Our Advent series continued this week with the third name of Jesus from Isaiah chapter 9: ‘Everlasting Father’.
David said this name is considered by many to be the most intriguing and possibly the most confusing of the four: How can the Son also be called the Father?
We read this from a post-Christmas perspective with the doctrine of the Trinity in mind. However, Isaiah did not have this in mind. Rather he was setting out the father-like characteristics of the Messiah – Jesus.
1. Jesus is everlasting
Isaiah was bringing a promise of light, joy and freedom to people living in darkness, sadness and oppression. A king would come who would not reign for a time and disappear but would reign forever – with justice and righteousness. What a promise!
For us, living after Jesus has come, we can find hope in that same wonderful truth:
In a world of constant and unpredictable change, the one who is Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God does not change.
Because Jesus is everlasting, death could not hold him and so we can have the assurance of everlasting life:
2. Jesus is father-like
David began this section by acknowledging that, for some people, the concept of ‘father’ is neither positive nor appealing, due to difficult, complicated or non-existent family relationships. However, when Isaiah speaks here of Jesus as a father, He speaks of perfect, ideal fatherhood.
What does it mean in practice? Here are some of the aspects of Jesus as a father:
He loves us:
- He has compassion on us:
- He cares for us
- He protects us
- He provides for us
These last three bring to mind the words of an old hymn:
As David reminded us, in terms of ultimate care, protection and provision – nowhere is that more powerfully demonstrated and tangible than at the Cross.
3. Jesus makes the Father known
Although Jesus is not the Father, Jesus makes the Father known:
A critical aspect of our celebration of Christmas – and the birth of the one called Everlasting Father – is an acute awareness that if we know Jesus, we know (we are in relationship with) the Father. As Jesus told his disciples:
And so, the central Christmas message is that God the Father has revealed Himself to the world in His Son – in Jesus – and why? So that through Jesus we would see the Father.
May our celebration of Christmas be taken up a notch because we’re discovering that the name of the child born for us means even more than we have imagined before.