We’re starting on a brand-new series entitled “The Light Has Come” as we rejoice in the first coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. However, there was a time in the world when it seemed as if there was no hope; and the prophet Amos foretold a time of spiritual famine when there would be no prophet in Israel and the people would literally be cut off from God's voice. He said in chapter 8, verse 11, speaking for the Lord:
"The days are coming, when I will send a famine through the land — not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
Many centuries later, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, broke that 400-year period of silence when he prophesied in Luke chapter 1 that …
“The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death…" (Luke 1:78-79).
Zechariah certainly compensated for his silence as he announced the coming of the Messiah; bringing light, life, and peace into the world. It was the dawn of a new day because of the tender mercies of God, the light was coming into a spiritually dark world. The people were sitting in darkness and death, distress gripped them, and the Bible describes their condition without Christ in Romans chapter 1 saying,
“Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21).
And so, darkness plagues the earth, because people refuse to come to the light. The light has come, but even today, unbelievers continue to live in darkness with frustration and futility as they attempt to find purpose without God. Day in and day out they seek to satisfy their fleshly appetites, they seek fulfillment, but they’re never satisfied. It’s only as they come into the light of Jesus Christ that people can see themselves as they really are; sinners who are sick and in need of a Savior. It’s as his light is allowed to penetrate the heart, that the darkness is chased away, sins are forgiven, and the death sentence is lifted. Jesus illuminates the path for those who trust him, they’ll never have to walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).
If you’ve found your place in your Bible, look at John chapter 3, verse 19; this is the theme behind this series and the apostle says,
“The light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…” (John 3:19-21).
The Light has come, yet darkness has a blinded mankind, Jesus’ identity is shrouded in mystery, his name beyond understanding, and still the Scriptures are full of vivid descriptions. From cover to cover, the Bible answers the question “Who is the Messiah, the Light of the world, this Savior Jesus?” The apostle John tells us,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1).
In the beginning, in Genesis, the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Creator God. In Exodus, he’s the Redeemer. In Leviticus, he’s your sanctification. In Numbers, he’s your guide. In Deuteronomy, he’s your teacher. In Joshua, he’s your conqueror. In Judges, he’s your victory. In Ruth, he’s your kinsman redeemer. In first Samuel, he’s the root of Jesse. In second Samuel, he’s the son of David. In first and second Kings, he’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. In first and second Chronicles, he’s your intercessor and high priest. In Ezra, he’s your temple. In Nehemiah, he’s your protector. In Esther, he stands in the gap to save you. In Job, he’s the arbitrator. In Psalms, he’s your song. In Proverbs, he’s your wisdom. In Ecclesiastes, he’s your purpose. In the Song of Solomon, he’s your lover. And in Isaiah, he’s everything you need. As a matter of fact, the description that God gives through the prophet Isaiah is so powerful and so beautiful that we’re just going to camp here for the next couple weeks. Isaiah says this in chapter 9 at verse 6:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…” (Isaiah 9:6).
The Spirit of the living God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, describes a son, a child that will be given, whose name will be the “Wonderful Counselor…” and I just want to stop there and focus on this name; because this name literally means beyond understanding, it’s too wonderful for words, and that’s what Isaiah was saying as he was describing the Messiah. He didn’t have words to describe him, because there were no words great enough, he’s just too wonderful for words.
You see, Jesus is your Wonderful Counselor, because he’s the one who knows you, he’s the one who cares for you, and he’s the one who knows exactly what you’re going through. This is how Jesus is described in Hebrews chapter 4, at verse 15, the author directed by the Holy Spirit said,
“We don’t have a high priest who’s unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus, our Savior, our Messiah, has been there and done that. He’s been through what we’re going through. He’s been tempted in every way just as we are. He understands your pain and your hurt, because he’s experienced life just as you have. That's why the Bible gives us this precious promise in Hebrews chapter 4, verse 16 says,
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
This is such good news, because at one time, or maybe multiple times, each one of us has found ourselves experiencing a time of significant need. And yet, the Scriptures tell us, that Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, is here to help us.
You see, when Jesus came, he came for those who were in need, he came for the sick. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that when Jesus called a tax collector named Matthew to be his follower, he caused quite an uproar, because everybody knew that tax collectors were corrupt and far from God. The Pharisees and teachers of the law questioned how Jesus could even hang out with sinners like these? Complaining in Luke chapter 5,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" “Jesus answered them, "It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:30-32).
And so, the question I want you to consider is, “Where are you sick?” “Where are you hurting?” You see, the good news is that our Wonderful Counselor Jesus came for the sick and the hurting. And so, I want to give you three principles that we need to embrace to experience the fullness, the completeness, and the entirety of healing that Jesus wants to bring into our lives today. The first one is that we need to be honest with Jesus.
We need to be honest, because truthfully so many of us are not. As a matter of fact, there’s a story in John’s gospel about a woman who’s like many of us. She’d gone through life, as most of us do, simply wanting to be loved and accepted. She thought as many of us do, that if she found the right person then life would have meaning. She made some bad choices just like many of us do and had gone through one relationship after another before eventually giving up on marriage and moving in with a guy. John tells us in chapter 4 that one day she encountered Jesus and was captivated by his compassion and understanding. She was having this deep conversation with him when he asked her a serious question. Now she could’ve done what many of us would’ve done in her situation and lied, but she told the truth and therefore Jesus was able to address her real spiritual need. In verse 16, Jesus told her,
"Go, call your husband and come back” (John 4:16).
“I’d like to talk to your husband too,” he said. Now she could’ve easily lied and said that he was away or that he wasn’t available, but she chose to be honest and in verse 17 she said,
"I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You’re right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re with right now is not your husband. What you’ve said is quite true" (John 4:17-18).
And so, because she was honest, maybe for the first time in a long time, Jesus was able to reveal his identity, that he was the one she’d been searching for and she was able to recognize him as the Living Water that she needed. And some of you here today may be in that same place; where you’re searching and searching, maybe you’ve prayed and prayed, and you’re not sure what the answer is anymore. Others of you, you may need to be honest about your marriage, maybe an addiction or your insecurity, but whatever it is you need to be honest with Jesus.
You see, he’s the Wonderful Counselor and so we need to learn to be honest about our sickness. There are some of you that just need to be brutally honest with Jesus today and say, “I need your help.” The Bible says it this way in first Peter,
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
We can cast our cares on the Wonderful Counselor because he will sustain us, he won’t let us fall, and he’ll never leave us nor forsake us. And so, the first thing is that we need to be honest with him, and then the second thing is we must learn to listen to him.
In fact, look at God’s advice to Jesus’ disciples, Mark chapter 9 tells us, verse two,
“Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah…” (Mark 9:2-6).
And so, here God did this incredible miracle, Jesus is changed before them into his heavenly Glory, these two ancient dead guys appeared, and the disciples are ready to build an altar and worship when God spoke. And here’s what God said in verse seven,
"This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (Mark 9:7).
God our Father said, “Listen to him!” And I’ll tell you, if there’s anything that God would say to the Church today, it’s listen to Jesus, listen to his voice, because the Bible tells us in Hebrews chapter 1,
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Now, you may say, “Well, how does Jesus speak?” And he speaks to us in many ways. He may speak to you through his Word in the Bible, he may speak to you through my words, or he may say something specifically to you. He may speak to you through the words of a song on the way home. He may speak to you through a daily devotion or a tough time, but if you listen you can train yourself to hear his voice. You see, Jesus said that you will know his voice. You will know the voice of your Wonderful Counselor. John chapter 10 records that Jesus said this in verse 27,
“My sheep listen to my voice…” (John 10:27).
He said, “I know them, and they follow me.” So, number one, we’ve got to be honest with the counselor, we’ve got to listen to him, and then number 3 above all, we must do what he says.
When he speaks we must do what he tells us to do, obeying even when we don't feel like it, even when we don’t understand, because we don’t want to quench the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us in first Thessalonians,
“Don’t put out the Spirit's fire” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
You see, because of disobedience, because of stubbornness, because of sin, we can silence the voice of God, we can quench the Holy Spirit, and we don’t want to do that. We want to do what he says and honestly sometimes Jesus will ask us to do things that just don't make sense in our natural minds, but the Bible says,
“Don’t treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-22).
And so, we need to test everything according to the Word of God, according to the will of God, because Jesus may ask you to do something that just doesn’t make sense, but you do what he says because he is your Wonderful Counselor.
In Mark chapter 10, there is an example of a guy who didn’t do what Jesus told him to do and it cost him more than he ever would’ve imagined. If this happened in our day, he’d be that guy who was all into his image, into all the stuff he had, but who wouldn’t fully surrender to Jesus because the things of this world were too important to him. The Bible says that Jesus had been teaching, and as he prepared to move on, verse 17 said,
“A man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus replied in verse 19,
“You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy” (Mark 10:19-20).
Jesus looked at him, he saw this guy’s sickness, he saw his sin, he knew his love for the things of this world, and verse 21 says,
“Jesus looked at him and he loved him…” (Mark 10:21).
And because he loved him he told him something he didn’t want to hear. And sometimes, because Jesus loves you he may tell you something that you need to hear, but you don’t want to hear either. You know, maybe you feel safe and comfortable, but he’s asking you to change, to get out of that relationship, because he loves you. Or maybe you’ve made some bad decisions, the consequences are going to hurt and you don’t want to hear that, but he’s going to tell you because he loves you. Others of you, you’ve got some secrets, and he’s going to tell you to get it out in the open, to be real, because he loves you. He is the Wonderful Counselor, and so Jesus looked at this guy, he loved him, and look at what he said in the last part of verse 21,
"One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Mark 10:21).
In other words, Jesus said, “Go sell your house, your cars, your clothes, all your stuff. Go sell it all.” And then, verse 22 says,
“At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Mark 10:22).
Disheartened by these words, he went away sorrowful, because he had great possessions. He was unwilling to do what Jesus said. He was unwilling to obey the words of the Wonderful Counselor. And this morning, if you and I are not willing to do what he tells us to do, we’ll continue to live an unfulfilled life breaking the heart of God. When the Wonderful Counselor speaks, you need to do what he says to do, because his name is Jesus, he is our Wonderful Counselor, and he’s so wise, so powerful, so full of understanding that there aren’t even words to describe him. As we close, I want to encourage you to be honest with him, to listen to him, and do what he says.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
November 26, 2017
Graphics, notes, and commentary from LifeChurch, Ministry Pass, Preaching Library, and PC Study Bible.
Scripture from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.