For Unto us…
This familiar phrase actually appears in this form only in Isa. 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given…”. I want to take a moment to consider, I mean really consider what is being said here.
Jesus was given TO US!
Think about that!
Most of us are aware that Jesus was given FOR us, but to realize yet another and perhaps even deeper truth (in that is speaks to the very reason FOR salvation since it is relational to it’s core) – Jesus was give TO us… For unto US!
Now of course Jesus was only God’s son physically.
As part of the Godhead, Jesus had no position above or beneath The Father – that relationship of Father-to-Son BEGAN at the incarnation – and will (so far as scripture has revealed) never end. [1Cor. 15:28]
God the Father literally had a physically born human baby boy…a body if you will, into which the Spirit of the Eternally Living Word would be placed…and in that way, and that way alone, Jesus was and is the son of God. God in the form of a baby, was God’s final word spoken TO man regarding their salvation.
We know Him as Jesus which means SAVIOR – which is the reason and reality behind the promise that a child would be given TO US.
Jesus Himself is said to have spoken of His Own incarnation in that way. In Heb. 10:5 it says, “You did not want sacrifice and offering, but a body You have prepared for Me.”
Even the way He sometimes spoke of Himself was as two people – there was WHO He eternally was as God, and there was WHO He was made to be for mankind.
Consider how in this one place Jesus refers to Himself in the third person in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.”
Perhaps one of my favorite poetic accounts of the incarnation being the result of the Father’s spoken Word is Michael Card’s “The Final Word”, which I have referenced before. The lyrics actually capture the wonder and truths of the “For unto us” of the incarnation.
You and me we use so very many clumsy words.
The noise of what we often say is not worth being heard.
When the Father’s wisdom wanted to communicate His love,
He spoke it in one final perfect Word.
He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born a Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
He Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born a baby Who would die to make it mine.
And so the Father’s fondest thought became flesh and bone.
He spoke the living luminous Word, at once His will was done.
And so the transformation that in man had been unheard,
Took place in God the Father as He spoke that final Word.
And so the Light became alive and manna became Man.
Eternity stepped into time so we could understand.
He spoke the incarnation, and then so was born a Son.
His final word was Jesus, He needed no other one.
Spoke flesh and blood so He could bleed and make a way Divine.
And so was born a baby Who would die to make it mine.
So let’s take some time to consider the depth and meaning of those words “For unto us”.
Almighty God, the One about Whom we’ve read in the amazing first chapter of John – Who alone was responsible for creating EVERYTHING that exists!
That particular member of the Godhead – became one of His Own creations… He became a baby boy.
At this church we’ve talked about what it was that God the Father was saying in sending The Living Word to us as a child, born to be the Savior of the world.
It is in John chapter 1 that we find His intentions – “In Him was LIFE and that Life was the LIGHT of men.” We learned also that the LIFE was in fact the Father Himself.
Light has in many cultures over time, represented understanding. The Bible is no exception, so when Jesus was referred to as the “light” of the world, ONE of the meaning was that He was man’s understanding of God.
That union which existed between Jesus THE HUMAN, was the light of the World or said another way to make it more clear – The perfect intimate union that existed between God the Father and Jesus the HUMAN BEING was the revelation to the world – that God Loves mankind and desires to know and be known by us.
Salvation is to KNOW the Father and Jesus Whom He sent. Of course by “know” we mean to know in the context of an intimate and warm relationship. It is the same word used for intimacy in marriage.
Those words “For unto us” spoken prophetically by Isaiah 700 years before Messiah’s birth, was the very words the Angel spoke to the shepherds the night He was born.
Turn with me to Luke 2:1-35,
“(1) In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. (2) This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
Now I know some of you sometimes wonder at the necessity of all the detail…I mean who cares who was governing Syria when Jesus was born?
Well this fact, together with a some written accounts of Josephus, ancient Roman records and a full lunar eclipse is what makes it possible to virtually tack down with alarming certainty the time of Christ’s birth which is important to reliably establish Him as a real person, born at a very specific time. God knew this, so He inspired Luke to record the details of His arrival.
(3) So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town. (4) And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, (5) to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.
Of course being pregnant before marriage does not sound odd today, but God designed physical union to be expressed inside the commitment of marriage, so it was that among the Jews in their day this was a MAJOR offense which could have landed them both or at least Mary in some VERY hot water!
(6) While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. (7) Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough–because there was no room for them at the inn.
(8) In the same REGION, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock.
Though many think of it only as quaint, this mention of shepherds is one of the most endearing and telling historical aspects surrounding Jesus’ birth.
On a practical level, it offers us a time of year in which Jesus was born. It’s one of the reasons why we know Jesus was not actually born on December 25th. You see, shepherds were rarely staying out in the fields with their flock all night that late in the year.
Not to get side-stepped from our focus, but it is quite possible that Sept. 29th 2B.C. was the day in which God became a baby boy. It in one of the few dates which can be reconciled with all of the other biblical and historical facts surrounding His birth. Not to mention the significance it would have to the Jewish people in that it would have been during the Feast of Trumpets 15 days before the Feast of Tabernacles. You see on the Feast of Trumpets, there was a blast of the horn that signified “Good News” and the Feast of Booths (or Feast of tabernacles) would have in a very literal way signified God as having “Tabernacled” among His people – in the person of His son Jesus, our Emmanuel (which means God with us).
(9) Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (10) But the angel said to them,
“Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you GOOD NEWS of great joy that will be for all the people: (11) today a Savior, Who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. (12) This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
Born FOR YOU! Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
(13) Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: (14) Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!
(15) When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
(16) They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough.
(17) After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, (18) and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
God has chosen the base things of the world to confound the wise. – In that day, Shepherds were of very low repute. Morris says, “As a class shepherds had a bad reputation . . . More regrettable was their habit of confusing ‘mine’ with ‘thine’ as they moved about the country. They were considered unreliable and were not allowed to give testimony in the law courts.” So who does God first assign the job of giving testimony to the birth of His Son…but Shepherds. He came veiled so that only those who have eyes to see will see and only those who have ears to hear will hear!
(19) But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. (20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.
Jesus is circumcised into the Covenant…
(21) When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named JESUS–the name given by the angel before He was conceived. (22) And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (23) (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord) (24) and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons).
This was necessary on many grounds, but largely it was in order for Him to literally “fulfill all righteousness” and “fulfill the law” without blame or sin – that He might be qualified to serve as the Lamb slain for our sins. ALL of this speak to the meaning behind “For unto us“.
(25) There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him. (26) It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. (27) Guided by the Spirit, he entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, (28) Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: (29) Simeon was waiting for the “consolation of Israel” – this is an amazing word with which you are all familiar. It is the word Paraklesis making Jesus our Paracletos. Paraklesis is the act of exhortation, encouragement, comfort.
It is a very good word to use of Jesus because as is shown in John 1, Jesus is the Living Word and all of Scripture is actually a Paraklesis… that is an exhortation, admonition or encouragement for the purpose of strengthening and establishing the believer in the faith.
In fact Paul speaks of his preaching of the gospel as Paraklesis in 1Thess. 2:3. Even the contents of the letter addressed to the church at Antioch in Acts 15:31 is called Paraklesis.
So Simeon being a godly and devoted man, had been placed in a state of favorable expectation (and therefore faith) in the Messiah, Who he knew as the encouragement, exhortation and comfort of Israel. The Holy Spirit had told him that he would not see death until he had had seen Messiah with his own eyes. So you can imagine what was in his heart as the Holy Spirit led him into the temple that day to look upon his Messiah and hold him in his arms and say the following words…
“Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, according to Your word. (30) For my eyes have seen Your salvation. (31) You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples–
(32) a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel.
This is in agreement with John 1 which said, “In Him was Life and that Life was the LIGHT of men.”
“(33) His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. (34) Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed– (35) and a sword will pierce your own soul–that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Bear in mind the following truths…
- That God the Father was IN Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself. – 2Corinthians 5:17-21
- That Jesus was the light of the world BECAUSE He was THE revelation of the Father. – John 1
- Jesus said of Himself, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” – John 14:1-9
So what does it mean that Jesus was born UNTO us?
We can all understand that Jesus was born FOR the Father…after all John 3:16 tells us that “God the Father so loved the world that He send His Son” and the fact that He was born TO us…FOR us does not alter that He was also born out of respect to the heart of God the Father Who so loved the world! That relationship of love and eternal deference between the Father, Son and Spirit has existed from eternity past and is the bases for all He has ever made or done. So Jesus, was born FOR the Father first and foremost.
According to Luke’s account Jesus came “unto us” as a light or revelation unto the Gentiles and the Glory of God’s people Israel.
So what does all of this add up to?
Turn with me to John 12:44-50,
“(44) Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. (45) And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. (46) I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. (47) And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (48) He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him– the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (49) For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. (50) And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
So the Light was the revelation of the Father…His heart – the intentions of the very Eternal and good heart first questioned by Eve in the garden.
What was the temptation again? “God only told you that you would die because He knows that if you ever ate that fruit you’d become like Him knowing both good and evil.”
So now that man had experienced an intimate knowledge of evil, God steps into time to reveal His good heart and intentions towards mankind…Good News!
So Jesus incarnate, was a revelation:
- OF the Father
- That Man can once again have perfect union with Him through the forgiveness of sins.
But what about His revelation to Israel. Luke called Him “the GLORY of His people Israel“. Well this is true on at least two levels:
- He was their Glory in that He IS their King.
- He is their Glory in that their glorification can only be realized through Him!
1 Cor. 2:6-7 says, “(6) However, among the mature we do speak a wisdom, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. (7) On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, which God predestined before the ages for our glory.”
What wisdom is that? Well let’s rewind from chapter 2 to chapter 1. Turn with me to 1 Cor. 1:18-31.
“(18) For to those who are perishing the message of the cross is foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is God’s power. (19) For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. (20) Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? (21) For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. (22) For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, (23) but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. (24) Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, (25) because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (26) Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. (27) Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. (28) God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things–the things viewed as nothing–so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, (29) so that no one can boast in His presence. (30) But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, (31) in order that, as it is written: The one who Glories must GLORY in the Lord.”
So JESUS IS the wisdom of God WHO – IN HIS PERSON – was FOREORDAINED for OUR Glory or in modern wording, for our glorification. “For Unto Us”
Now the word Glory is translated from the Greek word Doxa – and it has several shades of meaning but ultimately it is a word regarding character.
- When used of God it is referring to His unchanging essence – WHO He is.
- Giving glory to God is ascribing to Him His full recognition.
- The true glory of man, on the other hand, is the ideal condition in which God created man. This condition was lost in the fall and is recovered through Christ and exists as a real fact in the divine mind. The believer waits for this complete restoration. The glory of man is what they are meant by God to be, which is the very image of Christ.
This is why Romans 8 says, “Christ in us IS our expectation of Glory”…and therefore IS one and the same as bearing Fruit.
Jesus said in John 15, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and APPOINTED you to bring FORTH fruit and that your fruit should remain” He also told us that in this process we are – in a sense – brought into the circle of the perichoresis in that Glory begins with God the Father and ends in Him. The fact that we are now destined to share in that glory makes us part of that inner circle – we are in a very real way, His family.
In Numbers…God told Moses that regardless of the disobedience of Israel “My Glory WILL BE revealed throughout the WHOLE earth”.
That process began at the incarnation of Christ AS A HUMAN.
“In Him was LIFE, and that life was the LIGHT of Men…and we Beheld His Glory as the ONLY begotten of WHOM???? The Father! FULL of grace and truth!”
Jesus is then glorified in turn by being revealed to the church BY the Holy Spirit.
John 16:14, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”
Which produces Glory back on the Father again as we take on the likeness of God through Christ – thus completing the circle.
“By this My Father is glorified – that you bear Much Fruit!”
Can you see how this process of glorifying fallen man IS the wisdom taught to the principalities and powers through the church – which Paul said was the PURPOSE of God.
So let’s read a few scriptures in closing which describe and point to that Glorification, because it is the fullness of the answer to the question of what “For unto us” means!
2Thess. 2:13-17, “(13) But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, (14) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (16) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, (17) comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.”
2Cor. 4:5-18, “(5) For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For it is the God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness, Who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (8) We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– (10) always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (11) For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (12) So then death is working in us, but life in you. (13) And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED AND THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe and therefore speak, (14) knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. (15) For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (16) Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. (17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (18) while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Rom. 8:12-39, “(12)Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (15) For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (16) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. (20) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; (21) because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (23) Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (24) For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (26) Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (27) Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (29) For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. (34) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written: “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER.” (37) Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (38) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, (39) nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So – For Unto Us is Born a Savior – Christ the Lord. These words are a statement of love-filled intimacy and union with God. Jesus was given TO us. This was and is the revelation to the world that mankind can, through reliance upon Christ Jesus and His finished work, be brought back into intimate union with God again and as a result of that union – be fundamentally and incrementally changed into the image of Jesus Christ. Until that time, Someone else has also been given to us in order to perfect the word of God in our lives and bring us into conformity to the image of Jesus Christ and that is the precious and powerful Holy Spirit – Romans 5:5.
When God gives gifts, He doesn’t give impersonal things, he gives people…personalities, and in the case of our redemption He gave both Jesus and the precious Holy Spirit!
Jesus IS the Glory of His People Israel of which spiritual family, we have become a part, if we are in Christ – John 10:14-16).
This article is based upon a message I taught on December 2018. I’ve included the video link below.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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