Who Is Jesus? : Part 2
The Next CHARACTERISTIC (that helps us understand who Jesus is) is,
His Empathy – Wonderful Counselor
In this section of our text, the prophet gives several names to this child who is to be born. The first is Wonderful Counselor. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament has this to say about the word, wonderful, as used in our text. “[Most commonly, the word – wonderful] refers to the acts of God, designating either cosmic wonders or historical achievements on behalf of Israel. [It] refers to things that are unusual, beyond human capabilities… a miracle so abnormal as to be unexplainable except as showing God’s care or retribution.” We could therefore call Jesus, Miraculous Counselor.
Every counselor needs to have a source of counsel, a reservoir of wisdom to draw from when he or she counsels others. What wellspring of wisdom and experience does the Wonderful Counselor draw from? First, He draws from His omniscience as God the Son. He knows all things! But He also draws from His intimate knowledge of having walked this earth in human flesh! He knows what you’re going through because He’s already experienced it. Physical pain, he’s been there. Social injustice, he’s been there too. Rejection and ridicule, He’s familiar with that. False accusations, same story? Yet unlike human counselors, His counsel is always right.
When you’re going through a trial and it seems like everyone has forsaken you, where do you turn? I hope it is to the Lord Jesus, to that counselor whose understanding and empathy far surpass anything your fellow men can offer. That’s how the Psalmist David saw God again and again; as the only one who could comfort him in his sorrow, sustain him in his suffering, and empower him in his weakness.
I’m not suggesting human counselors are never needed. But I’m suggesting that too often we seek counsel from others when God’s Word has the counsel we need. Too often we don’t like the counsel we receive from the Bible. We want relief from our struggles, but only on our terms. I’ve heard some Christian counselors, in specific situations, give counsel contrary to the Word of God; how tragic! I assure you, there will be no positive, lasting results from that kind of counsel.
But Jesus isn’t like that. His counsel is always just what’s needed and never contradicts His Word or His character. He always has His glory and our best interest as motivation. He’ll never steer us in a direction that will lead us away from Him. Even when we experience discipline from Him it is given in love and compassion. As the Son of God and the Son of Man He is uniquely qualified and equipped to be our Wonderful Counselor.
The Next CHARACTERISTIC is,
His Sovereignty – Mighty God
In Jesus, according to Colossians 2:9 and 10 “…dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And [we] are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power…” This verse, and many others, clearly reveal the oneness that exists between God and Jesus. In His own testimony, Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that!
Paul, writing in Colossians chapter one, reminds us that “For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things [hold together].”
If I create something I have the right of ownership. Since nothing exists that wasn’t created by Jesus, He has the divine right of ownership and control. Every other power, in heaven or on earth, is subject to Him. Even demonic powers are limited by his authority.
Jesus demonstrated His sovereignty numerous times during His earthly ministry. He calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee; He healed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, enabled the dumb to speak, healed the cripples, cast out demons, and restored the dead to life. No situation was beyond the realm and power of His control. He reminded Pilate that he could exercise no more power than what was permitted by God. He told the disciples that He could have called twelve legions of angels to deliver Him from suffering and death, but He didn’t. He chose to submit to the will of His Father.
Because of His obedience, “God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” that’s Philippians 2:9 and 10.
Notice the multiple uses of the word every in these verses. His name is above every name, none can match it. Every knee will ultimately bow in recognition of His sovereignty; either now or later. Every tongue, willing or unwilling, will sooner or later confess that He is Master. There are no exceptions!
What a privilege God gives to all who receive His Son, the Mighty God. John reminds us that “as many as believed on Him, to them he gave the right, to become the sons of God.” And the resources of that Mighty God are available to you and me!
The Next CHARACTERISTIC is,
His Eternality – Everlasting Father
This characteristic is extremely difficult for us to grasp; all our knowledge is directly related to time. All we can say about eternity is that it’s endless. But by using the word, endless, we’ve introduced a time/space concept. The word, end, proposes the idea of measurement. Yet there cannot be only one end. If one end exists, there has to be another end somewhere. So, it is impossible to define eternity in a simple way that satisfies our intellect.
But our difficulty in understanding the concept doesn’t take away from its reality. Here, I quote my mentor, Dr. J. Otis Yoder. “Our basic difficulty lies in the fact that eternal is outside of our existence, bound as we are by time and our mortality. Once we are released from our mortality, we will experience the reality of the eternal. Therefore, within our present frame of time, the best we can do is to accept the concept of eternal–by faith.”
The apostle John highlights the eternality of Christ in the opening verses of his Gospel. His words, “in the beginning…” do not refer to the beginning of Christ, but rather the beginning of time marked by the creation of the material universe. You see, “in the beginning, the Word was…”, that is, He pre-existed. John is declaring the eternal pre-existence of Christ [the Word]. John further states that Christ was with God, and in reality, He was God!
The second idea contained in this name is, Father. I don’t know what images the word father evokes in your mind. Some of that depends on your personal experiences with your earthly father. Sadly, many young people today, growing up in single-parent households headed by a mother, have no concept of fatherhood. We fathers have a tremendous responsibility to model for our children the character of our Heavenly Father, even in our imperfections.
In my experience, the word, father, immediately awakens certain memories of my childhood. Memories of my dad kneeling in prayer each day; playing softball with us in the farm pasture; memories of how hard he worked to provide for our needs; memories of how, twice, he rescued me from almost certain death. And though I know he needed to discipline me numerous times, there is only one time that I can actually recall the circumstances. My experiences gave me a concept of the fatherhood of God that included things like authority, responsibility, love, security, discipline, provision, commitment, and acceptance.
My dad has departed this world. I miss him, but I have the wonderful consolation of Jesus as my everlasting father, one who can never be taken away from me. And even if you did not have an earthly father worthy of emulation, you can have an everlasting father who will love you and care for you. His name is Jesus. He will never fail you, disappoint you, or walk out of your life. He is faithful, true, and steadfast! But He will also call you to account for your disobedience and discipline you as His child.
The Final CHARACTERISTIC is,
His Tranquility – Prince of Peace
It seems to me this name is purposely reserved until the end of the list. It is the crowning characteristic of all the others. Prince of peace–what do you picture in your mind as you repeat those words–prince of peace? I think of royalty, a prince is next in line for the throne. Yet prince can also mean the head person or one who is at the top of his profession–like Charles Spurgeon was referred to as “the prince of preachers.”
And then there’s the word, peace. The Hebrew word is, shalom. It is a word rich and full of meaning. It speaks of provision, safety, happiness, health, of favor, and more. Jesus is certainly the provider of all those things. But when I think of peace in the context of Jesus’ ministry, I think of the peace of mind and spirit that comes from knowing that my sins are forgiven; there’s nothing in my life that hinders fellowship with Him or others.
I recall my childhood and the early prompting of the Holy Spirit to abandon my sinful ways and surrender my will to Jesus. I remember my struggle with a load of guilt. I wanted relief, but I also wanted to run my own life, and be free to make my own decisions. I well remember the tremendous peace that flooded over me when I finally surrendered my will to His will.
And you know, that’s not the last time I’ve experienced that peace. As a follower of Christ, I can always tell when I’ve sinned. I lose that peace of knowing I’m in His will and favor. Many times, when that happens, I humble myself immediately, repent of my sin, claim the forgiveness Jesus offers, and the peace is restored. But other times, to my shame, I’ve resisted conviction, ignored the prompting of the Spirit, and carried the guilt for days, weeks, and even months. But oh, the relief when I finally humble myself and find cleansing, forgiveness, and – – peace!
The world you and I live in is filled with turmoil. What a glorious reality to have the assurance of peace, regardless of our circumstances. Just before Jesus went to the cross, he spoke about this peace to His disciples. In John 14:27, He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Praise God! Jesus, the Prince of Peace, provides us a peace that goes far beyond what the world gives. To the world, peace is simply the absence of strife. But the peace that Christ gives is a peace that surpasses our human intellect. The peace Jesus offers is not dependent on our circumstances. It is the settled assurance that God is in control of my life, and He is working out His plan through my circumstances. And because of that, I can be at peace. I can rest in the assurance that what He is doing in my life will eventually bring me to a better understanding of what peace really is.
So, who is Jesus? He is God incarnate in human flesh whose kingdom exists in the hearts of all who receive Him by faith. He is the Wonderful Counselor who can fully empathize with us in our struggles because He was tempted in every way just like we are. He is the Mighty God, the one who controls all things by the word of His power, and the one who limits all other powers.
He is the Everlasting Father, existing in eternity past and on into eternity future. He is a father who will never leave or forsake His children. And, He is the Prince of Peace, the one who will ultimately usher in a worldwide peace that will restore creation to its original state where mankind and the animals will live in peaceful coexistence. But that will only happen after God has punished the rebellious, the unbelieving, and the wicked during the Great Tribulation!
You can be a part of Jesus’ reign of peace, now and in the future time. But you must prepare today. You must acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son NOW. Contrary to the Jesus portrayed in the He Gets Us campaign, He is not just a good moral example for us to follow. He is the only One who can forgive sin and make us acceptable in the sight of His Father.
Because of that you must voluntarily bow before Him in surrender and worship NOW. If you refuse, someday you will be forced to do it against your will; but then, it will be too late. Instead of an eternity of peace and tranquility, you will have an eternity of torment and regret. I have shown you from the Scripture the answer to this question; “Who Is Jesus?” Now I urge you to receive the Son of God as your Savior and Lord – TODAY!