By Michael Catt
Isaiah lived in difficult times. The signs of the times were grim. The sins of God's people were obvious. Within a generation, the nation would be overrun and the Promised Land would become a waste land. Israel is arrogant and unrepentant. The sins of the nation are primarily the sins of lifeless religion.
In spite of this, Isaiah encourages his readers with four words in 8:10. "God is with us."
No matter how dark the time and hopeless the situation, the light of the Lord shines in the darkest night.
9:2 "The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them."
WHO IS THIS LIGHT? The answer is in v. 6. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
* THE LIGHT IS THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM, THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS.
In John's gospel we read, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Isaiah gives us 5 names for Jesus Christ in this one verse.
I. HIS NAME IS WONDERFUL.
All of us have names we were given at birth. My name, "Michael" means "messenger of God." The name Alfred means "justice". Just because a person's name means something doesn't mean that person lives up to their name. This is not so with Jesus. HE IS CALLED WONDERFUL BECAUSE HE IS WONDERFUL.
We throw around words like "great", "super", "incredible", and "wonderful", too easily. The Hebrew word comes from the root word for miracle. It is often used of God's acts of judgment and redemption. As a verb, it expresses the idea of doing or making a wondrous thing.
The first occurrence is found in Genesis 18:14 - "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" Nothing is beyond the power of God. it is used to describe God's mighty acts of deliverance. Exodus 15: 11, "Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?"
The Greek word "ethaumasan" is picked up in Luke's gospel to describe the coming Messiah. (2:18) "And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds."
The Gospel accounts tell us people "wondered" at the miracles of Jesus.... 'the dumb speaking, the crippled restored, the lame walking, the blind seeing....'
These were all extraordinary works of redemption. Today, I challenge you to worship a wonderful God who loves you. If you know Him, His name is wonderful.
II. HE'S A WONDERFUL COUNSELOR.
Counseling is one the growth industries of the late 20th century. Counseling, Support Groups, Self Help Books can be found in both the secular and sacred realm.
Research reveals that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the time more people suffer depression than any time of the year. Studies also show that more people commit or consider suicide on Sunday nights than any other time of week. Why? When we think of Christmas we think of family. Norman Rockwell scene comes to mind. But for many, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year.
The first Christmas aster the death of a loved one; the first Christmas after a painful divorce with joint custody. The circle is broken and so is your heart. In times like this we probably don't need a counseling session, but it would help if we had someone who could identify with our hurts, fears and pain. We have, He's a "Wonderful Counselor." Anyone who can create the world, cm counsel me in my little world.
The Hebrew word means "to advise; to deliberate or resolve." It can also mean to give counsel or guide." It is used eighty times in the Old Testament. The Jerusalem Bible translates this word, in Numbers 24:14, "I will let you know." The Psalmist said, "I will bless the Lord who has counseled me. " You're always on solid ground when you listen to the wisdom and counsel of God. He is not a distant deity. We need His counsel, because we don't know it all...can't figure it all out. He doesn't give pat answers. God is not interested in giving you a thirty minute answer to a thirty year problem.
He is a "Wonderful Counselor" because He says, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If you've hit the wall this year, listen to your counselor, "I will not leave you comfortless." If you have a big decision to make, listen to your counselor, "If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God." "Call unto me and I'll show you great and mighty things you know not of."
III. HIS NAME IS "MIGHTY GOD."
Words like "might", "power", and "great" are overused in our culture. We've watered down the word. We have "great" hot dogs, cars, milkshakes and clothes. Sportscasters refer to a head coach as doing a "mighty fine job." Isaiah calls the Messiah, "Mighty God." It can also be translated, "The Illustrious One," "The Shining One." The word implies "one who is victorious in battle." He is the Covenant God who reveals Himself in power. The name here is "El Gibbor". "El" means mighty and "Gibbor" means strength or might. "El" appears 250 times and "Gibbor" appears 159 times. It translates "The Mighty Strong One."
Warren Wiersbe said, "What a paradox that a babe in a manger should be called mighty. Yet even as a baby, Jesus Christ revealed power. His birth affected the heavens as that star appeared. The star affected the Magi, and they left, their homes and made that long journey to Jerusalem. Their announcement shook King Herod and his court. Jesus' birth brought angels from heaven and simple shepherds from their flocks on the hillside. Midnight became midday as the glory of the Lord appeared to men."
This is an undeniable reference to deity. Jesus is the Son of God and God Himself. What He came to do could only be done by God Himself. To call Jesus anything other than God Himself is to call Him a Liar.
1 John 2:22-23, "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
When Jesus walked this earth, He never backed away from claiming to be God in flesh. "I and My Father are One." He did not claim to be "a" God or a prophet. He was God Almighty in our midst.
Colossians 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form..." You cannot explain Jesus without acknowledging He is God in flesh. Because of who He is…He can save you from your sin and do mighty things in your behalf. If you don't know Him, you need to.
IV. HE IS THE EVERLASTING FATHER.
This name refers to God the Son as creator of heaven and earth. In the Hebrew concept of "Father" there are very few references to God the Father in the Old Testament. This emphasis on God begins with the Son in the New Testament. 'Father' is used 678 times. To an Old Testament Jew it meant 'originator of' or 'author of.' In Deuteronomy 32:6, God is called the "Father of Israel". He gave birth to the nation, protected and led them. He was to be honored and obeyed as their God and Father. Literally this reads, 'The Father of Eternity.' Behind this word is the whole issue of the Trinity - God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
When people see Jesus -- they see the Father. When the Spirit works in our lives -- it's Jesus working in our lives. Jesus reveals the HEART of God. The creator came as a baby. He is, according to Hebrews 2:13 the Father of the children whom God has given Him. (Hebrews 2:9-15). We've been adopted into His family. We are no longer slaves but sons. We are His children for all eternity.
V. HE IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE.
Stephen Olford writes "Of the five titles given to our Lord Jesus Christ this one is the greatest, for it speaks to the deepest needs of the human heart." Only when Christ is on the throne is their Peace in the human heart.
This last prophecy is too often limited to the Christmas season. To limit this name of Christ to Christmas does injustice to it. When Isaiah wrote these words, the nation was on the verge of destruction. There were wars and rumors of war. The Babylonian captivity was on the horizon. But Isaiah had seen a ray of hope. Isaiah 9:2, "The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.
The Psalmist said, "The Lord will bless His people with peace." In Leviticus 26, God promised Israel 'peace in the land'. Daniel refers to Messiah as 'the prince.' Peace means completeness, it is a term of contentment and rest. In a world filled with hate, chaos, and uncertainty, the Prince of Peace has come.
Herbert Lockyer said, "He alone was princely enough to be the purchaser and procurer of peace between God and man, man and man, between Jew and Gentile." The Prince paid the price for peace.
Ephesians 2 tells us, "He Himself is our peace." Life without the Prince of Peace is a life of turmoil. Those who place their trust in Christ find a peace that passes all understanding. Peace rules the day, when Christ rules the heart.
Troubled? - He's a Wonderful Counselor.
Weak? -- He's a might God.
Lost? -- He's the Eternal Father.
Upset? Angry? Prince of Peace.
Whatever your need today, Jesus has got it covered!