Christmas Quiz: Which of the following counts as “Wonderful Counselor”?
A. Deanna Troi, from Star Trek: The Next Generation
B. Carl Jung, founder of analytical pyschology.
C. Jesus Christ, Savior.
D. All of the Above.
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I could see why you might be tempted to say “D”.
After all, Counselor Troi was a pretty valuable, if fictitious, addition to the crew of the Enterprise.
And Carl Jung (very much real!) made some amazing advances to understanding and treating the mind.
But of all the counselors in all the world, only Jesus can claim that phrase as a bestowed title.
It’s not just a description–it’s a name!
The answer is “C”.
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In Isaiah, chapter 9 we read these words:
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)
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Awesome words from Isaiah. We Christians look back at those words and see them as descriptive of Jesus.
There’s Prince of Peace and Mighty God, and even Everlasting Father.
I can see how those all fit.
But why “Wonderful Counselor?” What is that supposed to even mean?
Does that mean Jesus wants us to lie down on his couch and talk about our earliest memories?
Not exactly…it helps to look at the Hebrew behind the words.
The word we translate as “Wonderful” is a Hebrew word, pele. It’s a word only used to talk about God. It refers to something wonder-filled, that only God can do.
And the word for “Counselor” is yoetz. It means to advise, or guide. It’s less like our modern understanding of talk-therapy, and more like strategizing.
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When you put the two words together, a picture emerges of Jesus as:
Our Ultimate Guide.
Our Excellent Spiritual Advisor.
Our Wonderful Counselor.
Isaiah could have used all kinds of words and phrases to describe the Child who is to be born, but the Savior that he describes is the very one we desperately need.
Speaking of… if you’re feeling desperate this season, seek out some help. Sit down with someone and talk it out.
But this Advent journey is an invitation for everyone to make an appointment…
with the most Wonderful Counselor of all.
(He can see you right away.)
Have a Great Week,