Jesus is the most popular and significant person who ever walked this planet. Even our calendar reflects this truth as we write 2017. 2017 years from what or who? Jesus. Even with Jesus’ historical and cultural impact many people still do not know much about him.
Jesus has been the top searched for word or name on the internet. Jesus was actually first on the list of searched for names until 2012, but is still one of top searched for names even today. Do you think everything out there about Jesus is accurate?
Jesus also has graced the cover of major magazines like Time and Newsweek more than any other person or topic with no close second. Jesus appeared on three covers of Newsweek in 2012 alone. The problem is that those articles typically get a good response and they sell very well but do not accurately portray Jesus as described by history or in the Bible. Pastor Rick Warren was one of many to accuse Newsweek’s editors of cynical intentions when he took aim at a piece in 2012. “I think it’s disingenuous that magazines like ‘Newsweek’ know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, but it’s always bait and switch,” Warren told CNN’s Jake Tapper, then with ABC News.
Jesus may be popular but He is still misunderstood by many.
To better understand Jesus, we will look to the Old Testament book of Isaiah. 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet describes for us who and what Jesus would be like:
6 For to us a child is born, to 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. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
Isaiah predicted several important truths about Jesus.
Jesus will come as the God-Man. Both His humanity and deity are predicted by the prophet. The words a child is born refer to the Jesus’ humanity. He will come to earth as a child, born through the conception of a woman. The words “a son is given” point to the deity of the Jesus. The child being “given” indicates that in some special way God Himself will send the child into the world. The words a son refer back to Isaiah 7:14, which indicate that “Immanuel”—God with us—will come to earth as the Jesus. Of course, all of this points to the coming of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ—to earth (Jn.3:16). The very thought of such a miraculous event staggers the human mind. Nevertheless, it was the clear prophecy of Isaiah, and the prediction was made some 700 years before Christ actually came. Today we are actually looking back upon this historic event, this pivotal point of human history. On the night that Christ was born, the very angel who appeared to the shepherds seems to refer to these words spoken by Isaiah: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Lu.2:11). As Matthew Henry says:
Christ’s being born and given to us is the great foundation of our hopes, and fountain of our joys, in times of greatest grief and fear.”
Jesus is in control of this world. “The government will be upon His shoulders” means that He knows who will govern and when. Nothing happens that He is not aware of or allows.
Jesus will have four very famous and descriptive names. Note that these names are compound. Single names are simply inadequate to express the extent of the Jesus’s excellence or superiority. Even the compound titles are inadequate to describe Jesus.
- Jesus is a Wonderful Counselor. Since Christ has come, we have a far better idea of just what this name means. Christ lived as a man, bearing all the trials and temptations of humanity. He even suffered incomprehensible persecution and was eventually executed as a criminal. Due to His intense suffering, He is able to be the most empathetic counselor imaginable. He knows what it is like to endure pain, to feel hunger and thirst, to experience poverty and homelessness. He knows the feeling of being rejected—even by His own family—and of being forsaken and left all alone. Such are the experiences that confront so many of us as we live out our lives. When we need a counselor, Christ is the one Person who can feel what we feel, and He stands before us as the Wonderful Counselor. He is the one Person who can comfort us, who can give us solid guidance about how to handle the problems facing us. As the Wonderful Counselor, Christ can guide, encourage, and strengthen us to conquer whatever trial or temptation confronts us. As the Wonderful Counselor, He will teach us how to walk victoriously throughout life.
2. Jesus is the Mighty God. Jesus will do things that no one else could conceivably do, for example, the very things that are covered in this passage. In addition, as God, He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). He is able to save any who cry out to Him for salvation. As the Mighty God, He has the power and knowledge to rescue people from all trials and temptations. He has the power to deliver people from any bondage or oppression, whether due to some enemy or to a personal addiction.
3. Jesus is the Everlasting Father. Although He is eternal, the emphasis lies upon the fact that Jesus will love His people as a father loves His children. He will care for His people: nurture and nourish, comfort and assure, instruct and inform, lead and guide, correct and discipline them. He will do anything His people may need out of a deep, loving concern for them.
A question might be asked about this title: How can the Jesus, the Son, be called the Everlasting Father?
The Bible Knowledge Commentary makes three comments about this title:
First, the Jesus, being the second Person of the Trinity, is in His essence, God. Therefore He has all the attributes of God including eternality. Since God is One (even though He exists in three Person), Jesus is God. Second, the title “Everlasting Father” is an idiom used to describe the Jesus’s relationship to time, not His relationship to the other Members of the Trinity. He is said to be everlasting, just as God. Jesus will be a “fatherly” ruler. Third, perhaps Isaiah had in mind the promise to David (2 Sam. 7:16) about the “foreverness” of the kingdom which God promised would come through David’s line. Jesus, a Descendant of David, will fulfill this promise for which the nation had been waiting.
Matthew Henry says the following:
He is the Everlasting Father, or the Father of eternity: he is God, one with the Father, who is from everlasting to everlasting. His fatherly care of His people and tenderness towards them are everlasting. He is the author of everlasting life and happiness to them, and so is the Father of a blessed eternity to them. He is the Father of the world to come…the father of the gospel-state, which is put in subjection to him, not to the angels (Heb.2:5). He was, from eternity, Father of the great work of redemption: his heart was upon it; it was the product of his wisdom as the counsellor of His love as the everlasting Father.
4. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the promised Savior of the world, the One who will brings peace to the human heart and peace among the nations. Note the word Prince, which indicates that Jesus will be a ruler who governs in peace. He will achieve His purposes through methods of peace and carry on His work in a peaceful spirit. The people over whom He rules will be a people of peace.
But even more important, because Jesus will bring peace to the human heart, He will solve the problem of mankind’s alienation from God. He will reconcile people to God. And when people are reconciled to God, they have peace with God, and the peace of God floods their hearts. They walk through life with the full assurance that their sins are forgiven and they are accepted by God. Confidence floods their souls, the confidence that they will live eternally with the Father and with the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Jesus.
During this series we will drill down on each name, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace to better understand who Jesus is.