We all need hope during hard times, and Isaiah here speaks some words of hope into the darkest of situations; Assyria having crushed and conquered Israel, who as a result were “walking in darkness” and “living in the land of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9 v 2.)
Isaiah prophesied a word of hope that a light would come, and 800 years later Jesus the Messianic light of the world burst into the darkness (John 1 v 4 – 5.) The coming of Jesus would bring great joy (Isaiah 9 v 3 & Luke 2 v 11 – 12); freedom from oppression, not temporary as during the time of Gideon (Isaiah 9 v 4), but a permanent kingdom of justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9 v 7.)
But how do we know that this prophesy applied to Jesus? Well because the Gospel writer tells us that in his early life and ministry Jesus did many things – “To fulfil what was said by the prophet Isaiah” (Matthew 4 v 13.)
Pause 4 thought – Just marvel at the accuracy and reliability of the Bible.
This hoped for Messiah is then described in 4 epithets, the first of which being “Wonderful Counsellor.” The dictionary defines the word “wonderful” as – amazing, marvellous and surpassing expectation; while for “counsellor” the word advisor is offered. While the Biblical meaning of the words is – “one who gives supernatural counsel.”
The main reason this title is applied to Jesus would seem to be because of his great wisdom (Isaiah 11 v 2)as illustrated in his growing up (Luke 2 v 40); his ministry (Matthew 13 v 54) and in the later New Testament titles given to him (1 Corinthians 2 v 4 & Colossians 2 v 3.)
Now counselling is very much a growth industry today and it is said that a good counsellor will need to have mastered between 100 & 200 skills. Be that as it may, we are going to strip counselling down to three fundamental requirements:-
1 – Acceptance.
If you visit a counsellor you would expect them to accept you as you are. You would not want to be condemned and judged, but accepted as you are, rather than how the counsellor expected you to be.
Jesus accepts us as we are, just like he did with Zacchaeus (Luke 19 v 1 – 10) and the woman caught in adultery (John 8 v 1 – 11.) He sees us at our worst and still offers us unconditional love (Romans 5 v 8.) No wonder he is the – “Wonderful Counsellor.”
2 – Listening.
If you visit a counsellor you would expect to do most of the talking while they listen carefully to what you are saying by giving you their full and undivided attention.
Jesus is the supreme listener (Jeremiah 33 v 3) and when we pray we have a direct line to the very throne room of heaven. He hears the cry of our hearts, and always answers our prayers (John 14 v 13), if not always in the ways that we expect! No wonder he is the – “Wonderful Counsellor.”
3 – Empathy.
If you visit a counsellor you would expect them to empathise with you by entering and understanding your situation and walking in your shoes.
Jesus is able to empathise with us because by taking on flesh he has become one of us, minus of coarse any sin, and is therefore is able to fully enter into our situation and offer help (Hebrews 4 v 15.) No wonder his is the – “Wonderful Counsellor.”
Challenge – Is your hope placed in the – “Wonderful Counsellor?”
Theme: “The counsellor par excellence!”
Reading: Isaiah 9 v 1 – 7
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Robin Brenchley (Minister in Training.)