We are beginning our Christmas series this Sunday and will spend the month of December looking at four phrases in Isaiah 9:6 that describe the promised Child that would be born; the Son that would be given. There is much to be gained from thinking these phrases through and I look forward to hearing them preached each week that remains in December.
I have the opportunity to look at the first of them with you: Wonderful Counselor. I’ve recently been involved with our staff in some training in Biblical Counseling. The working definition of counseling that we have used is “a conversation where one party with questions, problems and trouble seeks assistance from someone they believe has answers, solutions and help.” I have had the privilege of counseling many people. They come to me because they perceive me to be someone with answers…with solutions. And they hope that I can help them in their dilemma. I’m honored by their confidence and willingness to meet with me. I know it’s helpful to meet with someone that you can see face to face and to talk things through with, but I am happier to point their attention to Jesus because while I may be able to pray and study and research answers, they will find what they truly need in the person of Jesus. That’s no pat answer or simplistic phrase. It’s fundamentally what this title speaks to.
Jesus, as a counselor, is wonderful. We’ve lost the magnitude of that word thanks to Hollywood. The word wonderful refers to that which is extraordinary or astonishing, even miraculous. Even some of the movies that we have watched come out lately are designed after fictional stories from “Marvel” comics. What those people can do is astonishing and extraordinary. I want to encourage you to remember that the only one who is truly like that is Jesus. Just ask the man at the pool of Bethesda who was healed because Jesus said so or the blind man that Jesus gave sight to by making mud and putting it on his eyes. Or check in with Lazarus who had been dead for several days when Jesus showed up at his tomb and said, “come out!” The power that Jesus wields is nothing short of miraculous because He is God, come in the flesh.
All that wonderful power could be intimidating, even frightening. But Jesus is also our counselor. It is He who said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) I love the tenderness in those words. It’s inviting…comforting…soothing. That is exactly why the crowds came to Him. They never questioned whether His astonishing power would be used against them. They knew that if they came to Him, He would do what was best for them; He would comfort them. He would teach them how to live in a way that would honor God.
We can do the same today. I know that we cannot come and hear Jesus preach or have Him physically lay His hands on us for healing. But I also know that when He left this earth He promised to be with us until the end of the age. If you are not a follower of Jesus, this may sound a bit odd to you, but I ask you to come to Him and seek His power to free you from your bondage to sin and make you a child of God. If you are a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to lean into Him more closely this week. Purposely off load your cares and your heavy burdens on Him and watch Him do what needs to be done in your life to enable you to walk with God. He is your Wonderful Counselor.