A number of years ago, I came across a little booklet that was written by Dr. William McElwee Miller, a veteran missionary to Iran and now retired here in Philadelphia. He has had a very successful ministry, partially through his understanding of the people to whom he ministers, but even more importantly, through his understanding of the Word of God and the simplicity with which he teaches it.
This particular booklet that I came across is entitled His Name Shall Be Wonderful. It’s written to Muslims who presumably would know relatively little about Christianity or about Jesus Christ. It is based on Isaiah 9:6, where that name is given to Christ. He presented the meaning of this name in a very simple and winsome way. He began by asking the question, “Did you ever hear of anyone by the name of Wonderful?” He answered, “I never did. I never heard of anybody by that name. And in all the books of history and in all the references to literature that I’ve ever read, I’ve never come across anyone whose name was Wonderful. And yet in this great prophecy from the Old Testament written by the Prophet Isaiah, perhaps 2,700 years ago, there is a person who is called Wonderful, and His name is Jesus.” And then he gives the text, “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…”
It is appropriate at Christmastime to think together about this wonderful person Jesus, and consider why He was given this name that, so far as we know, is given to absolutely no other man or woman. I want to mention a number of things.
First, the prophecies that concern Him are wonderful. There have been prophecies that have concerned other great individuals and even nations, of course. For example, the Greeks had their prophecies; Alexander the Great supposedly had prophecies made concerning him before his birth. You turn to a nation like Israel, and of course the Bible is filled with prophecies concerning the nation, particularly the scattering of the nation because of its sins, followed by a re-gathering. But when you compare those with the prophecies in the Old Testament that address the life, death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ, there is virtually no comparison because these prophecies that concern Him are wonderful beyond measure.
Reuben Torrey has a section in one of his writings where he points out quite rightly that just five Old Testament prophecies—Isaiah 53, Micah 5:2, Daniel 9:25-27, Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Psalm 16:8-11—give us virtually all the key points that were to concern Jesus’ ministry. They tell where He should be born, something about His marvelous teachings, His death, and His resurrection. All of this in just five passages!
E. Schuyler English, who was the editor of study Bibles and the author of many books, points out that there are at least 20 specific Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled just within the last 24 hours of Jesus’ earthly life. When we begin to talk about this wonderful Savior, we start with the prophecies that concern Him.