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)
Today we will conclude this week’s study of the first name given by the prophet Isaiah to this child who would be born, this son who was given to us on the first Christmas Day. If you’ve been following this “Cosmic Christ Child” series, you know that we looked at the first word in the appellation “Wonderful Counseler” on Monday; on Wednesday we studied the second word; today were are going to put them back together and take in the full effect of the name Wonderful Counselor.
The apostle John opened his gospel with one of the most profound statements in all of sacred Scripture about this Wonderful Counselor:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4)
One cannot help but hear the echo from the opening words of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Jesus was with God from all eternity; He is the living Word of God, the source of God’s creation, and the living expression of God’s communication with and love for the world. Jesus Christ is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).
We don’t know much about the early years of our Wonderful Counselor after His birth in the manger, but there is one event that sheds great light on why this title applies to Jesus Christ. When Jesus was twelve, his family went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was their custom. The following week, Jesus stayed behind after his family had departed for their home in Nazareth. When Mary and Joseph realized Jesus was not with their party, they returned to Jerusalem and found him in the Temple engaged in conversation with the religious leaders.
They found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. (Luke 2:46-47)
Here we see Jesus at the age of twelve amazing everyone who heard Him as He engaged in conversation with the wisest and most learned men in Israel. Their amazement was not rooted so much in His age, but rather in the depth of His wisdom. When He began His three years of ministry some 19 years later, the people could see and hear the distinct difference between our Wonderful Counselor and the religious leaders of that day:
The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. (Mark 1:22)
It was a common practice for the religious leaders to quote well-known rabbis to add authority to their words. This was not, however, the practice of Jesus Christ. He was the Word of God incarnate, and when He opened His mouth to speak and teach and heal, the listener knew it was Jesus who had true authority. Jesus rebuked evil spirits (Luke 6:35), taught us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Matthew 18:32). He showed compassion to sinners and castigated the self-righteous.
At a time when many disciples were deserting Him, Jesus asked Peter if he wanted to go away also; Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69). Truly, Jesus was the Wondlerful Counselor, who offerred words of life that no one else had uttered!
Before we move on to Isaiah’s next title for Jesus, I’d like you to think about this: Is it not a wonder to you that Jesus knows everything about you – every thought, every word, every deed, and every desire – and yet He still loves you and wants to be in relationship with you? “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” He assures us; “I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). To be fully known and yet eternally loved by the One who is Truth is a the most wonderful and remarkable thing of all! May your heart be lifted up with joy on December 25 as you celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race.NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!