Wonderful Counsellor (podcast) (Isaiah 9:6)

Why did the wonderful counsellor begin with the place that went dark first? Can his mediation resolve the violence and oppression to restore peace to God’s world?

From cards to cantatas, Isaiah 9:6 is part of Christmas. The child who is born, the son who is given is recognized with throne-names like Wonderful Counsellor.

What did wonderful counsellor mean in Isaiah’s time? How does it relate to Jesus?

This podcast explores Isaiah’s Wonderful Counsellor through the lens of Matthew’s Gospel. The light of the world began his work in the darkest place, that part of that land that had been lost to the nations first. From the darkest place, the authority of the Wonderful Counsellor rises as he leads the whole world back under God’s governance.

He is:

  • The Awesome Advisor, guiding his people in the Sermon on the Mount.
  • The Wonder-working Counsellor, resolving impossible problems such as lepers who were excluded from the community, and army officials who were part of the oppression.
  • The Astounding Administrator, not condemning his people to darkness but absorbing the violence in his own person on the cross, and rising with authority to lead the nations back into God’s reign.

So, what’s our place in his mission? How do we serve this Wonderful Counsellor?

This 30-minute podcast was recorded at Riverview Joondalup 2021-12-12.

Key texts

Isaiah 8:22–9:6 (NIV):

8 22 Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
9 1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan —
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.

Matthew 4:12–17 (NIV):

12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali — 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1994-2000):

403. [He] who gave marvellous advice or a marvel of a counsellor … who always knows what to do

928. One of the royal titles (throne names) of the Messiah, the one who plans a miracle, the miracle worker … a wonder of a counsellor

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Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview Church, Perth, Western Australia

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