By the late Dr. Jack MacArthur, Voice of Calvary
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6
Nearly 2,000 years ago a Jewish maiden went down into the mysterious land of motherhood and came back with a child. And it has well been said, to this child was given a name that blossoms on the pages of history like the flowers of a thousand spring times in the confines of a single garden. It is a name that echoes and re-echoes down the corridors of time like the music of a thousand choruses, visible and invisible, rising in crescendo, a glorious anthem. A name that adorns the record of the centuries like the splendor of a thousand monuments, built of the purest of precious stones. A name that is grander and greater and more glorious and more meaningful than all the other names of the world. And when this child became a man, behold what manner of man He was!
He had none of the usual advantages. His parents were poor. He never recruited an army. He never conquered a kingdom. He never owned any real estate. He never wrote a book. He never founded an institution of higher learning. He never painted a picture. He never composed any music. He was mocked and scorned by the great, and died the death of a common criminal. And yet, this peerless person has literally revolutionized the civilized world, and whatever semblance of civilization there is left in this thermonuclear bomb-threatened world in the midst of its night of darkness, unbelief and sin, is solely and only because of Him and because of His presence.
Jesus Christ Is the World’s
Who was this Man? By what name shall we know Him? Of names He had abundance – one for every day of our calendar year. Perhaps the loveliest name of all came when the angel said to Joseph … thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). And yet, He was vastly more than any one of His many names.
Over 356 titles are given to Jesus in the Holy Book, all of which describe some phase or characteristic of His glorious person and work. Some of these names are Emmanuel, the Savior, the Lamb of God, the Light of the World, the Lily of the Valley, the Alpha and Omega, the Great Physician, the Son of God.
But Isaiah, writing 740 years before His birth, called Him “Wonderful.” Now the word “wonderful” suggests something out of the ordinary – something uncommon, mysterious, marvelous, and amazing. How fitting that this name should be given to this little babe born over 1,900 years ago in a stable, in a manger, under the light of the Eastern sky. In Isaiah 9:6 we find five superlatives given to Christ … His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The Wonder of His Birth
His birth was heralded as no other. For 4,000 years God had been announcing through His holy prophets the fact of His coming. Through Abraham God revealed a nation through which our Lord would come (Genesis 18:18). Through Jacob God revealed that He would be of the ancestry of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Through Isaiah was made known the particular family into which He would be born, the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). To Micah, God whispered the name of the place where He would be born (Micah 5:2). Through Daniel He made known the time of His birth (Daniel 9:25). Isaiah painted a picture of the Savior’s cross so realistically that one would almost think he stood at the foot of Golgotha (Isaiah 53:3-11).
His birth was honored as no other. It is true that He was born amid poverty and shame. It is true that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Yet an angel came down from Heaven to herald His praise and a multitude of heavenly hosts chanted in adoration.
His birth was hated as no other. Satan did all that he could to prevent Christ from coming to the world and failing thus, he sought to slay the child as soon as he learned of His presence in the world.
It was a holy birth. Jesus had but one human parent. He was the earthly child of a heavenly Father and the heavenly child of an earthly mother. It is because He is the fusion of humanity and deity that He is also the sinless spotless Savior of mankind.
The Wonder of His Condescension
His birth was wonderful in its condescension. Someone has well said that if men had arranged His birthplace they might have chosen a palace, but God chose a barn. Men might have prepared silken robes, but God chose the swaddling clothes of a poor peasant. Men might have chosen choice perfumes and spices, but God came in the malodors of a stable. Jesus Christ was born in the midst of conditions of sanitation that would not be tolerated by any community today. Think of it! The Prince of Glory could not find room even in the Bethlehem boarding house. He had to be born in a cave.
The Wonder of His Character
Think of the wonder of His absolutely perfect life and character. There is not a perfection of character of which we can think that is not to be found in Him and to be found in its fullness. He stands out alone and aloft, absolutely peerless.
The Wonder of His Person
He was so human that He grew weary and tired, but He was so divine He could say, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). He was so human that He knew what it was to be hungry, but He was so divine that He took five loaves and two fish and fed the multitude. He was so human that He knew the pangs of thirst. He was so divine that He could say, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink (John 7:37). He was so human that He felt the need of prayer, but so divine that in all of His praying there is no confession of sin. He was so human that He had to sleep, but He was so divine that He arose from His sleep and stilled the storm. The boisterous waves settled into quietness like a sleeping child (Mark 4:39).
He was so human that He wept. He was so divine that He stood at the grave and could call the dead to life (John 11:43). He was so human that He grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52), but He is so divine that He upholdeth all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). He was so human that He died of a broken heart (John 19:34), but He was so divine that He burst the bands of death and arose triumphant over death and hell and the grave (Matthew 28:1-10). Oh, the unspeakable wonder of His peerless person!
The Wonder of His Word
When the officers of the law went out to arrest Him, they came back without Him, and they excused themselves by saying, Never man spake like this man (John 7:46). His words were historically true, scientifically true, and every statement that He ever made bears the searchlight of science. His words were ethically true. The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, compared with the bibles of heathens, are like comparing insupportable stupidity to verified knowledge.
There are no moral loopholes in the teaching of Jesus Christ. His ethical teachings are true and applicable to every age. His words were prophetically true, and all that has not yet been fulfilled will be fulfilled, for He said, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35). He spoke with authority. There was no vagueness, no question mark, no hesitancy about His words, and yet He spoke with simplicity.
Among the teachers of the world and the philosophies of men, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ stand out all alone in their glory like the blazing sun compared to the flickering wick of tapering candles.
The Wonder of His Influence
Of the millions who have ever been born, Christ was the only one whom Satan failed to subdue, sin failed to stain, death failed to destroy, and the grave failed to grasp. Over His cross in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, was the contemptuous inscription, Jesus, the King of the Jews. Culture, religion, and power united to deride Him.
Though Greek, the language of culture, is dead; and Hebrew, the language of religion, is dead, and Latin, the language of power, is dead, Jesus lives on! He who hath an ear can hear His footsteps as He marches down the corridor of time. He is the most influential person who ever lived. Everything requiring a date comes from Him.
The Wonder of His Resurrection
When His body was laid in the grave, Pilate gave orders at the request of the Pharisees to seal the sepulcher. He said, Make it as sure as you can (Matthew 27:62-66), and they did, but thank God, He burst asunder the bonds of death, shook off the strong shackles of the grave, crushed the head of sin, triumphed over the king of terrors, and became the first begotten from the dead.
The Wonder of His Coming Again
His is not a mere memory in a Palestinian tomb, for He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25), and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous (I John 2:1). And one day He will amaze this world, for He is coming again.
It is written: Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him (Revelation 1:7). It is written that the kings of earth and great men, and rich men, and chief captains and mighty men, and every free man will hide themselves in the dens, and the rocks, and the mountains, and say to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us to hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.”
But for His own children, He tells us, Beloved, now are we athe sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (I John 3:2).
The Wonder of His Saving Power
The greatest wonder of all is this: that this wonder-working Savior is my own personal Savior. Through His blood, I am cleansed from all sin; through Him, I have access to the Father; through Him, one of these days I shall sweep through the gates, washed in the blood of the Lamb.
A passenger of one of the great trains going westward was observed to exclaim every few moments the word “wonderful.” He would feel the plush on the seats, look out the window, at the passengers – at everything. It drew from him the same exclamation, “Oh, it is wonderful!” Curiosity got the better of a fellow passenger and he inquired what all this meant.
The man replied, “Until a few days ago I was blind from birth, but a great physician recently performed a delicate operation that gave me my sight, and now everything looks wonderful to me – the landscape, the passengers, and yes, even these seats look wonderful!”
And when the Great Physician touches our blind eyes so that we see, does not everything take on a new appearance because we have seen Him? His name shall be called Wonderful!
Editor’s Appeal: You have read this blessed message by Dr. Jack MacArthur. If you are a Christian your heart surely has been warmed with renewed spiritual love and thanks. Please renew your vows to the dear Savior and decide now to point others to the Lord. If, on the other hand, you are not a Christian, but you are very interested. I urge you to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior right now. Turn to Him. Don’t leave this page without trusting Him fully. Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Here is a link that will give you further instruction on salvation. Oh, friend, please follow up on this important matter. http://salvationlinks.com/you-can-know-for-sure/)
Note: This message by Dr. Jack MacArthur was published in The Biblical Evangelist edited by Dr. Robert L. Sumner. Dr. Sumner granted permission to reprint this wonderful message here in Salvation Links. Dr. Sumner was friends with Dr. MacArthur and has published many of his fine sermons over the years. Dr. Sumner’s web site: http://www.biblicalevangelist.org/