His Name Shall be Called Wonderful
Translated by Teresa Chiang
“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, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” （Isa 9:6, KJV）
It is said that the famous composer, Handel, was walking along the river someday. He was depressed, frustrated, and in despair. He even thought of ending his life while watching the flowing river. When he went home, listless, he saw a letter from a friend. Within the envelop are 52 verses regarding Christology transcribed by his friend from the Bible. Handel was then filled with the Holy Spirit. He then stayed in a hut and composed within 24 days one of the greatest musical pieces of all time-- the majestic and spectacular “Messiah”. The well-known “For unto Us a Child is Born” is among one of the movements.
（《Messiah---For Unto Us a Child is Born》）
“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)”
This verse provided five names for the soon-to-be-born baby Jesus Christ: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Please take note that the word Wonderful is noun rather than an adjective. It is not a wonderful Counselor, but “Wonderful” and “Counselor”.
In the Book of Judges, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s parents. “Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, ‘What is Your Name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?’ And the Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is wonderful?’”）（Judges 13:17-18, NKJV）
This “Angel of the Lord” was the Jesus Christ in the Old Testament before His incarnation.
In this sermon we would be focusing on the first of the five names: He will be called “Wonderful”!
A. His Nature is wonderful
Jesus Christ is perfectly human and perfectly divine. This Divine Attribute is called the Hypostatic Union of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ’s Hypostatic Union could be seen clearly in this verse:
“For to us a child is born”: He was born, demonstrating his humanity.
“to us a son is given”: He was given by God, demonstrating his divinity.
“the government will be on his shoulders”: He is the One reigning with authority, demonstrating his humanity.
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”, all demonstrating his divinity.
Has there been a second person like Jesus who possess Hypostatic Union (ie, perfectly human and perfectly divine)? The answer is no! Unprecedented, and would never be a second one. He is the only One!
Why is it so important for Jesus Christ to be having Hypostatic Union? Why does Jesus Christ need to be perfectly human and perfectly divine?
For it is necessary for Jesus Christ to become flesh and born as the Christmas baby to atone for our sins: Jesus as the Son of Men could die for human and become the lamb of God to be sacrificed. Jesus as Son of God being holy and without blemish to atone for our sins, through which to be victorious over the power of devil and death.
B. His Birth is Wonderful
Jesus Christ is the One promised by God. We could find from the Bible the wonders and footprints of this to-be-born Christmas baby.
At 700 years prior to His birth, prophet Micah accurately prophesied his birthplace: Bethlehem in Judea (Micah 5:2)
At 740 years prior to His birth, prophet Isaiah prophesied with boldness how He would be born: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son” (Isaiah 7:14)
At 1000 years prior to His birth, prophet Samuel prophesied that he would be born of the house of king David. (2 Samuals 7:12)
At 1400 years prior to His birth, the Bible prophesied of his time of birth through the words of Balaam. (Numbers 24:17)
At 1800 years prior to His birth, Jacob, the ancestor of Israelites prophesied that He would be the descendant of the tribe of Judah. (Genesis 49:10)
As we trace back to the beginning of mankind, the first prophesy in the bible clearly pointed out that He would be called the Descendant of woman. (Genesis 3:15)
1. The Descendant of woman
“he (Descendant of woman) will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
When men sinned at the temptation of the devil, God promised that a Descendant of woman would come and save men.
Please pay attention to the special characteristic of this baby. All mankind was referred to as descendants of mean, while only this child who would be called as “Descendant of woman”. This child was born of woman, and so He is perfectly human. But He could crush the head of the devil, which proved that He is perfectly divine, for only God could crush the head of the devil.
2. The descendent of Abraham
“and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18)
This is the great promise God made to men, for all nations would be blessed through the great descendent of Abraham—Jesus Christ!
3. Born of the tribe of Judah
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” (Genesis 49:10)
This Christmas baby would come out of the tribe of Judah. He would be the king of the Jews. One day all nations would be obedient to Him.
4. The Son of David
“When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.” (2 Samuel 7:12)
The Lord promised king David saying that he would never fail to have a successor to sit on his throne, and that his kingdom would be established before the Lord forever and ever. This promised was fulfilled after a short duration of time on Solomon. But this promise would eventually be fulfilled in the Son of David—Jesus Christ.
5. The virgin birth
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.”
Please notice the special characteristic of this baby: He was born of a virgin, thus demonstrating his humanity. But His name would be called “Immanuel” (meaning, “God is with us”), thus demonstrating His divinity.
6. Born of Bethlehem
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times”
We can see again that this wonderful Christmas baby possess both humanity and divinity: “out of you will come” demonstrates His humanity, and “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” demonstrates His divinity.
7. Angels prophesied His birth
“Do not be afraid, Mary; […] You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32)
The meaning of the name “Jesus” is God saves! This baby would be born of Mary, but He would be called the Son of the Most High. This again demonstrates His perfect humanity and divinity.
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Like 2:10-11)
Who else in human history would have the time, place, and manner birth been clearly written in books 1000 years prior to His birth, while having angels who prophesied and proclaimed, and furthermore, born of a virgin?
Thus finally, this special Christmas baby was born.
At the birth of this baby, songs of praise rang loud in heaven, the whole Earth was overcome with awe.
At the birth of this baby, king Herod was truck with intense fear and all Jerusalem was troubled.
At the birth of this baby, angels instructed shepherds to seek Him, the stars led Magi from the east to come and worship.
The birth of this baby marked the beginning of a new era in human history, the fate of humankind went for a drastic change since then.
C. His life is Wonderful
His was born lowly and grew up in poverty. The only time He went abroad was fleeing from home to Egypt. He began preaching at around age thirty. He went hither and thither, drifting from place to place without even a place to lay His head. He was betrayed by His disciple, deserted by His people, and nailed on the cross by the Roman empire at age thirty-three.
“He has never written a book in His life, but none of the libraries would be able to contain all the books written about Him. He has never written a hymn, but hymns praising Him were too many to be counted. He has never founded any college, but the sum of all college students around the world is still less than His followers. He has never commanded a single soldier but has amassed the largest group of volunteers. He was not a physician but has cured countless patients with physical and mental illnesses. He has never gone beyond 200 miles of the Palestinian region, but His believers had spread out to all corners of the Earth.” (by McDowell, 《Evidence That Demands a Verdict》)
All great politicians, philosophers and scientists all disappeared one by one in history, but His name has been known far and wide after 2000 years.
This base-born and impoverished carpenter did firmly proclaim that:
“I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).
What do you think, wasn’t His life wonderful?
D. His Teaching is Wonderful
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-10)
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12) This teaching is referred to as the golden rule.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) His summary of the Old Testament and words of the prophets were referred to as the Great Mission.
“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:29) This teaching has been widely used by the mankind, which was referred to as the Matthew Effect!
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” (John 6:63)
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)
“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)
“remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
The above examples of His teachings were referred to as Paradoxes in the Bible, meaning the statement being true despite its appearance of being false. These flipped the senses, logic and understanding of human beings!
It is because of his unprecedented shocking tone, so that all were amazed saying that “because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Matthew 7:29)
“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.” (John 7:46)
Jesus He Himself said that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35).
What do you think, wasn’t His teaching wonderful?
E. His wisdom is Wonderful
Jesus in His childhood often sat in the house of the lord among teachers, asking and answering questions, “Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:47)
The Scriptures says: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
The Pharisees tempted Him asking, “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” (Matthew 22:17) to which He replied, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)
In an occasion afterwards, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus to find some evidence to accuse Him. They again tested Him by asking “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:5)
Jesus then replied, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
The Pharisees’ intention was to put Him into a trap. But then is it not funny for the created to attempt to trap the Creator?
The Jewish people were confused and amazed. Being amazed was referring to how they were surprised by his wonder and was unable to comprehend.
“When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” (Mark 2:2-3)
But the Scripture has witnessed that, “they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2-3)
F. His miracle is Wonderful
Jesus is the One who performed the most miracles in Bible:
The blind received sight, the deaf heard, the lame danced; the leprous were cleansed; the dead were raised; and He let water became wine; fed five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish; walked on the sea; surprisingly provided fish; and He Himself risen from the dead.
“People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”” (Mark 7:37)
Jewish teacher Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and said to Him, ““Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”” (John 3:2)
“and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a sign, all that John said about this man was true.”” (John 10:41)
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” (John 14:11)
Apostle John in the end of the Book of John concluded that, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)
G. His death is Wonderful
Is there any other whose death and burial has been well prophesied even before one was born?
1000 years well before Jesus was born, Psalms 22 described in detail how His body would endure crucifixion, and Psalms 69 described how He would be scorned, ridiculed, and deserted.
“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.” (Psalms 22:14-16)
“You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” (Psalms 69: 19-21)
700 years well before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah clearly and precisely prophesied how He would die and be buried.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7-9)
One could not know when one would be born, when and how one would be dead. But Jesus knew well when and how He would die.
“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19)
When Jesus was crucified on the cross about to be dead, He said the shocking “It is finished”. (John 19:30)
Normally people would say “I am doomed”. Only Jesus said “It is finished” when He was dying, which is a victorious proclamation!
Jesus’ last words on the cross was “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last.” (Luke 23:46).
The authors of the Gospels did not use the word “death” when describing the death of Jesus. The reason of this is because the Biblical death meant separation from God, the source of living. Jesus’ death was obviously not being separated from God, but the exactly the opposite, which He commit His spirit into the hands of God.
The Gospels also witnessed the death of Jesus as being remarkable through the words of the centurion who performed the execution.
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”” (Matthew 27:54)
“The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”” (Luke 23:47)
What do you think, is not Jesus’ death wonderful?
H. His resurrection is Wonderful
The Old Testament alluded to the resurrection of Christ in “you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.” (Psalm 16:10)
Prophet Isaiah prophesied about the resurrection of Christ saying, “he will swallow up death forever.” (Isaiah 25:8)
Jesus knew clearly His coming death and resurrection, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21)
Jesus said regarding Himself, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:18)
All the lives of others were rid away by sin, except for His life was given by He Himself. He has the authority to give, and so the authority to take it back.