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Why Is Jesus Called Wonderful Counselor?

We talk a lot about Jesus being the messiah, about him being the prince of peace, but we often forget he's also called "wonderful counselor." What does it mean that he is our wonderful counselor?

Contributing Writer
Updated Aug 25, 2022
Why Is Jesus Called Wonderful Counselor?

The book of Isaiah calls Jesus a “Wonderful Counselor.” What is the meaning of this title? What does it mean for Christians today? Let’s take a deeper look at the verse in context and explore how Jesus served as a Wonderful Counselor to people in the Bible to understand this name better.

Where Does the Bible Call Jesus Wonderful Counselor?

In the book of Isaiah, Jesus is called Wonderful Counselor when the prophet writes about the coming Christ. Isaiah 9:6 says, “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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Earlier in the book, Isaiah paints a bleak picture of humanity, its sinful ways, and impending judgment. However, in the middle of the book, the prophet describes how Jesus’ birth will remedy the situation.

One of Jesus’s descriptions is “wonderful counselor.” Matthew Henry explains, “Justly is he called wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints; in his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, he was wonderful. A constant series of wonders attended him, and, without controversy, great was the mystery of godliness concerning him.”  Henry further states that Jesus, being counseled by God, gives great counsel to his people. He cares about our welfare and holds extraordinary wisdom. We can consult him, and he directs our paths.

 John Barnett tells us a little more about the Hebrew word used for ‘wonderful’ in this passage.

“The Hebrew word pala [‘Wonderful’] indicates ‘something uncommon or out of the ordinary.’ It reflects ‘a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; that which is separated from the normal course of events; something that cannot be explained.’ And that is our Almighty and inexplicable Jesus!

The second part of this compound description of the coming Messiah is Counselor. In its historical Hebrew usage, the word is used to picture a king giving counsel to his people. To that end, Micah declared the dilemma of the captives in Babylon this way, ‘Now why do you cry aloud? Is there no king in your midst? Has your counselor perished?’ (Micah 4:9)

Some have separated these two but the Old Testament Hebrew Bible puts them together. Isaiah defines this graphic title:

Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 28:29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts, Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.

True wisdom from the wonderful counselor knows that: In weakness is strength; surrender is victory and death is life.”

Taken from "The Fourth Glory of Christmas – His Name" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).

How Does Wonderful Counselor Relate to the Other Titles in Isaiah 9:6?

The other titles given to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 describe him as “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” The wonders of Christ include his mighty power. During his time on the earth, he healed the sick, made the blind see, and the lame walk. Jesus has that same mighty power today. There is nothing he can’t do. His wonders also include his resurrection. He rose from the dead to be everlasting, sitting at the father’s right hand for eternity. Additionally, our great counselor gives us great peace. He creates peace in his kingdom and within the hearts of his followers.

How Did Jesus Serve as a Wonderful Counselor to People?

The book of John tells how Jesus counseled people, including Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the paralyzed man by the pool. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. This group was known for being legalistic, and following all the laws, but not necessarily for the right reasons. One night Nicodemus approached Jesus, saying he knew he came from God because of the miracles he performed. Jesus explained that to see the kingdom of God, and people need to be born again. Being born again confused Nicodemus, and he asked how an older person could reenter their mother’s womb. Jesus explained being born again by the Spirit and that everyone who believes in him will receive eternal life. It is in this passage that we find perhaps Jesus’s most well-known counsel:

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:13-16).

Jesus also counseled a Samaritan woman by the well (John 4:1-30). This woman arrived in the middle of the day. With a sinful past, she came to get water at noon, possibly avoiding the gossip and condescending looks of the women who usually traveled in groups in the morning. Jesus asked for a drink which surprised her since Jews didn’t usually associate with Samaritans. Jesus told her about the living water, his Spirit, that would never run out. Unlike the world’s water, receivers of the living water wouldn’t grow thirsty again. When the woman asked for the living water, Jesus brought up the fact she had had five husbands, and the man she was living with was not her husband. He surprised the woman by not only knowing her past but also revealing he was the Messiah. She told other Samaritans the news, and more people became saved through her testimony.

Thirdly, Jesus counseled a paralyzed man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:6-9). Historically disabled people gathered near the pool in hopes of being healed. Observers waited for an angel to come to stir the pool. It was thought that the first one in the water afterward would be healed. In John 5, Jesus approached a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. While it’s unclear exactly how many of those years he had been waiting by the water. We know that he was there for a while. Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. He replied he did, and Jesus told him to get up and walk. In an instant, the man was healed and able to walk into the water.

How Is Jesus Our Wonderful Counselor Today?

Jesus wasn’t only a Wonderful Counselor during his 33 years on the earth. Since Jesus is alive today, he still acts as our Wonderful Counselor. When he died, he sent the Holy Spirit to live within believers. This Spirit, being one with God, guides and helps his people today.

1. He gives us the strength to take action. Jesus told the woman at the well and the man by the pool to take action. Jesus came to both of them in their broken state. They had been living that way for so long—thirty-eight years for the man and enough time for the woman to go through five husbands. We could argue they couldn’t overcome their pain on their own. 

Something kept the woman in a destructive cycle of relationships, and the man couldn’t physically walk. Like the wonderful counselor he is, Jesus told them what action to take and gave them the strength to do it. The woman who came to the well alone in the heat of midday goes to the town to tell others about Jesus. The lame man stands and walks. Jesus gives us the same strength to take action today. He might not be standing beside us at a well or pool, but his Spirit is with us always, guiding our next steps.

2. He knows all things.

Biblical counselors strived to advise the king, but they didn’t know everything. They only had enough knowledge as humanly possible. As followers of Jesus, we have access to the Wonderful Counselor who knows all and happens to be the king himself. 

God is omniscient and all-knowing. With his help, we can step out and make decisions. When he leads, we don’t have to worry if he has our best intentions at heart or if he knows what he’s doing. He’s written the story from the very beginning. While the story can get murky in the middle, we know it has a great ending.

3. He doesn’t have office hours. Most earthly counselors have office hours. There’s a time they’re open and available and a time they’re closed. Clients must make appointments and can only come in when the counselor is available. If someone else is in the office, the person needs to wait. Jesus doesn’t have office hours. He’s always available. 

He’s even available when he’s talking to someone else. How this attribute function is beyond human understanding, but we never have to worry if our Great Counselor is busy or off duty. Whenever we call, he will come. And sometimes, he even comes to find us.

Jesus is truly our Wonderful Counselor. He served people during his time on earth and still guides his followers today. Jesus isn’t tied to the constraints of humanity. He knows the plan, can give us extraordinary strength to carry it out, and is always with us. Next time you feel you need counsel, call out to Jesus. He’s right there, ready to take your hand and show you the way.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Image/Studio-Annika

Jenna Brooke Carlson

Jenna Brooke Carlson is an elementary dual language teacher in the Chicago suburbs. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Word Weavers, she enjoys spending time with other writers and perfecting her craft. Her debut novel, Falling Flat, spreads the message that healing can occur, even after tragedy. Along with writing, she’s pursuing her dreams of creating a community of brave young women, who she can encourage to live out their dreams amid challenges and imperfection. Her days are busy, but she’s determined she can conquer anything with a fuzzy blanket and a hot cup of tea. To find out more about Jenna, visit her website at jennabrookecarlson.com.

This article is part of our Christian Terms catalog, exploring words and phrases of Christian theology and history. Here are some of our most popular articles covering Christian terms to help your journey of knowledge and faith:

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