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The Seventh Day of Advent – December 9

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season” is a wonderful reminder we see this time of year on decorations, banners and Christmas cards. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is so, so much more. Today’s scripture reveals Jesus as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

If you were brought up on the King James Bible, you might be accustomed to a comma placed after the word “Wonderful”. This means dividing Jesus’ one name into two names: “Wonderful” and “Counselor”. Handel’s oratorio, “Messiah”, follows the King James, placing a comma after “Wonderful” and after “Counselor”, and with breathtaking effect, making for one of the high moments of “Messiah”. Perhaps you can right now imagine the full choir and orchestra glorying in the names: “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” And the violins rejoice!

While the King James splits the words by a comma, “Wonderful, Counselor”, Hebrew scholars say that it is best to understand the two words as one name: “Wonderful Counselor”. This means that Messiah Jesus will be a “Wonder- Counselor”, or “One who counsels wonderful things.” Isaiah later reveals the Holy Spirit resting on Messiah, imparting to Him “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might” (Isaiah 11:2). Messiah will not need to surround Himself with counsellors, but will Himself discern and give wise counsel for the advancement of His everlasting kingdom.

Just think what it means for us that Jesus is “Wonderful Counselor”! Admittedly, we weaken the word “wonderful” in conversation, saying things like, “The weather is wonderful,” or “We had a wonderful time.” We tend to use the word “wonderful” to say that something is “really good”, rather than “full of wonder.” The Hebrew word pele, translated “wonderful”, has the idea of the supernatural, provoking awestruck wonder. It is important to note that pele is used in Scripture only for God and for His works. Pele, “wonderful”, is never used for a human being or for anything a human can do. Pele excites astonishment, adoration. Pele startles, taking your breath away.

For instance, pele is used in Genesis 18 when the Lord announces the birth of Isaac to elderly Abraham and Sarah. When Sarah laughs at the preposterous notion of her giving birth, the Lord responds: “Is anything too wonderful (pele) for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14). When David meditates on God’s omniscience, he is awestruck: “Such knowledge is too wonderful (pele) for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6). Or, look in the Old Testament when the pre- incarnate Christ appears as The Angel of the Lord to Samson’s father. Samson’s father asks The Angel of the Lord, “What is your name?” and the Lord answers, “Why do you ask my name? “It is too (pele) wonderful” (Judges 13:17-18).

Wonder is the redeemed heart’s first reaction to Messiah Jesus, and thus the descriptive placed first in Isaiah’s foretelling of Him. Jesus stirs wonder in His nature as God and Man, wonder in the love by which God gave Him. Wonder at the manner of His humble birth, wonder at His miracles, love, suffering, and death. Wonder at His resurrection and ascension, and yes, wonder that He includes us in His life and glory!

Old English Puritan theologian and pastor Stephen Charnock marvels at the wonder of God’s humble love poured out for us in Jesus:

“What a wonder is it, that two natures infinitely distant, should be more intimately united than anything in the world; and yet without any confusion! That the same person should have both a glory and a grief; an infinite joy in the Deity, and an inexpressible sorrow in the humanity! That a God upon a throne should be an infant in a cradle; the thundering Creator be a weeping babe and a suffering man, are such expressions of mighty power, as well as condescending love, that they astonish men upon earth, and angels in heaven.”

(Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God)

Jesus is wonderful in all things! Too wonderful for us to even imagine! Too wonderful to comprehend! Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, and so, so much more!


Wonderful Counselor, we do wonder at You! We behold Your stars, Your planets, and Your billions and billions and billions of galaxies. We revel in the sheer wonder of Your creation from the smallest human cell to the stupendous Milky Way. We wonder at Your power and wisdom, but most of all, we do wonder at Your love. Enlarge our hearts and minds to know yet more of You and Your love. We will talk a lot about You this time of year, but today we long to talk with You. Amen.

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