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His Name Shall Be Wonderful

Per Kind Permission from MASIHI ISHA'AT KHANA
Lahore - Pakistan

Did you ever hear of anyone by the name of Wonderful? We meet people daily who have meaningful and sometimes beautiful names, and now and then we hear of names that are strange and unsuitable.  But I have never in my life met anyone named Wonderful and I have never seen in any of the books of history or fiction which I have read a reference to anyone who was called by this name…with one exception.

In a very old book written by Isaiah the Prophet, who lived about 2,700 years ago, we find the prediction of the coming of a very great king whose name will be "Wonderful." Isaiah writes: "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon His is shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful…of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Who is this person who will rule forever on the throne of David, and whose name will be called Wonderful? He is no other than Jesus Christ who was born about 750 years after the time of Isaiah and who, through his mother, was a descendant of David the King.

He was often called Son of David, and was the most wonderful person who has ever lived on earth. Let us consider some of the wonderful things in the life and work of this great person which show that he alone deserves to be given the name WONDERFUL.

    All the people who have been born from the time of Adam to the present day have had both mothers and fathers, but Jesus Christ had no human father. He is often called Son of Mary, because he was born of Mary who was a pure virgin. This amazing birth of Jesus was in accordance with another prediction of Isaiah and quoted by Matthew. "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son" (Matthew 1:23). It was also in accordance with the word of the Angel Gabriel to Mary when he announced the birth of Jesus: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God." (Luke 1:35). Is there anyone else who has entered the world in this wonderful way?
    Many of the prophets such as David, Isaiah, Micah, Daniel, etc., who foretold the coming of Christ stated that he would be born in Bethlehem and referred to his miracles, his sufferings, his death for sinners, his resurrection, and his unending rule. There have never been so many and such wonderful prophecies written in the Holy Scriptures about any other person who has ever been born.
    Many good men have lived on earth but when we study their lives carefully we see that the holier they were the more conscious they were of their sinfulness, and therefore, the more earnestly they prayed to God to forgive them. But Jesus never asked for God's forgiveness for he never once committed a sin or disobeyed God. On one occasion he said to his enemies, "Which of you convicts me of sin?" (John 8:46). Not only was Jesus sure that there was no sin in him, but also his apostles who had lived close to him for three years and knew him intimately, testify that their Master was without sin. For example, Peter writes: "(Christ) committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten" (1 Peter 2:22-23). And in another place in the Holy Bible it is written, "(Jesus is) holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). Is it not wonderful that in this evil world there has been one man who never needed to repent or ask God to forgive him?
    Every good man hates evil and every pure man loathes anything unclean. And since Jesus Christ was himself sinless it is certain that he hated sin. Therefore, it would have been reasonable if he had removed himself as far as possible from sinners. But in fact the very opposite was true! Instead of avoiding sinners he associated with them, ate and talked with them, telling them of God's love for them, and when they repented of their sins, he received them with open arms. When the religious people criticized him for doing this, he said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). So his enemies called him "the friend of sinners." Is it not wonderful that the person who has loved sinners more than anyone else is the purest man who ever lived?
    None of the great prophets whom God sent into the world had authority to forgive the sins of men. But when a sinner who was paralyzed was brought to Jesus Christ for healing, Christ first forgave and then healed him. At once some of the religious teachers who were present accused Christ of blasphemy, saying that only God could forgive sins. Christ replied that he had authority on earth to forgive men's sins, and he at once proved his authority by also healing the sick man. In the same way he forgave a sinful woman who came to him asking for forgiveness. What wonderful authority he had to do God's work on earth!
    Though Moses and Elijah and some other prophets had the power to perform miracles, no one ever performed so many and so great miracles as Christ. He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, gave sight to the blind, cast out evil spirits, stilled the stormy sea, and even raised the dead to life. Not only did he do these wonderful miracles himself, but he gave power to his apostles to heal the sick and raise the dead. When his disciples saw him calm the sea during a heavy storm they marveled. It is no wonder that they were amazed, for he was indeed a wonderful person.
    When the people of Christ's day heard him speak they were amazed and said, 
    "Where did this man get this wisdom?" Listen to some of his wonderful sayings:
    "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)
    "Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)
    "If anyone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:39)
    "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)
    "Whatever you wish that men would do to you do so to them." (Matthew 7:12)
    "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave." (Matthew 20:26-27)
    "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
    "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another even as I have loved you." (John 13:34)
    When we hear these wonderful words we are also amazed and we say what some who heard Christ long ago said, "No man ever spoke like this man!"
    Any doctor who cures the sick may rightly accept payment from his patients and many doctors have thus become rich men. In the same way Jesus might have accepted gifts of gold or houses or lands from the people he healed, some of whom were wealthy. Many were no doubt eager to express in a suitable way their deep thankfulness to their Savior. But as far as we know Jesus Christ never accepted any payment or any gift from those he had healed. Not only did he refuse gifts, he also refused a crown. For when he fed a great crowd of more than 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish the people wanted to seize him and make him their king, but he would not accept, for his kingship was not material but spiritual. On the night before his death he washed the feet of his twelve apostles in order to give them an example of humility. And when he died he left no possessions except the clothes he was wearing which the soldiers who crucified him took from his body. How wonderful that although he gave life and healing and food and salvation to others he did not even provide a house for himself!
    During his lifetime Jesus Christ on several occasions foretold his own death, saying that he would be crucified in Jerusalem. When Peter, his devoted disciple heard this he said, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But Jesus rebuked Peter, saying that this thought that his Master should not die was not from God but was from Satan. When the time for Christ's death arrived, when he was about thirty-three years of age, his enemies who were the religious rulers of the Jewish nation sent soldiers by night to arrest him. The disciples wanted to defend their Master, but Jesus did not permit them to do so. After telling Peter to put his sword back into its sheath, Jesus gave himself up to the soldiers. Later that night when the rulers mocked and beat him he remained silent. And next day when the Roman soldiers nailed his hands and feet to the cross he did not curse them, but rather prayed for them and for all his enemies, saying, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." As he hung on the cross the rulers came near and mocked him, but he did not answer them. Then after being on the cross for six terrible hours he cried, "Father into thy hands I commit my spirit" and died. No wonder the Roman officer who was standing by the cross marveled at the manner of Jesus death.

    Jesus Christ was not forced to die, for he could easily have saved himself had he wished to do so. Rather he died of his own free will in order to take the punishment for the sins of man, just as the prophet Isaiah had foretold long before when he said, "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:5-7). The Apostle John who stood near the cross and was witness of the death of Christ says of his Master, "He is the expiration for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). Truly Christ's death was unique and wonderful.
    All the prophets and holy men of old died and were buried and their bodies turned to dust with the exception of Elijah who was taken to heaven. Jesus Christ died and was buried, but his body did not turn to dust. A very wonderful thing happened to him. He rose from the dead, just as he had prophesied he would do! On Sunday, the third day after his crucifixion, he came out from the tomb, although it had been sealed by his enemies and was carefully guarded by soldiers. He appeared to a number or his disciples in various places. Then during a period of forty days he was seen by many of his followers, both in Jerusalem and also in Galilee. Those who at first could not believe that it was possible for Jesus Christ to come to life again were convinced that he was truly alive when they saw him with their own eyes. Then, in front of his disciples he ascended to heaven, where he lives in the presence of his Father. Of all the people who have lived on earth Jesus Christ is the only one who after death became alive again and did not die a second time. The resurrection of Jesus is the undeniable proof that he is as he claimed to be the spiritual Son of God and the Savior of the world. How wonderful is he!
    None of the ancient prophets announced to their followers before their death that they were going to return to earth. But Christ made frequent mention of his coming again. He told his disciples to watch and wait for his return and to be prepared to give him an account of their lives. He said that at the end of the world he would come from heaven and every eye would see him. He would sit on his glorious throne and all nations would come before him. He would then judge them, separating them from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Those who accept him as Savior are to be chosen for eternal life, those who do not are to be condemned to eternal punishment. How wonderful and glorious will be Christ's return and how terrible for those who have not obeyed him!
    Whoever becomes truly acquainted with Jesus Christ realizes that he possesses a rank higher than that of any other man. This is clear from the titles which he bears. The people of Islam call him Spirit of God. He is also called Word of God. But the title which is most often given him in the Holy Scriptures is Son of God. Before his birth the Angel Gabriel said to Mary the mother of Jesus, "He will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:32). Since God is spirit Jesus is of course the spiritual and not the physical Son of God. Jesus often called God "my Father" and on two occasions the voice of God was heard from heaven addressing Jesus as "my Son." When one of the disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father Jesus replied, "Have I been with you so long and yet you do not know me? He who has seen me has seen the Father. Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" (John 14:9-10). And on another occasion Christ said, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). No prophet of God ever made such a claim. Truly the rank of Jesus Christ is unique and wonderful!
    It is remarkable that Jesus Christ did not do many of the things that the great men of the earth have done. He did not write a book or win a battle, establish a kingdom or sit on a throne or invent some wonderful thing like radio or television. On the contrary, most of his life was spent in the little town of Nazareth working as a humble carpenter and even his spiritual ministry of saving men from their sins lasted only three and a half years. But in spite of that, Jesus Christ is the most beloved person in the world today. The Holy Gospels, written about him by his disciples, have been translated into more than a thousand languages, and have a larger sale than any other book which was ever written. Thousands of men and women have left their native lands and gone into all parts of the earth to tell people about Christ. In almost all the countries of the world there are groups of people who love him and are proud to call themselves by his name and would gladly give their lives for him. Thousands of schools and hospitals and orphanages have been established by those who, because of their love for Christ, desire to help their fellow men and millions of people have received both physical and spiritual healing through their ministry. In fact, most of the institutions and influences which today are making the world better had their origin in and derived their power from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. How wonderful is the man who, after 1,900 years, still exercises such an influence in the world!
    Before Christ ascended to heaven he not only foretold his return at the end of the world but also promised his disciples that he would also be with them. He said to them, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations… and lo, I am with you always to the close of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). And on another occasion he said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Therefore, when Jesus Christ went to heaven his disciples were not left alone. Nor was there any need for someone else to come in Christ's place to care for them for Christ himself, by his Spirit, remained with them and will be with them to the end of the world. He guides them, strengthens them, comforts them, forgives them, cleanses them from sin, and reveals God to them. Since he rose from the dead and is alive for evermore he is able to help us in a way that dead prophets can never. He invites everyone to come to him and be his friend, saying, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). How wonderful is the friendship and love of Christ.
    For these reasons which have been given and for many others which have not been mentioned, we see that Jesus Christ truly deserves the name Wonderful which the prophet gave him long before he was born. Everything about him was wonderful! But perhaps for us the most wonderful thing of all is that Christ is willing to dwell in our sinful hearts. For he says, "Behold, I stand at the door and know; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

    Dear friend, this wonderful Savior has come to the door of your heart today and wants to enter. He died to save you from your sins, and he lives in order to give you eternal life. He knows your cares, your troubles, your sins, your fears, and all your needs, and is eager to bless you and make you glad. If you want him as your friend you may just now open your heart to him, and ask him to enter. Take him as your Savior and commit yourself wholly to him. Read the Holy Bible and especially the New Testament to learn what he wants you to do and to be. Come to church and unite with other friends of Jesus Christ. Tell someone else what you know of Christ, and invite him to become Christ's disciple. If you do these things you will know from your own experience what a wonderful Savior Jesus is, and you will understand more and more clearly why God gave him the name WONDERFUL.
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