For the next four weeks leading up to Christmas, I would like to share a few thoughts about the four names of the Cosmic Christ Child, all of which are rooted in these words from the pen of the prophet Isaiah:
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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Let’s begin with a brief word about the context of this passage. In the ancient world, when a king was crowned, he would be given names or titles that would identify his rule and his reign and the reach of his kingdom. The same was true of the four names bestowed upon this child that was born and this son that was given to us. This week we will focus on the meaning of “Wonderful Counselor,” the first name for our Lord Jesus Christ. We will look at the first half of the name on Monday, the second half of the name on Wednesday, and both combined to close out the week on Friday.
Wonderful is a word we are all quite familiar with, especially at Christmas time. It is part of the title of a Christmas movie beloved by millions: It’s A Wonderful Life. I’m sure we will all hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played on the radio and in department stores throughout the Christmas season.
However, if we are to fully grasp the meaning of this word Wonderful in the context in which it is used in sacred Scripture, we must divorce ourselves from the way we typically use it. To say something is a “wonder” or is “wonderful” is to talk about how it makes us feel and the emotions we experience. But in the biblical context, it would be better for us to see wonderful as something holy, transcendant, and utterly outside our experience. If I were to use one word as a synonym, it would be supernatural. When the psalmist Asaph was inspired to write about the “wonders God did in the land of Egypt” (Psalm 78:11), he was pointing to the supernatural and miraculous power that God put on display before the watching world.
David marveled that “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:6). Clearly, he meant that God’s power and grace are wonderful, magnificent, and awe-inspiring, far above and beyond our ability to fully comprehend.
So when we read the words of Isaiah, we see that “Wonderful” is something supernatural. This means that Jesus is not only wonderful in what He does, but in who He is. Jesus is wonderful. On Wednesday we will take a look at the second part of the name given to Him: Counselor.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race.NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!