The Unexpected Everlasting Father
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this—Isaiah 9:6-7.
Among the names given to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 is the unexpected title, Everlasting Father. This phrase, with Mighty God on one side and Prince of Peace on the other, manages to highlight the unique relationship between Jesus the Son and God the Father. Everlasting Father also touches something deep inside each of us that the terms Counselor, God, and Prince can’t reach—our own need for someone called Father.
Few words provoke a more varied visceral response than father. Feelings of honor, love, and gratitude can fill one person, while another is consumed with shame, hatred, and bitterness at the mere mention of dad. Both the intensity and range of emotions point to an even deeper truth: father hunger is universal. We all long for a healthy and intimate relationship with someone we can call father and are either delighted or distressed by what we have.
Our times are marked by an epidemic of father absence. The high percentage of children growing up in homes where there isn’t a dad present is stunning. For too many young people, an understanding of the phrase Everlasting Father is severely handicapped by the lack of any figure who can serve as an earthly example.
Most fathers painfully learn how far they can fall short of meeting even the basic ideals of fatherhood. But fathers as well as the rest of humanity must understand that no human can fill the “father vacuum” in the human heart. A good earthly father helps, but our father hunger can only be satisfied in God Himself. The best a human father can do is point his children to the Everlasting Father.
Given the insatiability of our father hunger and the reality of father absence, it’s good news that Jesus came to satisfy and answer these deep needs. When applied to Him, the term Everlasting Father reminds us that Jesus has revealed Father God like no one else.
The Christmas Child born to us, the Son given to us, was revealing the Father. Just as human children often resemble their fathers in appearance and character, so the Bible tells us in Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:15 that in Jesus the nature and glory of Father God comes to us. Jesus Christ is everything God the Father wants you to know about Him. Jesus said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” and in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
The Christmas Story tells you the Father in heaven loves you. Even if you think, My dad was never really there for me, you have a Father in heaven who is there for you. His eyes are always upon you. You are never far from His thoughts. Because He is the Everlasting Father, He loves you with an everlasting love. That longing in your heart can never be met by a human relationship. It can only be filled by the Father God who loves you and came to you that first Christmas in His Son, Jesus Christ.
How has Jesus allowed you to understand your Everlasting Father better this year?
In what ways can you keep your attention on Him as you interact with family and friends?
Lord, as intense as my feelings about my earthly father are, I know You alone fully meet everything I need in a Dad. Thank You for the ways my earthy father has pointed me to You, and help me forgive those ways in which he has fallen short. Teach me this next year to lean on You as my Abba, Father. Help me see how Your Son demonstrated a healthy relationship with You, and guide me as I follow Him. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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