December 21, 2017
READ: Isaiah 9:1-7
For a child is born to us . . . and he will be called: Wonderful Counsellor (v.6).
In the well-loved comic strip Peanuts, Lucy sets up her makeshift office and advertises that she will dispense advice for a small charge. Then Charlie Brown approaches and tells her how he feels overlooked and unimportant. When he finishes describing his sense of isolation, the unconcerned ‘counsellor’ flippantly gives him the simplistic solution to “go make some friends”, and then tries to collect her fee. Ouch.
When we bring our problems and concerns to Jesus, the outcome is very different. Nearly 750 years before Christ was born, Isaiah predicted that the coming Messiah would be called the Wonderful Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6).
A good counsellor knows how to get to the core of a problem and ways to resolve it. Because Jesus had a complete understanding of human nature (John 2:24-25), during His earthly ministry He was able to help a woman see that her splintered love life was a result of seeking satisfaction she could only find in Him (4:14-18). Jesus also diagnosed the Pharisees’ false piety as a symptom of their self-centredness (Matthew 23:1-7). And when His disciples began to argue over who was the most important, He knew their thoughts and led them to humility (Luke 9:46-48).
The point of Jesus’ ministry of counselling—both in His earthly ministry and in our lives today—is peace. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom, refers to much more than temporary relief from problems. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus helps us to find harmony with God and others. He’s our advocate when we sin (1 John 2:1-2). He also helps our relationships to flourish as we extend His grace and love to others.
We can trust Jesus to guide us towards the path of healing. No one understands and loves us like He does!
365-day plan: James 3:1-12
Read Psalm 32:7-9 and savour its depiction of God’s tender guidance and care in our lives.
What problems in your life could be symptoms of a greater underlying issue? In what struggles might the Spirit be prompting you to seek support and healing?