Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor and the Mighty God, if you believe John the Baptist as he quotes Isaiah 9 (Matthew 4:15-16). How is this “wonderful might” shown to us? John tells us in chapter one of his gospel that Jesus is “the Word” of God. This Word is spoken wisdom and spoken power. How? John tells us that when the counsel of Jesus flowed into existence, things that had not existed came to be. That is power.

And yet, Jesus never acted on his own; he is always working in complete unity with his Father and with the Spirit. In fact, understanding Jesus’ power requires that we reckon with the power of God the Father, because Jesus said that he never did anything that his Father didn’t tell him to do; that he only did the things his Father did (John 5). We can say that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor because he said only the things that God the Father told him and empowered him to say. We can call him Mighty God because he did only the things that God the Father told him and empowered him to do. In other words, God was perfectly and completely in Jesus, and Jesus was perfectly and completely obedient to and in God.

That is his wisdom: perfect understanding of God’s will. That is his might: perfect submission to God’s will. This is what Christians are after. Yet we must understand something vital:  as Tom Skinner has said, “The Christian life is not about you holding onto God. The Christian life is about God holding onto you” (Words of Revolution p. 129). I believe that this is what Paul the Apostle is getting at when, at the end of Romans chapter 7, he does the “I do what I don’t want to do” dance, and then ends up…sounding a little bit out of breath…saying, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25). I want perfect understanding…I want perfect submission; but Christians have only one hope (and that’s where we get the name!!): Jesus Christ!

WHICH IS WHY it was so disappointing to see “evangelical Christians” falling all over themselves to smother our president with praise for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this past week. Yeah…I’m coming back around to that (listen to the sermon). Listen, if you think that was a good idea, fine. If you consider our nation’s relationship to Israel to be that important; you see the political, military, economic, etc. value of that move and you are pumped—great! We want Christians engaged with what’s happening in the world and I’m glad you understand that stuff and have a strong opinion. BUT…if you believe, as many of these so-called “evangelical” leaders do, that Jerusalem is “sacred” (Paula White), the “affection” of the church, and the “touchstone of prophecy” (Robert Jeffress), you have missed the point of the coming of Christ.

First of all, if you think Jerusalem is holy, there is only one who is holy, and that is Jesus. The demon whom Jesus confronts in Mark 1 even knew that: “I know who you are: the Holy One of God!” It is only because of Jesus’ singular holiness that his people, the Church, can be called “holy.” Furthermore, when Jesus confronts the theology of the Samaritan woman as she observes that there are competing “holy places,” one in Samaria and one in Jerusalem, Jesus implies that neither of these places are holy; and one of them is Jerusalem (John 4). Peter the apostle tells us that when we are in Christ, we are a “holy nation.” This has nothing to do with maps and leaders on the world scene. This is a spiritual reality that trumps (heh) the physical. So a Palestinian Christian can legitimately and boldly say: “the borders of the city of Jerusalem do not make that piece of land holy, but my belonging to Jesus Christ as his chosen son makes me holy!” Amen and amen! That’s wisdom and power!

Secondly, Jesus is our only “stone” of prophecy; scripture calls him the cornerstone (1 Peter 2:7-8). Jesus is the “touchstone” of prophecy: the purpose and the end of all things are wrapped up in his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and reign at God the Father’s right hand. All the promises of God, find their “yes” in him (2 Corinthians 1:20), and he fulfilled all of the Old Testament laws and prophecies (Matthew 5:17). My man was not joking when he said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). It’s a wrap. It’s done. We don’t look for empires, we don’t look for kings, we don’t look for states, nations, capitals, or thrones. We look for the Wonderful Counselor and the Mighty God.

And we find him in Jesus no matter where borders get drawn on a map and no matter who is elected. Rest in Christ!!

Merry Christmas New City Fellowship!!

Pastor Chris