Summary: A look at the different ways that the name of Jesus is Wonderful.
For most people the only contact they have with the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah is Christmas time. And they probably don’t realize it then. It’s on Christmas cards and in Christmas Carols. These words that Ruth read for us earlier, Isaiah 9: 6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This prophecy is about the coming Messiah the one who we now recognize and acknowledge as Jesus Christ. Listen to those first few words again "And His name will be called Wonderful." What a thought and indeed at first thought what a truth. The Name of Jesus will be called wonderful. And yet we have to ask ourselves is His name really called wonderful today. In 2002 do we consider the name "Jesus Christ of Nazareth" wonderful. Does the world marvel at the name of this Carpenter from Nazareth? I don’t think so.
No I think that today in 2002 that the name of Jesus is mundane, and I think his name is mediocre and I think his name is common. And I think with way too many people in 2002 the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God is profane. Not wonderful at all.
To the people of our land and our city the name of Jesus is not a wonderful name, it’s no longer wonderful and marvellous, instead it’s a curse an oath or a nothing. People don’t realize when they are misusing Christ’s name because they don’t realize they are using it, they just don’t think about it. Have you ever corrected someone who blasphemed the name of Jesus and they look at you like you are daft, and then they say "No I didn’t" Yes you did. My favourite I’m in a store and someone says "Oh Jesus", I say "Where?" And they say "Where what?" and I say "Where’s Jesus?" and they just shake their head and walk away, normally before I can ask them where the white goes when the snow melts.
And so where does the problem lie? With Jesus or with people? Is Jesus any less wonderful today then he was 2000 years ago? Or has our vision simply become distorted? This morning I would like to remind you just why his name is wonderful.
1) He is Wonderful in His Conception. Matthew 1:20 For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. As we enter the Christmas season we sing about Christ being born of a virgin, we read about Christ being born of a virgin but do we really stop and think about it. Do we actually understand it, and believe it, or maybe we are like the English Bishop David Jenkins who said "I wouldn’t put it past God to arrange a virgin birth if He wanted, but I very much doubt if He would." Well I have news for Bishop Jenkins not only could God but God did.
Jesus Christ mother was a young unmarried maiden, but his Father was God Almighty Himself. And I know that there are those who argue that the Greek word for Virgin can also simply mean young unmarried woman. And it can. But within the context of the story it means virgin. How do I know? Because in Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel, "But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin." And in this particular case the word that she is using does not mean a young unmarried woman, she is actually saying that she is a virgin.
Now you have to admit this is not an everyday occurrence. And I really feel for Mary. In 2002 having a baby out of wedlock really isn’t that big of a deal socially. Even 15 or 20 years ago it was a much bigger deal then it is now. But 2000 years ago it was a completely different story. Mary would have to bear the stigma, shame and reproach of being pregnant and unmarried.
She would have to explain her delicate condition to not only her family and friends but also to her fiancé. And according to the scriptures it would appear that Joseph wasn’t convinced of her virtue until an angel actually appeared to vouch for Mary. It’s hard to argue with angels.
Now I know that you are sitting there thinking: That’s terrible if I had been around I would have believed her and rushed to her defence. Sure and if your fifteen year old arrived home great with child and a story that the Holy Spirit was the father you’d believe her to. Sure, uh-huh.
But for all the pain and shame it caused Mary and for all of the confusion and shame it caused Joseph. Remember that they were engaged but not married, everyone would presume that Joseph had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and remember that the Bible says that Joseph was a righteous man and so you can imagine the talk. "That Joseph he’s always been a goody two shoes but look at his girlfriend." But for all of the negatives, this is the way the Christ had to come into the world.