Meaningful Names (01-12-22)
A Bible Reading: Isaiah 9. 2, 6 - 7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
When we were choosing names for our children, we chose them with great care. Not only did we consider the names we liked, but we also looked up their meanings. There was also consideration given to their lineage, so their middle names give some indication of whose children they are: Thomas David, Anna Helen, and Rachel Frances (David’s Granny Bent was called Frances).
Throughout the Bible, we are reminded of the meaning of people’s names; for example, Asher means ‘happy’ and David means ‘beloved of God’. Although I feel rather sorry for Ichabod, whose name means ‘the Glory has departed from Israel’ (see 1 Samuel 4.21).
We will hear today’s reading numerous times during December at the various Carol Services. The reading focuses on the names of Jesus. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. As the gospel narratives unfold, we will have glimpses of these characteristics in Jesus’ life.
Jesus, the Wonderful Counsellor, astounded the teachers of the law from the early age of twelve, asking questions and discussing the scriptures with them in the Temple. He later confounded their trick questions with wise and profound answers. He also gave sound advice to those struggling in life.
Jesus, the Mighty God, demonstrated his lineage and God-man status by forgiving sins (only God can do this), healing the sick, and raising the dead. His own death and resurrection stand at the heart of the Christian message, and we await his second coming in glory to confirm his kingdom rule.
Jesus, the Everlasting Father, begs the question how can the son be the father? Jesus upset the scribes and Pharisees by telling them: ‘Before Abraham was born, I am’ (John 8.58), a direct assertion that he is God. And later in John’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that he and the Father are one, part of the mystery of the Trinity that we may never fully understand.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, frequently speaks words of peace during his ministry and finally suffers death on the cross to bring us everlasting peace (see Isaiah 53.5) Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. We look forward to heaven where there is no more pain, no more death, no more tears, only everlasting peace and harmony.
As we hear the familiar Christmas readings again, listen out for these and other names of Jesus. How many more can you identify?
A Prayer Lord Jesus, Saviour and friend, help us to understand more fully who you are this Advent and Christmas.
Wonderful Counsellor by Andy Irons, Resound Worship,