His Name is “Wonderful”
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. KJV
This is a passage much associated with this season, this time of the year. I have heard it read many, many times over the course of my life. Yet, this week as I pondered it I was struck in a new way by the names associated with Jesus Christ in this prophecy of Isaiah, particularly the phrase, “His name shall be called Wonderful.”
It idea behind the word that Isaiah used in his native Hebrew tongue is the concept of ‘miracle,’ something beyond the comprehension and ability of ordinary man. He is called ‘Wonderful’ in the sense that He Himself and what He does will strike wonder, awe, amazement, profound appreciation, and even worship into the hearts of those who see Him in truth.
Take, for example, this little summary of the life of Jesus Christ.
“The greatest man in history, named Jesus, had no servants, yet they called him Master. Had no degree, yet they called him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called him Healer. Had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet he conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.”
Just that quick review of Him strikes Wonder into our hearts for no one else has ever come close to Him in all that He has done.
That little word ‘pele’ that Isaiah used has survived in the Hawaiian language to refer to the awesome goddess of fire that they believed inhabited the volcano, Wonderful in the sense of awe that they felt for the incredible forces that live just under the crust of our earth.
As I thought about this name given to Jesus by the prophet, I considered some of the things that men count as so incredible that it causes them to be astounded, amazed, filled with wonder.
Honesty, Integrity, Truth, and Sincerity.
In spite of the wickedness of the hearts of men, they appreciate honesty in others. We as a race stand in awe and wonder of men who have actually lived out their principles, even when we have not agreed with their ideas.
Why Lincoln Was Called ‘Honest Abe’
by: Noah Brooks, Good Stories for Great Holidays
In managing the country store, as in everything that he undertook for others, Lincoln did his very best. He was honest, civil, ready to do anything that should encourage customers to come to the place, full of pleasantries, patient, and alert.
On one occasion, finding late at night, when he counted over his cash, that he had taken a few cents from a customer more than was due, he closed the store, and walked a long distance to make good the deficiency.
At another time, discovering on the scales in the morning a weight with which he had weighed out a package of tea for a woman the night before, he saw that he had given her too little for her money. He weighed out what was due, and carried it to her, much to the surprise of the woman, who had not known that she was short in the amount of her purchase.
Yet, there was one whom the scriptures declare was far more honest that the best that mankind has produced.
1 Peter 2:20‑22
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: KJV
This means that Jesus Christ was absolutely honest every moment with every word and every deed. He never sacrificed the truth either for His own benefit nor for the admiration of others. Not even when His life was at stake and He might have delivered Himself, did He shade the truth in any way.
The reason that we pay special attention to the words in red in our NT is that we absolutely know that this is truth, undiluted, unconfused, plain and simple. We stand in awe of the One Who is called “The Word” for no other reason than He is the absolute declaration of truth to us from the Living God.
We are filled with ‘wonder’ at His honesty and His truthfulness.
Wise men have always been profoundly respected by human beings. Any society knows that it is important that their leaders, their teachers, their moral and spiritual guides have real wisdom. For this reason we place them over us and take comfort when we believe that they truly guide us properly.
This is the reason that we hold on to and read books by men long dead, men whose single contribution to us was their understandings of things written down. Men whose bodies have long since returned to dust still affect our understandings of many things. They guide our governments and our religions. We hold them in that kind of awe.
Our Bible reads “Wonderful, Counsellor” as two names. At least one of the Hebrew texts puts the two words together, “Wonderful counsellor.” The authority and wisdom of Jesus Christ is the ultimate resource for solid understandings of all things. He defines truth for us and makes the understanding plain to us. Even the work of the Holy Spirit to guide us is at His request.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: KJV
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: KJV
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. KJV
We reject all information that is contrary in any way to the instructions of Christ because we hold His wisdom in awe. We look in Wonder upon Him as our All Wise Teacher.
Humility, meaning by that the absence of arrogance.
We are amazed when men of great status take interest in and have compassion for those who have no status, those who are lowly and weak, those who have needs that they cannot meet themselves.
Christians are admonished to take particular note of such people.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. KJV
But no one ever stooped so low, no one ever considered those who are lowly more than Jesus Christ. His own mother was in wonder at the condescension of God and the One Who became her son.
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. KJV
Can you say with her, “He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and Holy is His Name”?
If for nothing else, can we not stand in awe of Him for that?
Gentleness, kindness, consideration and helpfulness to the weak and the sick is a trait that humanity holds in high regard.
It was reported that General George Patton once undertook to shoot a soldier who had shown cowardice in battle. On the other hand General Robert E. Lee negotiated for food and horses for his soldiers as they returned home from the Civil War. There is no question but that one of these men showed gentleness and the other did not.
But who ever dealt so gently as the One we call Jesus.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. KJV
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; KJV
1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. KJV
We read of Him healing a sick young girl, a blind man, many lepers, and even raising from the dead the son of a widow.
And, we remember when His disciples wanted to send away children who wanted to approach Him, He rebuked them and called the children to Him.
Hanging on the cross and dying in terrible anguish, He took the time to make sure that His mother was taken care of.
And then, there was you.
Who else could possibly be called “Wonderful” but Him?
Power, the ability to do what no other can.
Mankind has always stood in awe of those who seem to be just beyond the rest of us in their physical, mental, or spiritual power. Our legends are made of such. We make up heroes to thrill our imagination with feats of wonder.
The ancients invented Hercules and Atlas. Our story tellers have given us Superman and others similar to him.
But who can compare this One Who came to dwell among us?
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. KJV
It is incomprehensible to us that this same person is also the One of Whom John said.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. KJV
We hold Him in such Wonder that we actually depend upon Him to save us when this life is over. We are willing to step out into eternity in absolute trust.
We call on him to forgiven us of our sins, to heal us when we are sick, to watch over our loved ones and even to bring them to Himself. We absolutely know that there is no one else in all of the universe who has the power to do what we ask of Him.
Thus He is Wonderful to us.
We love winners. We stand in awe of those who can consistently find ways to defeat their foes. This is true of Generals, of politicians, of athletes, literally of almost any category we could name. We are amazed by them. Even when seemingly defeated, overwhelmed, backed to the wall, they seem to have some genius instinct to find a way to overcome, to be successful, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
But who ever won so profoundly, so finally, so completely as Jesus Christ?
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. KJV
1 Cor 15:54‑57
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. KJV
There is no possibility for defeat, no enemy that can overcome Him, do will that can resist Him, no unforseen event that can thwart Him. He has already gained the victory and we are watching it live out.
O the Wonder that is our Victor, our Hero, our Rescue!
We have admiration for those who have endured in hardship and overcome.
We honor prisoners of war who survived terrible torture and did not cave nor fold. We stand in awe and wonder at their endurance, their will, and their courage in the most horrible of circumstances.
I personally marvel at the martyrs who have held fast to their faith when their bodies have been ripped apart or set on fire. I am sure that unless God granted me extraordinary grace I could never survive faithfully through such. Those brave souls have my utmost admiration.
But who ever suffered like the Savior? Who ever bore such pain and such grief? Who can even know what it was like for that Holy Soul to be counted with the transgressors? And who could love with such love that the sacrifice would be so absolutely willing, free and filled with compassion for others.
1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. KJV
O, can we not contemplate the Wonder that is Him?
Finally, we stand and gaze, incredible, at those who can carry a mighty load.
Contests of strength and endurance have been among the most popular events of human history because we enjoy being amazed at what men can do, what loads they can lift, pull, or throw.
We also enjoy stories of those who have survived incredible injuries or overcome great handicaps.
But who ever carried a load like the one that Jesus carried?
1 Peter 2:25
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. KJV
We wonder at Him carrying the cross to Calvary after having been beaten so badly by Pilate’s guard. We are not surprised that He fell under the weight of that load. But do we realize that even though another was compelled to carry His cross, no one could ease Him of the load of our sins?
And how heavy was that load? What strength, what will, what power, what determination worked in Him to bear the weight of all the sins of all of His people, Him Who has known no sin?
Can you seen Him there, today, manifesting all of the traits that we as humans consider wonderful?
Can you agree with Isaiah that “Wonderful” should be His name?