Summary: Using texts from the prophecies of Isaiah, this is the 3rd in an Advent, Christmas, Epiphany Series on "The Names of Jesus." It is the second name of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?: HIS NAME IS COUNSELOR!
How you punctuate a sentence can make a difference in its meaning. Many of our modern translations of Scripture omit the comma between wonderful and counselor in our text. The meaning, therefore, would be that Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor which indeed is true; but I prefer to look at the text still separating the two Names in the more traditional reading in keeping with the way we always hear the text in the Chorus “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from Handel’s Messiah and in keeping with the way we sing Audrey Mieir’s Chorus “His Name Is Wonderful” that has been around since 1959. Therefore, last week our message was “His Name Is Wonderful,” and today’s message is “His Name Is Counselor.”
Every one of us has needed advice on one occasion or other. Perhaps we have turned to a trusted friend, our pastor, a parent, or a brother or sister in those instances. If it has been a problem in school or in making a decision about our vocation, maybe we have sought the advice of our high school or college guidance counselor. The Best Counselor of them all is the One whose birth we now celebrate and whose Second Coming we anxiously anticipate.
We all have a general understanding of the duties of any counselor. People in the counseling profession give advice with wisdom, authority, and personal concern for the persons seeking their advice. Sometimes counselor may even be another name for a lawyer or attorney. Used in this sense a counselors is pleads someone’s case in court or advices their clients on legal matters.
The Bible has much to say about advisors or counselors and the advice they give. It praises good counselors and warns against evil ones. Solomon declares in Proverbs 11:14:
Where there is no guidance, a nation falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Actually Solomon only presents a half truth in some respects. I would be safe in following the advice of many counselors if they were trustworthy, dependable counselor, and if they were basically in agreement with each other. However, if I have many counselors pulling me in many different directions I would end up being more confused than helped. If their advice, although in basic agreement with each other, were not in keeping with the principles of God’s Word, I would end up taking the wrong path and being greatly harmed.
Solomon’s Father King David gives us the best guidance of all in Psalm 1:1:
Blessed are they who have not walked
In the counsel of the wicked,
Nor lingered in the way of sinners,
Nor sat in the assembly of the scornful.
The Amplified Bible explains this verse by reminding us that we are not to follow the
“advice, plans, or purposes” of evil counselors.
In our American Government system we have two types of counselors. There are counselors of State and counselors at law. Examples of counselors of State are the men and women who sit on the President’s Cabinet. They carry out and administer the Law of our Land and advice the President in forming the polices of the country and in making important decision about our National Welfare. Daniel was such a Counselor of State in the Court of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Counselors at Law represent and speak for their clients before the courts of our Sate and Nation.
Our Messiah and Saviour Jesus Christ is both types of counselors. He is a Cabinet Member in the Holy Trinity, and He is your Lawyer and mine before God our Heavenly Father. As a member of the Holy Trinity Jesus Christ is the Creator of humankind and of the universe. The Bible says in John 1:3, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” As a member of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ is the one who has made possible our forgiveness from sin as Paul testifies in I Corinthians 15:3, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”
Jesus Christ is also a counselor in the sense of being our Divine Lawyer. He is the Only One who as a perfect knowledge of God’s Law. Therefore, He is the One best able to advise us about God’s ways and plans for our lives. He is the One best qualified to “Lead us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s Sake.” As our Wonderful Counselor He shows us how to apply the Word of God in our daily lives.
As our Divine lawyer, Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father pleading our case for God’s mercy and grace whenever we fall short of His glory. John declares in I John 2:1-2, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. . .” Advocate is another term for counselor. His ministry as our advocate, counselor is to “speak to the Father in our defense.” When we have sinned and come before the Father in true repentance placing our faith in Jesus, He is our mediator who pleads our case before the Father.