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)
We hear these words in Handel’s oratorio “Messiah,” but long before Handel and 700 years before Jesus came the first time God spoke these words about His only begotten Son. God the eternal Son became flesh (100% human, while also remaining 100% God) and permanently altered history. Art, science, music, literature, business, and civilization changed. Our whole understanding of ourselves and of our world changed when God came down in Christ. Jesus gives new ways of thinking and living to the billions of people who have followed Him over the past 2,000 years. Christ has even made the world better for people who do not acknowledge Him!
Christ Is Our Wonderful Counselor. We need Jesus’ brand of wisdom because, despite all our emphasis on education in America, we are often misguided and inconsistent. We have more information at our fingertips than ever, but less understanding in our heads and hearts than previous generations. Our world and nation run further and further from God’s timeless standards of right and wrong, of good and bad, of truth and error.1 Jesus the Messiah has come to show us the highway of holiness–back to God. Jesus doesn’t just teach us a way; He is the path, the ladder, the logic to restored fellowship with God, other people, and life with meaning. Christ is the unique divine-human person, who deals with us personally, individually. That’s wonderful! Since ancient times people have wondered: Who are we?; Where do we come from?; Where are we going?; Why?; What happens after we die?; What are we living for? Only Christ provides the ultimate real and right answers to these questions. Only Jesus is fully wise and safe to follow.
Jesus Makes Promises and Delivers on Them. For centuries people speculated about God and how to know Him, but on the first Christmas God’s Son came down to clear up all the rumors. He loved us so much that He entered time and space to teach us about God and to lay down His life on the cross to suffer the death penalty that our selfishness, sinfulness, hard-hearted independence, and arrogance deserve. After three days in the grave, Christ took up His life again as the victorious One (never to die again) and He promised:
Follow me and I give you eternal life. You will never perish and no one can snatch you out of my hand….I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though you die….Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; I am going there to prepare a place for you. And I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.2
Wonderful news! Because of Jesus’ work, His followers will never be condemned. We are forever pardoned and accepted in Christ; never abandoned, but forever adopted, never hated, but forever loved by God in connection with Christ.
Christ Gives us Favor in High Places. Garth Brooks’ song complains: “I got friends in low places, where the whiskey drowns, and the beer chases my blues away, but I’ll be okay.” The song describes a person who feels like they don’t belong, growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, having no connections to help them out. Christians never have that problem because after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God exalted Christ to the highest place and enthroned Him as King of the universe.3 From Jesus’ throne He prays for us, helps us, and will return soon to crush Satan and all His enemies under our feet; the devil’s doom is sure.4 So how can we worry? How can we think anything is hopeless? We have The Best Friend in the highest place and nothing is impossible for Him.
John Piper says that darkness comes and in the middle of it the future looks bleak or blank. The temptation to quit is huge, but don’t. Believers are in good company in Christ. It may seem that there is no way forward, but with Jesus, nothing is impossible.5 He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait on the Lord; pray without ceasing; hope in God; Christ’s help is on the way.
Jesus Defends Us. He bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might keep on dying to sins and living for righteousness; by His wounds we have been healed.6 Christ puts His Holy Spirit in believers so we learn to sin less.7 We live less recklessly, less foolishly, less selfishly. When we stray, Jesus the Righteous One speaks to His Father in our defense and brings us back to His way. God’s Son represents us before His Holy Father–the Judge–all through this life and on Judgment Day.8 Sad to say, unbelievers stand alone before Holy, Holy, Holy God and anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a lawyer and a client.9 Ask Jesus to be your Advocate who pleads your case, and protects you from God’s wrath and from Satan’s accusations.
Christ Our Counselor Comforts Us. Sigmund Freud is considered the founding father of modern psychology and he condemned religion as an illusion (wishful thinking) and a neurosis (harmful mental disorder). Freud saw psychology as a scientific replacement for religion, but he was devastated by his daughter’s death. Sophie was 23 years old, pregnant, and died in a flu epidemic. Freud lamented, “It was a senseless, brutal act of fate. My poor wife and I have been hit too hard…never to be consoled, never cheerful again.”10 Because he rejected Christ, Freud cut himself off from Jesus’ consolation. God help us not to make the same mistake!
Christ is our Comforter-Consoler-Supporter-Helper (now in Heaven) and the Holy Spirit is also our Comforter-Consoler-Supporter-Helper (here on Earth). The Son and the Spirit together give us the Bible as God’s written word, so we are doubly and triply blessed. Jesus promises, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you….Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.…I will be with you always.”11 So Christians say with confidence:
You are my hiding place, You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. Let the weak say I am strong in the strength of my Lord.12
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with Christ our King today and be a blessing to others!
1 Rom 1:18-32. 2 John 10:28-30; 11:25,26; 14:1-3. 3 Phil 2:9-11; Rev 17:14; 19:16. 4 Rom 16:20. 5 Num 11:23; Jer 32:17; Luke 1:37. 6 1 Peter 2:24. 7 Gal 5:16–25. 8 1 John 2:1,2. 9 attributed to Abraham Lincoln. 10 The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis (2004). 11 John 14:18; Heb 13:5,6; Matt 28:20. 12 Words and Music by Michael Ledner, 1981 Maranatha! Music (based on Psalm 32:7).