the Civil War that an English poet named William Chatterton Dix, wrote a poem called, “Manger’s Throne.”
This is where we get the words for this famous hymn. Part of the poem, which we do not use, speaks of the truth of the cross. Let me encourage you to go look it up.
Dix wrote this poem from the perspective of someone trying to answer the question “Who is this?” or “What Child is this?” Still today, we have people trying to figure out the answer to this extremely important question.
Answers vary from a good man, a great prophet, a religious reformer to the Savior, and Lord and King. But the fact is, everyone must answer the question, “Who is this Child?” sooner or later.
The best way to find the answer to this question is to look in the Bible. What makes the Bible unique from any other Scriptures of world religion is that it’s the only book that contains prophecy. The Bible contains prophecies written hundreds of years before they were fulfilled.
For instance, we are going to look at the words of Isaiah written 700 years before Jesus was born. So, how did the Bible answer the question, “What Child is this?”
Isaiah 9:6 paints four pictures that answer our question. The first picture is: He is a Counselor. A counselor is someone who advises or someone to share your problems with. Jesus is that kind of a counselor.
The Bible says, “You can cast your cares upon Him because he cares for you.” Here the word counselor carries the idea of someone who is an advocate, like an attorney, or if you’ve ever had a problem where there was a mediator to arbitrate between two parties.
That’s what Jesus is. He’s our advocate and He’s the only advocate available for us to relate to God. He qualifies because He’s all God and He’s all man.
The second picture we find is: He is the Mighty God. God is referred to as the Mighty God several times in the Old Testament. In Hebrew it is El Shaddai — God in the flesh. Colossians 1 says, “In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” God put on flesh in the form of Jesus Christ when He was born in Bethlehem.
The third picture we see in Isaiah 9:6 is: the Everlasting Father. God can be like a father to us, which makes our faith distinctive and unique from all other faiths.
The Bible is the only place in all of religious literature that says you can relate to God “like a child relates to his father.” Regardless of how you grew up, God wants to be your father. He wants us to be a part of His family.
The last picture we see is He’s the Prince of Peace. God wasn’t talking about people having peace with people or nations having peace with other nations. He was talking about having peace with Him. Peace is the inner peace you have when you come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. That’s what Christmas is all about! It’s not just a baby in a manger — it’s a Savior. What Child is this? He’s the one that can change your life and forgive you of your sins.