Christmas Day, gathered as the Church of Jesus Christ, we celebrate the Glory of God revealed at Birth of our Savior. That Glory of Christmas is in the Name of Jesus.
This is a time to think of what Christmas really means:
Christmas Declares: Jesus is Unlike Anyone
Who was Ever Born, Lived, or Died
Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever been born.
He came into the world in a way no other human ever could or will.
He was born into a poor family, and lived in an obscure village, in a tiny province of a vast Empire.
Out of poverty, obscurity, and apparent weakness, He touched the world like no one else ever has.
Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever lived.
He had none of the typical trappings of power and influence: He had no riches or formal education; yet He amazed the intelligentsia of His day.
He healed all who came to Him without charge.
He had no wealth; yet He fed tens of thousands from His own hands.
He was by nature meek and lowly; yet He could banish death with a word, disease and handicap with a touch, and demons hordes at will.
Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever died.
He could walk across raging waters.
He could walk away through crowds seeking to destroy, while becoming unseen.
He could slip through locked doors and appear at will.
He could flatten an army just by saying His own Name: yet He allowed Himself to be captured, horribly abused, and then murdered.
Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever been born; who ever lived; and who ever died.
To understand Christmas, we need to see what God revealed.
What God revealed is that:
The Glory of His Name
The greatest revelation of our Infinite God’s nature, character, and personhood comes through His Name.
Theologians have classified all the different names, ascriptions, and titles of our Triune: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
In Theology (or the study of God), we find there are no less than 420 names, titles, and ascriptions of God in three persons, contained in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament there are 225 of them, and in the New Testament there are 195.
Christmas is the time of the year we most hear the sound of that incredible river, of the mighty names of God come down to man, revealed from Heaven through the inspired Word.
God revealed Himself to mankind as a man.
God used human terms so we could understand Him.
God gave incredible access to know Him, and understand His power and love, by way of a series of names, titles, and ascriptions to His Majesty.
To the Old Testament saints the name of the Lord was a strong tower.
In the New Testament, Jesus became God with us!
1. The Name of Jesus is the saving name: "Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
2. The Name of Jesus is the sanctifying name. We are to do all things, in word and deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17).
3. The Name of Jesus is the sovereign name. "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow" (Philippians 2:10). It is the name that as the hymn writer said: “charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease." It is the name that, as "music in the sinner's ears, brings life and health and peace."
Nowhere in all of the Old Testament prophets, do we find more names of our promised God the Son coming to save His lost creatures, than in Isaiah. Let’s look there in Isaiah 9:6, to see the Name of our Savior who came.
Isaiah wrote at a dark hour in Israel’s history. It was about 730 years before Bethlehem’s babe was born. The Northern half of Israel was about to vanish in the Assyrian conquest and deportation.
The countdown to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple had started. In that dark and perilous time for God’s people of promise, four pairs of names, that distilled divinity into a coming person, were revealed.
Please stand as we read this glorious announcement of God become man. Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
God breathed out through Isaiah, His Word that describes the coming Messiah, using four pairs of magnificent, descriptive titles:
• Wonderful Counselor
• Mighty God
• Everlasting Father
• Prince of Peace
The Name of Jesus is bound up by these four word-pairs. As we look at each we can understand Him more and more!
First, God tells Isaiah that:
JESUS IS THE:
"WONDERFUL”. The Hebrew word pala indicates "something uncommon or out of the ordinary."
It reflects "a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events; something that cannot be explained."
And that is our Wonderful Counselor Jesus!
"COUNSELOR." The second part of this compound description of the coming Messiah is Counselor.
In its historical Hebrew usage, the word is used to picture a king giving counsel to his people.
Some have separated these two but the Old Testament Hebrew Bible puts them together. Isaiah defines this graphic title:
Isaiah 28:29 (NKJV) This also comes from the LORD of hosts, Who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance
As a child of 12, Jesus astounded and confounded the Jewish rabbis, with His wisdom from God in Luke 2:46-47.
Luke had already recorded that "the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him" (2:40). So that, by the time of His public ministry, people were amazed at the truthfulness of His counsel.
“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, 'Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?'" (Mt. 13:54).
We know where it came from, as Paul writes: “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3).
Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor.
Second, God tells Isaiah that:
JESUS IS THE:
What is the meaning of the name "Mighty God"? The name "MIGHTY GOD" is an Old Testament title here applied to the coming Messiah. It is the compound Hebrew El Gibbor, and both parts of the name need to be understood.
"GOD." The first part of the title is El, which is often used in the Old Testament to refer to the one true God. It is the singular form of the word Elohim.
"MIGHTY." The other part of the name is Gibbor, which means "strength, power, hero."
Jesus is God’s mighty hero for this world. Instead of heroes who are entertainers, or athletes: God says I am sending My Son to be your Mighty Hero.
Deuteronomy 10:17 (NKJV) For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
Did this promised One turn out to be the Mighty God, when He finally arrived over 700 years later? Remember from the Gospels the incredible ministry of Jesus?
He spoke to the dead and they rose to life.
He spoke to the raging waves and they fell to silence.
He speaks and even those in the Grave can hear His Voice.
Jesus is the Mighty God.
Third, God tells Isaiah that:
JESUS IS THE:
Many people are puzzled by this title because the Messiah, God’s Son, is distinguished in the Trinity from God the Father.
How can the Son be the Father? Two truths must be noted:
• Jesus Christ as God the Son, is the Second Person of the Trinity, and is in His essence, God. This means that Jesus Christ has all of the attributes of God: though God exists in three Persons, God is still One God.
• Jesus Christ also has the title “Everlasting Father” to describe His relationship to time, not His relationship to the Father and the Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is Everlasting.
This use of the word father, was an ancient Hebraism for "possessor of." Notice that, in Isaiah 9:6, the Messiah is described as both a Son ("unto us a Son is given") and a Father ("His name will be called: Everlasting Father").
He became a child in time (through the incarnation), but He, as One with the Father, is the possessor of eternity. Jesus reveals the Father who will never leave us in three very personal ways:
1. Jesus shows us what God's "everlasting arms" look like. Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’
2. Jesus displays what God's eternal presence with us will be like. Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
3. Jesus is the expression to us of God's "everlasting consolation" in an understandable and personal way. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,
Jesus is the Everlasting Father.
Finally, God tells Isaiah that:
JESUS IS THE:
THE PRINCE OF PEACE
The name "PRINCE OF PEACE" is the Hebrew Shar Shalom, which means "the one who removes all peace-disturbing factors and secures the peace."
This name of Christ the "Peaceful Prince" helps us understand why His disciples and most of the nation of Israel were so disappointed in Christ's first coming. Instead of overthrowing Rome, He asked them to obey and honor the King.
Once we are born from above, and His peace takes root in our lives, Jesus begins to transform us into peacemakers.
He can give us Peace through the deepest trials of life: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (Jn. 14:27).
He can give us Peace in our relationship with others. "endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
He can give us Peace to the very end of life. "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Th. 5:23).
Jesus is the Price of Peace.
What a treasure is ours in Isaiah's predicted Messiah. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. May we give Him worship, as we ponder the great God that He is!
One final note: These four titles are each displayed in the Gospel by John.
• Jesus is the Prince of Peace: “My Peace I give to you” He declares to His disciples.
• Jesus is the Everlasting Father: I am that I am was God’s Name in the OT, and Christ’s favorite Name in the Gospel by John. Seven times He says I AM.
• Jesus is the Mighty God: He has power over time, making water instantly into wine in John 2, that they knew took weeks to ferment; healing a man 30 miles away in John 4; creating bread for thousands in John 6, and then walking across raging waters; finally in John 18 Jesus flattens an army just by whispering His Name.
• Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor most beautifully in John’s Gospel.
But the greatest portrait of Christ as the Wonderful Counselor is seen in how He dealt with people’s problems, especially in the Gospel by John.
For a few moments remember His counsel with me:
Seeing Christ's Work as
The Wonderful Counselor
A quick walk through the Gospel of John reminds us of what Jesus does in one place at a time. With each of the scenes we’re going to go through, think about all this going on around the world—night and day—for nearly 2,000 years now!
The Glory of Christmas is that Jesus came to show us that now He is available anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. In fact, look at all the chapters in John where Jesus is meeting people right where they were:
• Watching Nathaniel sit and think under a tree, Jesus answers his questions (1:46-49). The lesson: You can bring your questions to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Attending a wedding, Jesus rescues the servants when the wine runs out (2:9). The lesson: You can bring your emergencies to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Waiting up, Jesus explains salvation to Nicodemus when he slips to Christ's side in the dark (3:2). The lesson: You can bring your struggles to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Sitting on the well, Jesus reveals His true identity to a seeking woman overflowing with sins (4:18-19). The lesson: You can bring your sin to Jesus.
• Approaching the paralytic laying on the ground, Jesus heals him when he was hopeless and helpless (5:6). The lesson: You can bring your limitations to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Coming across the waves to a storm-tossed boat, Jesus quieted the fearful disciples (6:17-19). The lesson: You can bring your fears to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Crying out for anyone who thirsts to come to Him, Jesus promised to give “rivers of living water” (7:37-38). The lesson: You can bring your longings to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Looking into the heart of the adulterous woman who stood stained by her sins, Jesus showed her mercy and forgiveness (8:3-11). The lesson: You can bring your deepest stains to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Finding the blind man in his darkness, Jesus opened his eyes (9:6-7). The lesson: You can bring your confusing times to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Opening the door to a safe and secure home for lost sheep, Jesus offered safe pasture (10:9). The lesson: You can bring your fears about death to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Defeating death and its hopelessness at the grave of Lazarus, Jesus offered new life (11:25-27). The lesson: You can bring your greatest disasters to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Accepting the worship of Mary who loved Him so, Jesus received it as a sweet fragrance (12:3-8). The lesson: You can bring your love to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Confronting His disciples with their dirty feet and hearts stinking with pride, Jesus washed away their sin (13:5-15). The lesson: You can bring your besetting sins to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Assuring His disciples when they had troubled hearts, Jesus promised that they had a future mansion with Him in heaven (14:1-6). The lesson: You can bring your future to Jesus, the Counselor..
• Coming close to prune away unprofitable parts when lives are fruitless, Jesus causes that pruning to bear fruit (15:2). The lesson: You can bring all of your life to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Promising to convict when hearts are sinful, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to keep His children on track spiritually (16:7-9). The lesson: You can bring your secrets to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Praying for sanctification by the truth of His Word, Jesus promises to open His children’s understanding of the Scriptures (17:17). The lesson: You can bring your Bible-study times to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Watching over His disciples in their darkest hour, Jesus looked out for them in spite of their weakness in the garden (18:8). The lesson: You can bring your times of weakness to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Caring for His mother even as He died, Jesus set an example of the importance of family (19:25-27). The lesson: You can bring your concerns about your family to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Finding Thomas in his doubt and bringing him to faith, Jesus lovingly reassured him (20:25-29). The lesson: You can bring your doubts to Jesus, the Counselor.
• Standing on the shore when Peter needed restoration, Jesus lovingly inspired Peter to greater service for Christ (21:15-18). The lesson: You can bring your failures to Jesus, the Counselor.
Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor.
Talk to Him, Follow Him, and Ask for His Counsel each time you open His Word and listen to Him speak.