For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Wonderful: Child – Son
Scripture is active, living and powerful (I Peter 1:23-24 and Hebrews 4:12). As such, it is often multi-faceted and teaches us on multiple levels. What Isaiah was inspired to write is one of several passages that show us the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Do you see it? Unto us a Child is born… Jesus came as a Child and grew up like all the rest of us. That shows us His humanity. Then we see: a Son is given.. That shows us His divinity because He is the Son of God. It fills us with wonder to think about God putting on human flesh to dwell as Man with men.
Isaiah’s prophecy gives us some descriptive titles for Jesus. The angel told Joseph you shall call His name Jesus (Matthew 1:21). That is like the name on a birth certificate. You and I have those. However, we also have titles. I am called Husband – and that comes with some things she calls me that I won’t share here! But I am also Dad, Pastor and grandfather among other titles. You also have titles that refer to you. That is what Isaiah is giving us – titles that refer to Jesus.
Wonderful Beyond Measure
When Isaiah said our Messiah would be called Wonderful Counselor he was telling us about the character of the One Who will reign forever and ever. The Hebrew word we see as wonderful literally means incomprehensible. The coming King will fill us with awe and wonder. The word carried a deeper meaning than the modern usage conveys.
Today, we would use that word if everything is going our way. If life or work is favorable to us then we tend to say they’re wonderful. A while back, I saw a meme that helps us understand what Isaiah said. The meme was:
The God Who blows our minds
That’s how to communicate Isaiah’s idea in the modern vernacular. We see that idea when Jesus was speaking to Manoah. That account is in Judges and it’s a Christophany – a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ on Earth. The Angel of the Lord (Jesus) told Manoah about the coming birth of his son, Samson. In their conversation, Manoah asked the name of the LORD. What was the response? Why do you ask My name seeing it is wonderful? (Judges 13:8) Let me put that in today’s terms:
Why do you ask My name, since it is beyond your understanding?
Awesome Beyond Knowing
Jesus’ blow-your-mind nature can be seen in many ways. His time on Earth showed us many things. And when we look at them one upon the other we begin to get that sense of wonder Isaiah intended. Notice the following:
- Jesus’ Divine conception in a virgin’s womb (Matthew 1:23 – Luke 1:30-34)
- His single-minded commitment to His Father’s will/business (Luke 2:49; and many more)
- His healing power (Matthew 4:23 and more)
- His authoritative teaching (Mark 1:21-28)
- His perfect, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15)
- His resurrection from the dead (Mark 16:6)
Jesus’ teaching was wonderfully contrary to human thinking! What He had to say was unheard of. Why? Because His ways and thoughts are as high above ours as the heavens are above the Earth! (Isaiah 55:9) And it was Jesus Who gave us the great paradoxes that define the Christian life:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3)
- Blessed are those who mourn (Matthew 5:4)
- If you want to save your life, you must lose it for His sake (Matthew 16:25)
- Rejoice and be glad in persecution (Matthew 5:11–12)
- We are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Luke 6:27)
- To be great in His Kingdom, we must be a servant (Matthew 18:3-4; Mark 10:41-45)
It really does fill us with awe and wonder when we see these things all at once. Jesus is truly awe-inspiring as He is superior to anyone and every thing and He is perfect in every way (Matthew 5:48). It really does blow our minds!
Wonderful, Tangible Evidence
A final, amazing thought. Did you notice the repeated phrase in these two verses from Isaiah? It’s in the opening of verse 6: unto us. Mary and Joseph knew: He came to us. The shepherds knew it: He came to us. We see the same idea in the references to His birth (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11). And people today can know the same thing: He came to us! This is still wonderful!
We were born in sin and deserving of hell. But God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). So from the Father, we got the Child – His Son. He didn’t give us what we deserve. We were given tangible, beautiful awesome evidence of God’s incredible grace and love (see Psalm 9:17; John 3:18, 36; Romans 3:10-23; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3; I John 5:12).
That kind of wonderful is truly beyond our understanding. That’s why we come by faith!