The following is an article written by Ivan H. French. It is entitled, “Jesus was a Counselor”. I pray that it encourages you in your interaction, not only with others, but as you “self-counsel”. We would do well to follow our Savior’s lead in counseling. I have personally benefited from Pastor French’s teaching, especially a class we offered in our church on prayer. This elderly saint is nearing the end of his earthly ministry, but his impact on lives continues.
One of the names given to our Lord in Isaiah 9:6 is “Counselor.” Because of the perfection of His person, we would expect Him to be the perfect counselor, and this is the portrait of Him in the New Testament.
In Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). He can be counted on, therefore, to counsel according to absolute truth.
He “knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:24, 25). Because of His perfect knowledge of human character and need, He could apply His flawless knowledge to each individual case.
All of His recorded encounters bear clear evidence that He did so.
To Nicodemus, the earnest, searching Pharisee, Jesus said that he must not rely upon his religious position or trappings but get to the root of his spiritual need. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Nicodemus did not understand his real need, and Jesus revealed it to him.
To the woman He met at Sychar’s well, Jesus administered shocking counsel when He said, “. . . thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband” (John 4:18). She realized that she was being confronted by One who knew all about her. He had graciously and tactfully led her to this point in the conversation; nevertheless, it was a jarring revelation to her that she must repent of her sin and forsake it. There must be a change in her life. She must set her course in a new direction.
To the man who wanted Jesus to be the arbiter in his financial affairs, He spoke plainly by precept and by parable that the focus of his life was all wrong: “Take heed and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth (Luke 12:15).
To the adulterous woman, Jesus was gentle and courteous. He knew the conditions that had brought about her sinful lifestyle. Nevertheless, His word to her was clear-cut and distinct: “. . . go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, was a fine man in many ways, but he was experiencing the crushing blow of a great sorrow: his only daughter was dying. This drove him to seek out Jesus. He wanted Jesus to come and heal his little girl. An interruption arose and they were delayed in their journey. When a messenger came to tell Jairus that his daughter was already dead, as quick as a flash Jesus turned to him and said, “Fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole” (Luke 8:50). Jairus had displayed an imperfect faith in coming to Jesus. Jesus did not despise that. Now, the master Counselor would lead the good man on to a deeper, more vibrant trust in Him, not by criticizing his small faith but by nourishing and challenging it.
A Jewish lawyer (one who was an expert in Old Testament law and tradition) came to Jesus, not to seek advice, but to trap Jesus into saying something that could be proven false. In response to the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the well- known story of the Good Samaritan. When the lawyer correctly identified the Samaritan as the true neighbor of the injured man, Jesus said to him, “Go thou and do likewise!” (Luke 10:37).
Jesus, the all-wise Counselor, dealt with each individual on the basis of that person’s need. But in each case, the goal of the counsel was the same: You must change. Sometimes it was a change of attitude that was needed, sometimes a change of direction of the life, sometimes a call to faith or an enlargement of faith already present in imperfect form. But always, it was change!
The word to today’s believer is “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). The true Christian will seek to pattern his life and labors after the conduct of the Lord Jesus. This means, then, that whether we are informal or professional counselors, we shall be always trying to call others to change along the lines of truth and Christ-likeness.