Summary: Using texts from the prophecies of Isaiah, this is the 2nd in an Advent, Christmas, Epiphany Series on "The Names of Jesus." It heads the list in Isaiah 9:6.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?: HIS NAME IS WONDERFUL!
Anything that is wonderful is “astonishing,” “a marvelous thing,” a “miracle.” 740 years before His Birth in Bethlehem Isaiah said the Messiah would be called “Wonderful.” “WHAT’S IN A NAME?” “His Name is Wonderful.” I don’t think that it is just by chance that the Name “Wonderful” heads the list of Five Names Isaiah gives our Lord in Isaiah 9:6. Everything about Jesus Christ is wonderful. Jesus is the greatest miracle worker of all. Everything about Him is “astonishing,” “a miracle.”
Punctuation can indeed make a difference in the meaning of a sentence. Many of our modern translations of Scripture do not place a comma between the names Wonderful and Counselor. Thus the meaning is “His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor.” Although this is indeed true, we are going to keep the names separate as they are in the Chorus “Unto Us a Child Is Born” from Handle’s Messiah. We also are familiar as well with the 1959 chorus by Audrey Mieir entitled “His Name Is Wonderful.” Truly Jesus is both Wonderful and a Wonderful Counselor, and next week we’ll examine His Name Counselor and His ministry of counseling.
The Bible uses forms of the word wonder, wonderful, or marvelous to describe the works of God. The “Song of Moses” after God gave Israel victory over Pharaoh’s Army in Exodus 15:11 is a prime example. In the midst of his praise Moses presses the question:
“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in splendor, doing wonders?”
The Psalmist likewise declares in Psalm 118:22-23:
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’S doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
God’s wonders and or His marvelous works are wonderful indeed. The promised
Messiah would be Wonderful in performing God’s marvelous works, His wonders in the same vain as witnessed in the Old Testament by Moses in the Exodus and by David in the Psalms.
Remember the terms Moses and David use to describe the Wonderfulness of Jesus. He is “majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor.” He was the “stone the builders rejected which has become the chief cornerstone,” and “this is the Lord’s doing and marvelous in our eyes.” The refrain of Charles H. Gabriel’s Gospel Hymn “I Stand Amazed in the Presence” sums up the Wonderfulness of Jesus so well:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful
Is my Savior’s love for me!
His marvelous, wonderful love led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and brought them safely through the Red Sea. His marvelous, awesome, wonderful love for you and me led Jesus to be born in a manger and die on the cross that we might have eternal peace and fellowship with God.
The One whose Name is Wonderful does works of wonder. All the signs, miracles, and teachings of Jesus excite and astonish us. He is God’s Ultimate Miracle.
Jesus is Wonderful in His birth. Every birth stands alone as a miracle in itself, but the birth of Jesus is the greatest miracle of all, for no human father is involved in His procreation. He is the only child ever to be “conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Luke testifies to this great truth in Luke in sharing the account of the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary that she is God’s chosen one to give birth to the promised Messiah We read in Luke 1:31, 35: “Now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. . . . The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.’” Jesus is wonderful in His birth, because it stands as the biological miracle of all history.
Jesus Christ is wonderful in His Person. In One Body we see God and man combined as one. At the same time Jesus Christ is both the Almighty God and man, but man without sin: The writer to the Hebrews makes his case so well in Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.” To know somebody without sin is wonderful in deed. We know such a perfect one when we come to know Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is wonderful in His teaching. He stands alone as the world’s best scholar, sage, and philosopher. At the age of twelve we see Him sitting in the Temple listening to and asking questions of the greatest religious teachers of that day. They were spellbound by Him, as Luke testifies in Luke 2:46-47, “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” No other teacher of philosopher has ever been able to say of His teaching as did our Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” The people who heard Jesus preach affirmed the authority of His teaching as we see in John 7:28-29, “Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” The preaching of Jesus was powerful and captivating to His congregation. Jesus is wonderful in His teaching.