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. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Note: The KJV and NKJV make it sound like Jesus has five names, putting a comma between Wonderful and Counselor. But the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures don’t contain commas, so it’s best to read these as four names with a noun and an adjective for each:
|Wonderful Counselor||Focus on Christ’s wisdom, knowledge, truthfulness||Jesus is the Sagacious One1|
|Mighty God||Focus on Christ’s deity, power, strength to save, deliver, protect us||Jesus is the Sovereign One|
|Everlasting Father||Focus on Christ’s eternal love, kindness, grace, mercy, compassion, care||Jesus is the Sensitive One|
|Prince of Peace||Focus on Christ’s kingship that brings us God’s shalom||Jesus Bring us Serenity and so much more|
In earlier articles, we explained that Isaiah is not confused about the Holy Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is one God, not three. Each person is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truthfulness. God the Father graciously adopts Jesus’ followers into His family. God the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, and Helper who gives us new birth and new life for following Christ. And God the Son (Christ) is “father-like” in His love, patience, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness to us who belong to Him. Jesus values, accepts, and cares for us.
Christians are Christ’s cherished jewels, even though we sin, stumble, and grieve the Lord who saves us. Dr. Tony Evans says: A dirty diamond is still a diamond. It just needs to be cleaned. So Jesus keeps cleaning and polishing us all the way through this life until He takes us home to Heaven to be with Him forever.
John Newton (1725-1807) authored the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.” As a pastor, Newton also preached fifty sermons on the Scriptures used in Handel’s “Messiah.”2 That’s marvelous because Newton was not always a follower of Jesus. He was raised by a godly Christian mother who taught him the Bible from an early age. But sadly, Newton copied the lifestyle of his father and became a rough sailor with a foul mouth and an appetite for immoral living. At age 22, God the Holy Spirit changed John Newton and gave him a new heart for loving and serving Jesus. From then onward, Newton loved to tell others of the Lord’s excellencies and yearned for everyone to follow Christ too. Christians must not hog Jesus for themselves.
In his sermon on Isaiah 9:6, Newton recalled the story of Archimedes (287-212 BC), the Greek mathematician. A legend says that Archimedes was hired to detect fraud in the manufacture of a golden crown. He realized the solution while in the bathtub and cried out “Eureka! Eureka!,” translated as: “I’ve found it! I’ve found it!” Newton draws this parallel: If the scientist was overjoyed at his new discovery, Christians should be more overjoyed by Jesus, the treasure in God’s kingdom and the pearl of great value.3 The wise men (magi) kneeled and worshiped Christ and rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.4 Wise men, women, and children still seek and follow Jesus!
Christ is Father-like in His Faithfulness
I have heard too many sad stories of fathers who abandon their families. Some are absent because of divorce.Some neglect their children because they’re too busy with careers or hobbies. Some are abusive and break their promises. Thank God, the Lord Jesus is not at all like that! He says: See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. You are continually before Me. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am with you always, even to the end of the age.5 Great is Christ’s faithfulness and trustworthiness!
Even the most observant adult can’t deal with every concern, request, and need a child has. But King Jesus can and does! In Psalm 121 He says He keeps us and never slumbers or sleeps. He preserves us from all kinds of harm and preserves our souls. Christ says that He watches over our going out and coming in both now and forevermore. He shelters, refreshes, and keeps us safe round the clock, for all eternity!
Adults should realize that the most precious gift we can give children is our time. If we had a dollar for each time we’ve heard or said, “I don’t have the time,” we’d be rich. We often don’t give enough time to our children, spouses, loved ones, and strangers. We’re always too busy, we say. But the Lord Jesus is never too busy for us. And He chooses to hear and respond to every call from His believing children. The line to Heaven is never overloaded or disconnected. And we never get put on hold, or get a recording.
Scripture says: The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of His children….He fulfills the desire of those who love, reverence, and respect Him. He hears our cries and saves us.6 Jesus was a stranger Himself and welcomes foreigners and strangers and makes us fellow citizens with God’s people and members of His household.7 Christ is personally engaged in comprehensive, uninterrupted caring for us. He says, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered, so do not fear. I’m your Everlasting Father.”8
One well-loved Christmas hymn ends with this prayer:
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask You to stay
Close by me for ever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Your tender care,
And fit us for Heaven, to live with You there.9
To be continued.
Notes (various Bible translations used): 1 Items in this column heard in a sermon by Dr. Sam Storms. 2 See The Works of John Newton, Volume 4 (reprinted 1988). 3 See Matt 13:44-46. 4 Matt 2:1-12. 5 Isaiah 49:16; Heb 13:5; Matt 28:20. 6 2 Chron 16:9; Psalm 145:19. 7 Matt 25:31-46; Eph 2:19-22. 8 Luke 12:7. 9 From “Away in a Manger” by William J. Kirkpatrick (1895). People used to think that it was written by Martin Luther, but that is not likely.