and his name shall be called
Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 ESV
Although back in 2018 I preached an Advent sermon over Isaiah 9:1-7, I am turning there again for this Advent season. More specifically, I am focusing upon only verse 6, and even more narrowly, we will be meditating upon the four titles given to the coming Christ that are listed at the end of that verse. While this is one of the most popular Christmas time texts of Scripture, a bit of context would serve us well before we dive into the first title, Wonderful Counselor.
The prophesy made in Isaiah 9 foretold the coming Christ, who would come as a child but become a divine King upon the throne of David. Amid all the darkness of sin, the warring nations that prowled Judah’s borders, and the then impending desolation of Israel, God promised a coming light that would break through the darkness, a coming King who will have the government upon His shoulders. Of this King, four names are given, names that are meant to describe the essence of the Christ to come: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
The first name of the Christ is Wonderful Counselor. Immediately, this is a rather strange title for a King because counselors typically serve kings rather than kings serving as counselors. Yet we see in Solomon a king who was also a counselor, both to his own people and to other royalties. His wisdom was so prestigious that the Queen of Sheba came from far off “to test him with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1). The Christ, however, would exceed the wisdom of even Solomon, for Paul wrote that Jesus is “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). As the image of the invisible God, Jesus is omnisapience made flesh. Christ is the King who does not need to seek counsel but from Whom we should seek counsel.
But He is not simply called Counselor but rather Wonderful Counselor. Wonderful, of course, means something or someone that is able to inspire wonder or awe, and Jesus is exactly that. We just read a few weeks ago in the Gospel of Mark about people’s declaration that Jesus “has done all things well” upon being “astonished beyond measure” (Mark 7:37). Christ, therefore, is astonishingly wise and, although the highest of all kings, came to be a counselor to His people.
Do you go to His wisdom, or do you walk “in the counsel of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1)?