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What Child Is This? - Part 2

Tom Pennington Isaiah 9:6-7


Well, as you can tell from my profile and my name, I have a long British history. My family goes back a long way. In fact, the Pennington family is listed in the Doomsday Book before William the Conqueror in England. And so, I enjoy reading about things British.

One of the things that fascinates me about British history are some of the characters who little is known about but who have become larger than life. The most obvious of those is one that most people in this room has heard of, King Arthur, the legendary king of medieval Britain. Historians tell us that it’s likely a real Arthur existed, although there’s still debate about that. But we know really very little about him historically. In the legend that arose in several literary works about 300 years after his death, he’s described as a powerful ruler who led the Celtic Britons against the Saxon invaders in the late 5th and 6th centuries AD. Over time, of course, King Arthur became the main character of some of the most popular stories in the history of world literature. For a thousand years, authors have recounted his brave deeds and the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table.

Part of the reason for that legend is that in the stories about him, Arthur actually demonstrates Christian character qualities and expects them of his knights as well. If you remember the story at all, you remember the point of the sort of legend that grew up is that he was a divinely chosen king, proved of course by the fact in the legends that he alone could pull the sword Excalibur from the stone. As a king, he promoted and exhibited qualities such as faith in God, honor, courage, loyalty, compassion for the needy, justice, and humility.

As I think about those qualities, I’m not surprised that Arthur’s legend has thrived for a thousand years because finding such qualities as those in an earthly ruler is and always has been almost impossible. We all long for the day for such a ruler. But there’s a real king whose actual character eclipses that of Arthur’s legend. The prophet Isaiah promised us that such a king would come.

I invite you to turn with me again to Isaiah 9. Isaiah 9. We’re studying here Isaiah 6 and 7, Isaiah 9:6-7, where we see this prophecy that is the most familiar of the Christmas prophecies. Let’s read it again together, just verses 6-7 of Isaiah 9. “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.” As I said, this is the most familiar of all of the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ our Lord. It appears in many of the songs and carols and the great anthems of this season.

Now, when you look at these verses that I shared with you last week, often Old Testament prophets like Isaiah looked out across the future and all they saw were a few mountain-peak events. But just as happens when you look at the mountains at the distance, they didn’t see all of the space between them, all of the events that came between those peaks. That’s true of our text. When you look at verses 6 and 7, understand the events described here span thousands of years.

The major point of these two verses is that God will rescue those who believe in Him from sin and its consequences through a great King who would come. And it’s at Christmas that we celebrate the birth of that King. We sang about it this morning. It’s so important for you to remember that that is what we celebrate, the birth of the King.

In verses 6-7, we learn what our King and His reign are like. In these verses, Isaiah presents four defining qualities of Jesus Christ our Lord. They were true of Him when He lived on earth, and they are still true today. They will be true in the future and into eternity. So, in this passage, these two verses, we don’t just learn about the events of Christmas, but we also learn about how our Lord relates to us as His people yesterday, today, and forever.

Let me just remind you of what we discovered last week. Last week, the first defining quality that we learned together was His unique nature. His unique nature. We learned that He would be and is our Lord Jesus, a human person. Verse 6 begins, “For a child will be born to us.” He would be truly human - everything that you are, body and soul, a full, perfect human. The only thing different between Him and you is that, as a human, He was without sin and that He was also God. But as a man, He was just like you are except for sin.

Secondly, we learned that His unique nature not only was he a human person, but he was God’s eternal Son. That’s why it’s repeated but in a different way in the second part of verse 6, “A son will be given to us.” The rest of Scripture makes clear that Son is God’s own eternal Son given to us in Christ.

Thirdly, in terms of His unique nature, we learned that He is the universe’s King. Verse 6 says, “And the government will rest on His shoulders.” Literally, the authority will rest on His shoulders, that is, He and He alone will have the right to rule everything and everyone. He is the ultimate authority, and God has given Him that as we saw in Psalm 2, when God says, “I have set My King, and He will reign over the nations of the world.” He is the universe’s King. That’s His unique nature.

Today, we come to a second defining quality of our Lord, and that is His unique character. His unique character. Look again at verse 6: “...And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” “His name will be called...” - that doesn’t mean that any of these will actually serve as His name. You remember, as we just read a moment ago in Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ, Gabriel told Joseph that he was to name Mary’s son, Jesus (Yeshua). That’s our Lord’s name. “Yahweh saves” is the meaning of it. And I love the play on words - “ shall call His name Jesus [Yahweh saves], for He [that is, the child] will save His people from their sins.”

So, the names here in Isaiah 9 are not names in the traditional sense, like my name is Tom and whatever the label is you’re called. Instead, the names here describe His supernatural character. The point is these qualities so accurately describe Him that it would be perfectly appropriate to call Him by these names. Each of these four names describe our Lord and how He governs His entire realm and every facet of His reign. These names describe His current rule over His church, the spiritual kingdom in which all those who are His belong. These four names describe His rule in His future earthly millennial kingdom, when He reigns for a thousand years on this planet renewed, and these names describe His eternal kingdom in a new heaven and a new earth. So, these four names describe everything that Jesus is in His reign yesterday, today, and forever.

At the same time, these qualities also describe how Jesus relates to every individual Christian. It’s perfectly appropriate for you, believer, if you have repented of your sins, you’ve believed in Jesus Christ, it’s perfectly appropriate for you to think about Jesus this way in how He relates to you.

The primary focus of Isaiah 9 is Jesus’ future physical kingdom, both His millennial kingdom and His eternal kingdom. But these qualities are just as true in the spiritual kingdom that He rules today. This is how Christ responds to His people now and forever. It’s how He responds to you personally if you belong to His kingdom. This is how He always is.

What’s the character of our king? Well, Isaiah captures his character here in these four amazing names. E.J. Young, one of the best commentators on the book of Isaiah, writes this of these names, “They are a healing balm in which the Christian soul will find comfort and strength throughout time and eternity.” It’s exactly right. If you really understand these names, they will become a source of comfort, a source of strength that will get you through this life, and they will be eternally a source of joy and adoration when you’re with the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, let’s look at them together. Let’s look at His character wrapped up in these four powerful names. First of all, we learn that our Lord is a wonderful counselor, a wonderful counselor. Now, to fully appreciate who He is, in each case I want to step back and consider why we need this reality. So, the question is, why do we need a wonderful counselor? It is because by nature we are desperately in need of spiritual counsel.

Why is that? Well, it’s several reasons. Let me just point them out to you and remind you, theologically. First of all, we need spiritual counsel because we are willfully ignorant of God and His ways. Now, I’m not talking about us who are now in Christ. I’m talking about who we are by nature, who we are apart from Christ and apart from grace. We are willfully ignorant of God and His ways. Jeremiah 4:22, God says, “For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know.” That was an indictment of the people of Israel. It’s an indictment of every human being on this planet.

Paul makes that very point in in Romans 1:21, where he’s describing all of the pagans who live on this world, those who don’t claim to worship the true God of the Bible. He says this: “For even though they knew God”, that is, they knew certain things that are true about God - His existence, His eternal power, His deity - they knew all of those things. How? Through the creation, Paul says there in Romans 1. “For even though they knew God [in that way, through the creation - just look out at what’s been made], they did not honor Him [literally, they did not glorify Him] as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” That’s all of us.

Turn to Ephesians 4. As Paul writes to those who used to be pagans in Ephesus, he tells them in chapter 4:17 that now that they’re in Christ, they’re not to walk any longer as the Gentiles walk, as the pagans live. Don’t live like they live. And notice how he describes it, and this was true of all of us before Christ, “in the futility of their mind”, that is, in worthless worldviews. And there are a lot of them across our planet. “...being darkened in their understanding...” There is complete spiritual blindness. There is complete darkness when it comes to their understanding of God and spiritual things. “...excluded from the life of God...” Why is all of this true? Because of the ignorance that is in them.

Now, as Paul makes the point in Romans 1, this isn’t an accidental ignorance. This isn’t because I just didn’t have a chance to know. This is willful ignorance. They suppress the knowledge of God that’s revealed in the creation. And then, here’s the real problem. Here’s what lies at the core. All of this ignorance, all of this darkness in their understanding, all of their bad worldviews come from the end of verse 18, “the hardness of their heart”. That’s the source of it.

Folks, this is who we are apart from grace. Our hearts are hard. We are ignorant of spiritual things. We are excluded from the life of God. We are dark when it comes to our understanding of spiritual things. And because of that, we embrace all kinds of ridiculous and worthless worldviews. That’s humanity. This is why we need a counselor. So, we are willfully ignorant of God and His ways.

Another reason we need a wonderful counselor is because we’re ignorant of salvation. You remember, even somebody as biblically astute as the teacher of the Jews in the first century, Nicodemus, Jesus says to him in John 3:9-10... Jesus has told him he must be born again and Nicodemus’ response is this, “‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?’“ Even somebody that well informed about the Bible, about the Hebrew Scriptures, didn’t know how to be made right with God. And neither do we. That’s why Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word [preaching] of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” To the Greeks, it’s foolishness. To the Jews, it’s a stumbling block. A Messiah who’s crucified?

And so, we need counsel because we’re ignorant of God in His ways. We’re ignorant of salvation. In fact, to put it more generally, we are ignorant of all spiritual realities. We just don’t understand, and we can’t understand. Jesus made this point in John 8:43 and 47. He says, “Why [listen to this question] do you not understand what I am saying?” You ever wonder that about the people around you and about you before you came to Christ? “Why do you not understand what I’m saying?” I mean, it’s there. It’s in black and white. They’re simple words. Why do you not understand? Jesus says, “It is because you cannot hear My word.” He uses the Greek word dunamai. “You don’t have the power. You don’t have the capacity to understand My word.” “He who is of God hears the words of God...” We lack the power.

By the way, let me just say, if you come to church with family or friends, and the things that I talk about, the things that the other teachers here talk about, they just mean nothing to you - you don’t really care about them, you’re ready to move on, you just tolerate it until you can leave and grab some lunch - it’s because you cannot hear the words of God. It’s because you don’t know God. You have a dead heart that lives in willful ignorance of your Creator. Your only hope is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But a natural man [that is, a man who has not been born again] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot [again, dunamai - he does have the capacity, the ability to] understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” You see, apart from Christ and apart from grace, we are ignorant of all spiritual realities.

For example, we don’t know how to break sinful patterns and habits in our lives. We don’t know how to nurture and grow healthy relationships with the people around us. We don’t know how to identify and avoid spiritual dangers. This is why even the children’s catechism that I taught my children as I were growing up says, “Why do I need Christ as a prophet?” And the answer is, “Because I am ignorant and in need of a teacher.” That’s our need.

So, let’s consider then Christ’s provision. Christ’s provision. Look again at Isaiah 9. Our King can overcome our desperately dreadful spiritual ignorance because verse 6 says, “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor...” Literally, “He’s a wonder of a counselor” is how the Hebrew reads. He’s a wonder of a counselor.

The Hebrew word for “wonderful” belongs to a word group that’s used some 80 times in the Old Testament, and it almost always refers to the work of God, especially His miracles. This word, “wonderful,” for example, and its word group is used to describe what God did to free His people from the bondage of Egypt in the Exodus. The closest English word that we have to this word, “wonderful,” is the word “supernatural.” That’s the idea. Jesus’ wisdom is superior to all human wisdom. He’s a supernatural counselor. In fact, look at Isaiah 11. This is exactly what Isaiah writes about Him. Isaiah 11:1. This is a prophecy about the Messiah: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” By the way, you’ll come across this idea branch or a shoot often in the Old Testament. It’s a powerful word picture.

When Israel was destroyed, when the north fell in 722 BC, when the two southern tribes fell to Babylon in 586 BC, it’s like the nation of Israel was a tree that was cut off at the stump. It’s gone. It’s just a stump. But the picture is that someday they’ll come a little shoot. We’ve all seen it. We’ve seen a massive tree that’s died, been cut down. It looks like its history is over. It’s just going to rot and be finished. But then, suddenly, here comes a shoot. That’s the Messiah. That’s Jesus out of a stump that is Israel.

And notice how He’s described (verse 2): “The Spirit of the LORD [Yahweh] will rest on Him, The spirit of [here it is] wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. [Verse 3, He’s going to use that to rule] And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear...” In other words, He’s able to see things as they really are. He doesn’t just observe something from the outside and make a bad decision. “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth... [Verse 5] Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.” In other words, the Messiah is wisdom itself. No wonder He’s a supernatural counselor. Go over to Isaiah 28. This is exactly how God is described. Isaiah 28:29: “This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.” That’s the Father. And now, we learn that the Son incarnate, our Lord Jesus Christ, will be just like that. His counsel will be wonderful and His wisdom great.

It’s not surprising, really, when you think about it that His counsel is so wise and helpful. I mean, consider for a moment the credentials of our counselor, our counsel king. First of all, He knows us. He knows us. John 2, just working through the Harmony of the Gospels myself, I was just meditating on this verse this last week. John 2:24-25: “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them [those who were sort of temporarily, externally convinced that He was from God], for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.” He knows us. He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows your heart far better than you ever thought about knowing who you are and what you’re like.

Secondly, He has experienced everything we have, except for sin. He lived here for 33 years. There’s nothing you face in this life in categories that He Himself hasn’t faced, except for sinning. Hebrews 4:15-16, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

So, He knows us. He’s experienced what we’ve experienced. And the third part of His credentials is that He has perfect wisdom. So, we just saw in Isaiah 11:2 - perfect wisdom from God. So, His credentials are impeccable to be our counselor. You know, it saddens me how many Christians seek out secular counsel to fix the problems in their lives when we have a wonder of a counselor, a supernatural counselor. Jesus Christ is the source of all wisdom for His people.

Consider the history of our counselor. The history of our counselor. When you look at how His counsel is unfolded, think about the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, through His spirit, He revealed God’s truth to the Old Testament writers. I love the way Peter puts it in 1 Peter 1 when he says that when it comes to the prophets who wrote the Old Testament, “the Spirit of Christ [the Messiah was] within them” directing them to write and to point to Himself. So, He was giving counsel to us, to His people, through the writers of the Old Testament. The Spirit of Christ was within them directing them to write.

You fast forward to His incarnation, and in His incarnation, Jesus gave wonderful counsel. I mean, think about it. Jesus referred to Himself as a prophet in Luke 13:33. He was a prophet. Prophets not only foretold the future, they revealed truth to God’s people, both about the future but about the present. That’s what Jesus did. How did He give counsel in His incarnation? Well, He revealed the Father in His person. Just look at Jesus and you see God. That’s what John 1 says, verse 18: “He has explained Him [God].” Literally, He exegeted God. You want to know what God is like? Jesus made it clear, and He did so in His person. In fact, you remember in the upper room discourse in John 14, “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father...’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father...’“ Jesus showed us exactly what the Father was like.

He also revealed God’s truth in His teaching. There’s so many passages that make this point. John 7:16: “So Jesus answered them and said, ‘My teaching [listen to this] is not Mine, but His who sent Me.’“ In John 13:13, Jesus said in the upper room discourse, “You call Me Teacher [didaskalos] and Lord [kurios]...” “[You call Me Teacher and Master]; and you are right, for so I am.” “I’m here as your Teacher, I’m here to teach you, and I’m here as your Lord.” He revealed God’s truth in His teaching.

Since the incarnation, Jesus has continued to give His people wonderful, supernatural counsel. How has He done that? How is He your counselor today? Let me just remind you, first of all, through His Spirit, He directed the writing of the New Testament. And in the writing of the New Testament, He revealed God’s truth to us.

Turn to John 16. John 16 and look at verse 12. Jesus is talking to the Eleven. Judas is gone at this point, and he says, “I have many more things to say to you [I’m your Teacher, I’m your Counselor, and there’s a lot I need to pour into you yet], but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [this isn’t a promise to you, Christian, or to me. This is a promise to these handpicked representatives of Christ who were going to write the New Testament. He says He will guide you into all the truth]; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” In other words, the Spirit in the New Testament has given us the counsel of Jesus Christ. This is His truth, His Word to us. This is His direction for our lives.

Also, since the incarnation through His Spirit, Jesus illumines our understanding of the written Word. He gave us the Spirit to teach us that Word that He gave us through the apostles. 1 Corinthians 2 talks about the illumination of the Spirit. The things that are of the Spirit, the Word of God, are made clear to His own through the work of the Spirit.

Thirdly, through the gifted men He gave to the church, He teaches us, counsels us, equips us all to serve. Ephesians 4:11-12: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service...” While I am and the elders of this church - we are all under-shepherds of Christ. And unlike Him, we are all flawed. We are Christ’s gift to this church to teach you, to counsel you in the Scriptures.

And a fourth way that He continues to give counsel to us is through His example in the New Testament. He counsels us how to live. John 13:15, “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you”, talking there specifically about practically serving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Philippians 2:5: “Have this attitude [of humility] in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus...” Follow His example. 1 Peter 2:21: “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps [when it comes to suffering in a way that honors Christ.” And then, John - we saw it in 1 John 2:6. John puts it in this sweeping way. He says, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” And so, He gives us counsel about how to live through His example in the New Testament.

Charles Hodge writes, “Since His ascension, Jesus performs the same office, that is office of prophet, not only in the fuller revelation of the gospel made to the apostles and in their inspiration as infallible teachers, but also in the institution of the ministry and constantly calling men to that office, and by the influence of the Holy Spirit who cooperates with the truth in every human heart and renders it effectual to the sanctification and salvation of His own people.” Jesus continues his work as a counselor even today. And He always will.

You understand that we are finite human beings and as such we will never learn all there is to know about God. I remember when I was in seminary, one of my professors did just a very simple thing that illustrated this to me in a way I never forgot, and I’m sure the other students in that class never forgot. He walked up (this was old school), he walked up to the chalkboard. And on the chalkboard, he took the piece of chalk, and he made just a tiny little dot with that chalk - barely see it. And he said, “Men,” he said, “I want you to think of this blackboard as an infinite plane that extends in every direction - up, down, east and west. It’s an infinite plane. That’s what can be known about God.” And he said, “That little dot represents everything we know.” That’s still true, but we will learn from Jesus Christ, new and amazing things about our God forever. He will always be to us a wonderful counselor.

If you’re not a Christian, can I just say that no one has ever more fully revealed God than Jesus Christ? And He made it clear that if you have any hope of knowing your Creator, if you have any hope of being reconciled to Him, it will only be through Jesus Christ. He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one [and you won’t be the exception] comes to the Father but through Me.” I plead with you today to repent and believe in Him. He’s the only way that you can be made wise to who God is, to how to be made right with God, and every spiritual thing in life. If you’re already a Christian, then understand that Christ gave you His Word through the Spirit, and the Spirit of Christ is today within you, teaching you the truth through His Word.

So, we’ve seen the credentials of our counselor and we’ve seen the history of our counselor. Just consider for a moment, briefly, the instruction of our counselor. What does He instruct us about? Well, He gives us wisdom about God. I already mentioned in John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” He has exegeted Him. How did Jesus explain the Father? He explained Him by His life. As I mentioned, John 14, “...He who has seen Me has seen the Father...”

He explained Him by His teaching. John 3:34, ”For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God...” John 8:40, ”But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God...” Turn to John 17. Look at John 17. Here we have both Jesus’ instruction about God through His life and through His teaching. Verse 6, John 17:6, ”I have manifested Your name [I have revealed Your name]...” And the implication here is, “Through who I am, through My life, to the men whom You gave me out of the world.” “...they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” Verse 8. Here you have the revelation of the truth of God. “...for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” Then go down to verse 26: “...and I have made Your name known to them [again, the implication here isn’t so much what Jesus taught as who He was] and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

So, our counselor teaches us wisdom about God. He also teaches us wisdom about sin and salvation. There’s so many passages like this. Matthew 4:23: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom...” Jesus - it was His gospel. Even in the prophecy of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist in Luke 1:78-79, speaks of the “Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace [that is, peace with God].” So, He gives us wisdom about sin and salvation.

He gives us wisdom about all spiritual truth. I mean, think about something that’s as simple as Matthew 22, where Jesus takes the entire Hebrew Scriptures and reduces it to two commands: love God with your whole being and love your neighbor as yourself. So, He teaches us all spiritual truth.

By the way, if you’re still in John 17, look at verse 20, because not only did He teach the apostles, but He teaches us through the apostles. Verse 20: ”I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word...” If you have believed in Jesus Christ through the writings of the apostles, Jesus was praying for you here and He provides His counsel to us through their word.

Jesus is also instructing us in wisdom about everything. I thought a lot about this verse over the last year, Colossians 2:3. Listen to it: “in whom [in Him, in Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” You know, I think sometimes our view of Christ is too small. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Obviously, that means a complete knowledge of all things spiritual. We understand that. I hope you understand that. In Him are hidden full and complete knowledge and wisdom about every spiritual thing. But let me broaden that. Think about this with me for a moment. There is no legitimate field of knowledge on this planet that Christ doesn’t know comprehensively and perfectly. After all, He created everything. So, He knows everything about every legitimate field of knowledge on this planet exponentially better than all human experts. He created it. Jesus knows your job better than any person on the planet. He knows the subjects you’re studying in school better than any human teacher has ever known them or ever will know them. Why? He created all of this. If it’s mathematics or engineering or if it’s medicine or, well, it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is you do, Jesus knows it better and more comprehensively than any person in the universe.

So, let me ask you, Christian, have you ever stopped and asked Him for his help to do what you do better? In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Obviously, that’s spiritually true, but that’s true for any legitimate field of knowledge on this planet.

Most human kings need a whole lot of advisors and counselors, most of the time more than they have, to rule wisely. Our King is a supernatural counselor and that will characterize His rule forever. You can come to Jesus and receive counsel. He gives knowledge for ignorance, clarity for confusion. We receive His wisdom and His counsel where and how in His word. I love the way 1 Corinthians 2 ends. After talking about the Scripture, it says this, “[In the Scripture] we have the mind of Christ.” You understand that you want His counsel? In that book you hold in your hand, you have the mind of Jesus Christ about everything important in life and eternity. Our King is a wonderful counselor.

The second name that Isaiah uses to describe Jesus’ character is Mighty God. And if you’re worrying, you know, “He’s only at two and there’re...” I’m going to finish next week, alright? So, relax. (congregation laughing) Mighty God, Mighty God. Let’s consider our need briefly. What is our need? And I just want to give you this list to help you think about what we need when it comes to the might of Jesus Christ. We need to be rescued from the guilt and penalty of our sins. We need to be rescued from the messes we make in this life because of our sin, our ignorance, and our lack of wisdom. We need to be protected from Satan, the spiritual enemy of our souls. We need to be rescued from the problems that come, the horrific problems that come from living in a fallen world. We need to be protected and rescued from the circumstances that the people around cause, that bring grief and heartache and trouble into our lives. We need a champion. We need a hero. We need someone who is powerful to save.

So, let’s consider Christ’s provision. Verse 6 of Isaiah 9 says, “And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God...” The Messiah, our Lord Jesus, is a human child, but at the same time, He is Mighty God. That expression obviously underscores His deity. That’s pretty obvious. The Hebrew word for “God” here is not Elohim, which at times is used for false gods, the gods that don’t really exist, the idols. But the Hebrew word here for God is El, E-l, transliterated into English. It occurs 217 times in the Old Testament for the true God. It describes God as one who is strong and powerful. And Isaiah never uses this word, “El,” except for the true God. In fact, in the next chapter of Isaiah, look at Isaiah 10. Isaiah uses this very label for the one who is clearly God. He uses God’s personal name “Yahweh”. Look at Isaiah 10:20. It’s talking about the fact that a remnant of Israel will return. “Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely [notice this] on the LORD [Yahweh, on the One who is, the I AM], the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, [notice] to the mighty God.” So, clearly, when he uses that expression “Mighty God”, he’s talking about One who is God. The One who is God. Isaiah explains that the Messiah would be human, but He would also be the Mighty God.

He would be Yahweh incarnate. Isaiah 7:14, “Immanuel”, God with us. John 1:1, “...the Word was God.” Romans 9:5, “whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever...” Titus 2:13: “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ [Messiah] Jesus...” Hebrews 1:8: “But of the Son He [the Father] says, ‘YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER...”

So, Jesus is God. But here something’s added. He’s not just God. Notice, He’s called “Mighty God”. That’s really important. Now, that word “mighty” doesn’t just mean one who is powerful. It has that involved. But the word “mighty” is used in the Old Testament to describe warriors and heroes. It describes power that overcomes every difficulty.

You know, we like heroes. But the problem is man-made heroes always have their weaknesses. Superman always has his kryptonite. The Marvel characters always have some vulnerability that exposes them to danger. When man creates his heroes, they’re always just more powerful versions of his own flawed self. But Jesus is our divine hero, our divine champion, our divine fearless, victorious warrior. He has no weak points, no flaws, no vulnerabilities. He is absolutely impervious to defeat. He always wins. He is our rescuer and our defender. He is our champion. That’s what Messiah is to His people, what He is to us.

I wish I had time to develop it. When we studied the book of Ruth, I explained this in detail. But in Old Testament terms, Jesus is our gaal. He is our kinsman redeemer. He is the One who has committed Himself to come to our rescue when we have made a mess out of which we can never extricate ourselves. He takes responsibility because He’s related to us.

As the Mighty God to His people, just consider with me for just a moment what Jesus does. As our champion, as our hero, as our great warrior, let me just give you a little list. First of all, Jesus redeems us from sin. He redeems us from its curse. Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’...” What’s the curse of the law? Well, just before that Paul says, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” There’s the curse of the law. He’s redeemed us from the penalty of God’s law. Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law...” The idea is who are under the responsibility to keep the law, who have failed, and now rest under its penalty. He came to redeem us from that. From its guilt, Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace...” He saves us, redeems us from the practice of sin. Titus 2:14, “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” He rescues us, redeems us from the practice of sin and from its power. I love John 8:34: “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” If your life is marked by a continuing pattern of sin, you are a slave. You are a slave of your sin. And if you doubt that, just try to change. But Jesus says, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” So, Jesus as the Mighty God redeems us from sin.

Secondly, Jesus protects us from danger. We’ll talk more about this next time, but in Acts 18, Jesus appears to Paul in verses 9 and 10: “And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid any longer...’“, which is interesting, isn’t it? You don’t think of the apostle Paul as being fearful, but he says, ”Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” That doesn’t mean He never allows any harm to come to His people. It means no harm comes to us until He wills it to be so. Jesus preserves us through the troubles and difficulties of this life. Turn to Romans, Romans 8. Our mighty champion brings us through all of the troubles of life. Romans 8:35: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? [And then he lists these things that can happen.] Will tribulation [pressure of all sorts of things in life], or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Whether it’s natural disaster, or whether it’s our enemies seeking to kill us, whatever it is, we are, notice verse 37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” He is our champion. He’s our hero. He’s the one who rescues us from all of the things that we encounter in this life.

Number four: Jesus is the source of our spiritual growth and sanctification. John 15:5, He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit [meaning spiritual fruit, talking about growth here], for apart from Me you can do nothing.” He’s the source of our spiritual growth and sanctification. Philippians 4:13, Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” In context, he’s talking about having a content spirit, whether you have a little or have a lot. But the larger point is, the only way you can grow, the only way you can manifest holiness is through the One who strengthens you.

Number five: Jesus insures our ultimate salvation. I love this one. As our champion, as our hero, He makes sure we make it. John 10:28: “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” He is the Mighty God, and this is the promise He makes to His own. I love Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able also to save forever [or completely, to the uttermost, to the maximum] those who draw near to God through Him...”

And number six: Jesus will come someday, and He’ll come as an actual warrior on behalf of His people, and He will defeat all of their enemies. We’re going to study it in Revelation 19 when He comes back as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He speaks and destroys all of those who would attack Him and His people.

Number seven, and finally, Jesus will reign as King over a new heaven and a new earth forever. Revelation 11:15, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ [Messiah]; and He will reign forever and ever.” He is our champion, our hero. He is the warrior who defends us. He is the one who has committed Himself to rescue us when we’ve made a mess of things in our lives. He is our Lord. Jesus Christ, our King, has unlimited power to accomplish all of His holy will. He has the power to save us, to free us from sin’s slavery, to change us, to keep us, to glorify us, and to usher us into His eternal presence forever.

Be honest with yourself, Christian. Do you ever wonder, do you ever wonder if you’re really going to make it? I think we all could be tempted at times when we look at ourselves to have that thought. But it’s not going to happen because our King is the Mighty God, because He is the divine hero, the divine champion, the divine warrior. He is able to save forever all who put their trust in Him.

So, our King, He is and always will be a Wonder of a Counselor. And He is and always will be Mighty God, our divine hero. That’s the King whose birth we celebrate this week.

Let’s pray together.

Father, You know how often I feel so inadequate to teach Your Word. Lord, certainly today is one of those days. How can I come close in human words to describing, to explaining the greatness of our King, our Lord Jesus Christ. But Father, I pray that you would take my weak and feeble efforts and by Your Spirit. Lord Jesus, You are the Counselor. You are the One who can take, by Your Spirit, these words from Your Word that I’ve tried to explain and make them come alive in the hearts of Your people, to grip their souls, to moving forward, be the way they think about you. Lord, I pray that You would do that work in all of our hearts. May everyone here who knows You, as they think about celebrating Christmas this week, may their eyes be lifted up from the trinkets and the stuff, to see the King, to see that He is and always will be a Wonder of a Counselor and our great champion, our hero, the One who rescues us from everything. And may we love Him more. May we follow Him more closely as Teacher and Lord. Lord, I pray for those who are here this morning who don’t know You. May they have gotten just a glimpse of His greatness and His beauty. And may they be drawn to Him. Save them. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen!