This word is not as familiar to us in this generation. My parents used the word wonderful much more often than I do. As we think about the names and titles of Jesus, I have chosen to separate this first name (Wonderful Counselor) in order for us to think about and grasp the impact of the first word in this title.
To help you to understand this word, read through the story of the birth of Samson, found in Judges 13:1-25. Notice particularly what is said in verses 18-19, as the angel of the Lord speaks with Samson’s father Manoah. “And the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?’ So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching.” Here we see two aspects of this word, shown by the words wonderful and wonders.
First, the angel answers Manoah’s question by stating that his name is wonderful, which is a play on words. The angel might be saying, ‘I can’t tell you my name because it is beyond comprehension,’ which is true. Everything about God is beyond comprehension, far beyond what our human minds can fathom or understand. This is what the word for Wonderful means. To be wonderful is to be amazing, astonishing, or astounding. God’s nature, his character, is truly wonderful, indescribable and unfathomable for us.
The second possible answer for the angel responding in this way is that his name is in fact Wonderful. God is the one who works wonders, as it says in verse 19. God’s acts and works are so amazing that they cause us to wonder in amazement. Consider just one act in the Old Testament, the parting of the Red Sea. The nature of that act, the timing, the dry sea floor, and the waves crashing down on the Egyptians after the Israelites passed through, those events are wonders to consider.
It is appropriate that the one who worked those wonders, the only one who could ever work those wonders, should be called ‘Wonderful.’ I believe both of those meanings are true of Jesus. Praise God today for Jesus, who both works wonders of salvation for us and is by name Wonderful!