What do you think of, and how do you feel, when you hear the word father? Without question it evokes some of our strongest and most varied feelings, from security and affirmation to anger and fear. During the Christmas season these may be accentuated all the more as we sense loss for a father no longer with us, or for a father either distant or never even known. How wonderful then to hear the words of prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 say that unto us is born an “Everlasting Father”. At first glance it seems strange to attribute the name “Father” to Jesus the Messiah. Has the prophet confused Trinitarian function? How can the Eternal Son be the Everlasting Father? Firstly, it is unlikely Isaiah had Trinitarian roles in mind when ascribing these names or attributes to the coming King. He is, rather, describing the Messiah’s character and how he would relate to his people. He would be a father-like one in his protection, provision, and care for us. He is both the given son of man – born of a woman (700 years in the future!) – yet the eternal Alpha and Omega, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Rev 1:8)”. This child, both born and given, has the divine qualities and essence of God, and father-like care over us.
Of course, Jesus himself taught: “I and the Father are one” and hoped that we would “know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. (John 10:30,38)” To his disciple Philip he asks: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? (John 14:9–10a)” We all long for a father’s love, but it is in and through Christ alone that we see the fullness of fatherhood expressed. Christ alone is one in essence with God the Father, and as such reveals and conveys God’s fatherly character toward us.
No earthly father is perfect in his love and care toward us, and those of us who are fathers fall short in our love for our own children. Thankfully, everything we desire from a father, all that such a relationship can provide, is found in Jesus. And once we are His children we are His forever for he is our Everlasting Father.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35,37-39)”
This Sunday, our friend Nate Wright of Crossroads Alliance Church will minister to us regarding the fatherly care of Jesus as seen in how he protects, provides for, and disciples us. I hope to see you!
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.