“You shall call his name Jesus,” said the angel to Joseph (Matthew 1:21). The name of Jesus means “Yahweh saves” – that brings great hope to his people. Isaiah also predicted Jesus’ name: “his name shall be called…” The four names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 give us great hope and joy!
Names of Jesus: Wonderful Counselor
If you’re used to Handel’s Messiah or the King James Version of the Bible, you might be surprised to see that “Wonderful Counselor” is one title, not two. Actually, all four names of Jesus in this verse are two-word phrases. That phrase pattern is a little poetic device to add beauty to the text.
The word “wonderful” conveys a powerful meaning here. Today, we say “wonderful” about just about anything. That dessert is wonderful. That book was wonderful. That concert was wonderful. You did a wonderful job. But “wonderful” means so much more in Isaiah 9:6 than just “wow, I really liked that!” It actually means “miraculous!” That’s how Jeremiah uses this word:
Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
~ Jeremiah 32:17
Jeremiah’s point is that if God could create the world with his power, nothing else is too miraculous for him to accomplish!
But what does Jesus’ miraculous power mean for us? To answer that question, let’s look at the word “counselor.” This word doesn’t refer to a guidance counselor or therapist. “Counselor” means “military strategist.” In other words, Jesus is a lot more like the Secretary of the Army in the President’s Cabinet than your college advisor. Samuel uses this same word to describe the military counsel that Ahithophel gave to King David and his son Absalom:
Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
~ I Samuel 16:23
When we combine those two words into a single title, we see who Jesus is. He is the one who has mind-blowing ability to strategize for you in the battles you face. That means we don’t have to worry about our struggles and how they’ll end. We have a miraculous strategist on our side. It also means we don’t need to manipulate our own solutions to our problems. We can rest in the awe-inspiring wisdom of our Wonderful Counselor!
Names of Jesus: Mighty God
The title “Mighty God” points us at his strength. The word “mighty” is used throughout the Bible to describe valiant warriors:
So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor.
~ Joshua 10:7
But Jesus is not merely a human warrior; he is God! Take whatever comfort you’d get from knowing that you had a mighty warrior fighting for you and multiply by a million. Your defender is divine!
It’s so easy to get caught up in “self-defense” – not martial arts for protection, but the kind of bickering and pettiness that we run to when we feel like our reputation is under attack. Ironically, many people face this problem the most around the holidays when families come together and strife is amplified. If you feel like you’re weighted down under the anxiety of defending your own reputation and sticking up for yourself this season, take comfort in the names of Jesus. He is your divine defender!
Names of Jesus: Everlasting Father
Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1) and he’s our brother (Romans 8:29), but he’s also an Everlasting Father. (Isn’t it awesome that no single image captures him completely? We can mix overlapping metaphors all day and still not fully demonstrate everything he is to us!) As our Father, Jesus does two things for us: he provides and he protects.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
~ Matthew 6:31-32
Jesus will provide all that we need. We occasionally need to sort the differences between wants and needs (just children do as they write Christmas lists!), but we have a Savior who provides for us. His provision gives us great cause for gratitude!
Jesus will also protect us when we are in danger. This aspect of fatherly love flows right out of our confidence from the previous names of Jesus. Remember, he is also a miraculous strategist and divine defender. However, it’s much more than just cunning and brute strength. A father protects out of love, not merely duty or vocation. As the Psalmist wrote,
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
~ Psalm 103:13-14
Jesus is our source of caring provision and loving protection – forever. He’s not just an awesome father; he’s an everlasting father! That inspires us to confident trust today, tomorrow, and every day.
Names of Jesus: Prince of Peace
We usually think of a prince as the king’s young son. In the Bible, however, “prince” was often a job title, not a royal family title. Princes often ruled over regions, cities, or wealthy households. Princes served as governors and managers over their areas of oversight.
As the one who governs and manages the world, Jesus accomplishes something specific. He brings peace. Isaiah describes the government of peace that Jesus brings. Read his description in Isaiah 65:17-25.
The peace (“shalom”) that Jesus brings is so much more than just the absence of conflict. “Shalom” means that everything is exactly the way that it should be. We live in a broken world that isn’t just like God created it to be. Jesus will govern the world and restore it to God’s original intended design. Everything will be exactly the way that it should be. That is the ultimate future that we confidently expect and eagerly await!
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
~ Isaiah 26:2
These names of Jesus have been a source of joy to Audrey and me this Christmas season. We’re so excited to offer a new print of this verse in our store!