He Will Be Called: Finding Hope in the Names of Jesus
He Will Be Called: Finding Hope in the Names of Jesus
Emily Lupfer Guest Contributor
You’ve probably sung these names in Christmas songs, seen them sewn onto holiday pillows and hung up over nativity scenes. But how often do we consider what each of these names of Jesus actually mean?
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)
Long before Jesus was born, Isaiah’s prophecy gave the world a glimpse of who the Messiah would be: a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, an Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.
You’ve probably sung these names in Christmas songs, seen them sewn onto holiday pillows and hung up over nativity scenes. But how often do we consider what each of these names of Jesus actually mean? Let’s take a look at how Jesus embodies these four names and titles, both in the time he spent on earth and in our lives today.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/kevron2001
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. — John 1:5 (NLT)
A lot of people see a counselor to navigate life’s messy, and oftentimes dark, world. But even more than your favorite counselor (who even accepts your insurance!) — Jesus knows our human hearts and understands our needs. The Wonderful Counselor is the person you seek out when you’re looking for a miracle.
Jesus fulfilled the promise of being a Wonderful Counselor, and his earthly ministry is filled with examples. Take the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11. After being called out by Jesus, the religious leaders who were trying to condemn the adulterous woman all awkwardly slipped away and out of sight.
I’m sure the woman was filled with shame and embarrassment, wondering what Jesus would say or do next. Scripture tells us that instead of shaming or yelling at the woman, he did something unexpected: “Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:10-11, NIV).
As the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus helped the woman see things as they really were. Even though he didn’t condemn the woman, he also didn’t minimize her sin. Instead, he took her sin and brokenness and carried it to the cross, just like he does for each of us.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. — Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
When Jesus walked the earth he experienced a lot of what we do — including the incredibly relatable feeling of exhaustion. But when he was abruptly woken up, he didn't even need coffee before performing a miracle. For him, it was all in a day’s work.
In the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41, the disciples were traveling by boat with Jesus. They were hit by a terrible storm, and the terrified disciples woke Jesus up to ask him if he cared if they lived or died. In response, Jesus demonstrated his power and might by quickly calming the storm with just a few words.
The waves were calm, the birds were singing and the crisis had clearly been averted. It’s the natural end to the story, right? Not so fast! Consider the immediate reaction of the disciples: “‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him’” (Mark 4:41, NLT).
The disciples had seen Jesus perform miracles, but just like you and me, they still experienced moments when they lacked faith and doubted the truth of Jesus’ goodness and power. Their reaction reinforces the fact that this was a truly incredible sight to behold. It may have also been the moment when many of the disciples realized the true might and power Jesus had as the Son of God. And he’s such a Mighty God that he’s still with us in the midst of our own storms today.
But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. — Hebrews 12:10b (NLT)
Every friend group has that one maternal or paternal figure who provides snacks, gives advice and leads the way. And it was no different for Jesus and his community of disciples as they went through life together. The disciples looked to Jesus as more than a friend who would walk with them; they saw him as someone to lead them.
In John 9, Jesus and his disciples came across a man who was born blind. The disciples distanced themselves from the pain of the blind man and eagerly entered into a theological discussion about his condition. Why did this happen? What did he do wrong? They were quick to assign blame to someone for the situation: “Oh, it must be his parent’s fault!” Instead of stepping into discomfort, the disciples chose to step away from it. It was easier to assign blame from a distance.
But like a patient, caring Father, Jesus used the encounter as a teaching opportunity. He didn’t shame them for their invasive or insensitive questions; instead, he invited them to recognize God’s hand in the midst of the man’s circumstances.
The blind man’s vision loss wasn’t meant to be a punishment like the disciples assumed. In John 9:3 we learn that, “‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’” (NLT). In healing the blind man, Jesus taught the disciples a new theology that offers hope instead of blame.
Just like in this story, we see countless other examples of times that Jesus took on a fatherly role throughout the Gospels. He helped the disciples face their discomfort, led them by example and then let them live out what they had learned. Jesus continues to be the perfect example of a nurturing, caring Everlasting Father who guides us and teaches us truth in love.
Prince of Peace
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 (NLT)
In the best birth announcement of all time, the angels declared the arrival of the Prince of Peace to the shepherds by saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14, NLT).
Since the moment he came into our world, Jesus has been about peace. But we still often look for peace in the wrong places. Consider the two criminals who were crucified with Jesus. According to Luke’s Gospel, one of the criminals said to Jesus, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it” (Luke 23:39, NLT). He claimed that if Jesus changed his situation, he would believe. He looked at his present circumstance as a gauge for his peace.
The other criminal looked for peace in the right place. He realized he had found the Prince of Peace despite his circumstances and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom” (Luke 23:42, NLT). He knew Jesus would take responsibility for his peace and that real peace was independent of circumstances.
It’s only after we recognize our brokenness and sin that we can begin to experience true peace. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus’ desire is for us to focus on him and the permanent contentment that only he can bring.
Isaiah promised God’s people—who were under tremendous fear and stress—a baby. But he promised a baby unlike any other: a King that would rule in a way that was different than anyone could have anticipated.
As you look around at the world this holiday season, look for the light in spite of the darkness. Look for hope amid the bleak, cold nights. Look for the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. And there you’ll find Christmas.
Spread some love and encouragement this Christmas season to your friends, family and even missionaries serving around the world: wycliffe.org/christmascheer
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Kevron2001
Emily Lupfer is a writer for Wycliffe Bible Translators where she produces content to support Wycliffe’s vision for people from every language to be able to understand the Bible and be transformed. She also partners with churches, schools and other organizations to write scripts on a variety of topics, including telling stores that bring the Bible to life for young audiences. Based on the Book of Jonah, Emily co-wrote the original family rock musical “Jonah & The Wave Breakers” that was produced in 2019 to sold-out audiences. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in television production with a minor in creative writing from the University of Central Florida. She’s located in Orlando, Fla. where she enjoys all things theatre and playing with other people’s dogs.