The Wonderful Counselor

Jesus quoted the first part of Isaiah 61:1-3 when He stood up in a synagogue to read from God’s word on the Sabbath (Luke 4:14-22). Jesus stopped reading in the middle of verse two after the word “favor,” emphasizing what He would accomplish in His first advent. When He comes again, He will complete verses two and three. Judgment will come for unbelievers and a garment of praise for those who trust in Him.

No passage better reveals the heart of God than these few verses. Jesus is the good news. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is the great I AM. To His children He is our Savior, our Lord, and our life. Isaiah said He was anointed to preach the good news to the poor. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Isaiah said Jesus was sent to bind up the broken hearted. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Isaiah said Jesus came to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). This is the year of the Lord’s favor and we are the benefactors.

During this church age, God had committed himself to work through His children as they minister one to another. So when we minister to the spiritual captive and the broken-hearted, we can be assured that Jesus is present and He wants to set them free and bind up their broken hearts. Christian disciplers and counselors are facilitators of a process that connects people to God. They are encouragers who acknowledge the presence of God and realize that apart from Christ, they can do nothing. They know in their hearts that the Spirit, the Sovereign Lord and the Messiah is, “The wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Discipleship counseling is the process of building the life of Christ into one another. It is a relational experience centered on the word of God in the presence of Christ and one another. A good biblical discipler would be a good biblical counselor and a good counselor would be a good discipler. They are essentially the same pastoral roles in the New Testament. The goal of both is to work with God in the sanctifying process. Therefore, “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). We do this, “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Dr. Neil

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