Summary: This is the second message of a three part Christmas series on the first 7 verses of Isaiah 9. Today’s message focuses specifically on the answer to the question, “Who Is Jesus?” Do you know the answer? This is the perfect season to find out.
Who is Jesus to you? Lots of people believe in Jesus. Many atheists and agnostics believe in Jesus. They will say that He was a real historical person. They will say He was a great teacher of morality. They will say He might have even thought that He was a prophet. They might even say that He was a martyr who died for what He believed in. But they will not say that He is God. Even Muslims believe in Jesus. They call Him Isa. And they say that Isa was a great prophet. They will even say that they believe that Isa died on the cross. But they certainly do not believe that Isa is God. Mormons believe in Jesus. They even use His name in their churches. They don’t even refer to themselves as Mormons. They call themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For Scriptures, they use the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, which is called “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” The problem is, they see Jesus as being fathered by the Holy Spirit and Mary. Of course, they also see the Holy Spirit as fathering Lucifer. That makes Jesus not eternal. It also makes Him the half-brother of Satan. It certainly does not make Him God. Seventh Day Adventists believe in Jesus. But they believe that Jesus is a created being. They certainly don’t believe that Jesus is God. But it’s not just other religions and cults that can’t answer that question. People you see every day don’t know who Jesus is. This past week, I asked a man that question. He started rattling off a whole bunch of stuff about how he prayed all the time to Jesus. So I asked him again—who is this Jesus that you’re praying to? Why do you pray to Him? All that he could come up with is that he prays to Jesus so that Jesus will heal his liver and get his kids back for him. Now, if I would have started the conversation by asking that man if he believed in Jesus, what would he have said? He would have said, “Yes, I believe in Jesus.” But, in fact, what did he really believe in? He believed in a genie. He believed in someone who would grant his wishes if he rubbed Him in the right way. He certainly didn’t believe in the Jesus that Isaiah introduces us to in this passage. Of course we know that this is the Christmas season. And all around us, we will see reminders that Jesus is the reason for the season. We will have people coming to our Christmas Cantata and the children’s Christmas play who will hardly darken the door of this church the rest of the year round. And I can just about guarantee that if you ask them if they believe in Jesus that they will say that they do. The question is, who is the Jesus that they believe in? Last week we saw that Isaiah prophesied about a horribly dark time that was coming for Israel. But then in verse 2, he said, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” And then from verse 3 through verse 7, he describes Jesus as that great light. He is the great light that we celebrate at Christmastime. And here in verse 6, we see who that great light is. This verse gives us four answers to the question, “Who is Jesus?” The first answer is that Jesus is Wonderful Counselor.
Who is Jesus? He is Wonderful Counselor. Now, we’ve got to get a little bit technical here for a minute, so bear with me. But I want to show you how this lays out in the original Hebrew. In the KJV, you will see that there is a comma that separates Wonderful and Counselor. In the original, this verse gives Jesus four two-word titles. This first title is composed of two nouns—wonder and counselor. The KJV translators put a comma there to show us that “wonderful” is not an adjective that describes “counselor” like modern translation make it look. Isaiah is not saying that Jesus is a really good counselor. It would look funny, but the best translation would be a hyphenated word. Jesus is “wonder-counselor.” That’s the true sense of the original. Now, all of this is in the context of the government being upon Jesus’ shoulder. This Child… this Son… this great light to people who dwell in darkness… this Jesus who was born of a virgin, in a manger in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago… this child is coming to initiate His kingdom. When Jesus came in the flesh, He said that the kingdom of God was at hand. The kingdom in which He is the sovereign and sole ruler. The kingdom of God had come in the flesh. Did He come as a political king? Not the first time. But even though Jesus did not physically take the throne when He came the first time, as king, He is actively working all things toward the culmination of His Kingdom which will happen when He returns. And the only way that can happen is if Jesus really is the wonder-counselor. Wonder, as in the sense of miraculously accomplishing things that only God can accomplish. Counselor, as in the sense of ruling with the kind of all-knowing wisdom that only God can have. What did Jesus say to the Jewish leaders in John 5:17? He said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” In other words, Jesus said, “I work in the same miraculous manner and power and strength that God the Father does.” Who is Jesus? He is Wonderful Counselor. He is God and rules and reigns as God… miraculously, wonderously, wisely working all things together to the culmination of His eternal, perfect kingdom. His knowledge is wonderous. His wisdom is wonderous. His counsel is wonderous. That’s who Jesus is. But that’s not all. Because Jesus is also the mighty God.