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 Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Jesus taught his disciples something about prayer with these rhetorical questions recorded in Matthew 7:9-10. As Jesus’ disciples, we too hear his words of encouragement to go to our God in prayer in all circumstances. Ask. Seek. Find.
Jesus teaches us something about himself here too. What father wouldn’t want to give good gifts to his child? Through the inspiration of the prophet Isaiah, we see “Father” as one of the names of our Savior Jesus. It’s not often that we think about Jesus this way. After all, we confess with our mouths even as our human minds fail to fully grasp the complexity of how Jesus is distinct from the first person of the Trinity. Yet we still can call Jesus this powerful name: Everlasting Father.
Jesus has come to give you good things. He came to provide for you, his people, throughout eternity. But as an Everlasting Father he is much more. He is loving and tender, as a father should be. As Jesus walked this earth, he showed time after time his love and compassion for the lowly, the lost, the sick, and the destitute. He was a wise trainer of his people. When his disciples called him, “Rabbi,” it was a term of respect, whether they fully grasped how deeply he taught and trained them or not. Jesus acts in that same way for us. He guards his people from all attacks, having crushed the devil, sin, and death.
But Isaiah calls Jesus more than just “Father.” He is the Everlasting Father. This name is further proof that the child born in Bethlehem is nothing short of fully God. Only the divine is eternal. Before time even began, Jesus was there with the same characteristics that his name describes. And when his provision, his love, his protection, and his guidance are directed toward us, his people, as part of his name, we know those blessings are ours forever and ever.
This name of Jesus, Everlasting Father, is remarkable in what it describes about him. But it is even more powerful when we realize that Jesus was all of this and yet born in a stable in Bethlehem. Because to provide us with everything we need into eternity and to demonstrate his love in the most vivid way, he had to become like us. He took on human flesh so that he could provide for us—eternally.
Dear Jesus, we thank and praise you for your guidance, protection, and provision. But most of all we thank you for descending to our world to save us and make us your own. Help us to treasure more dearly the gifts that you won for us with your life and death. And give us the confidence to know that the treasures you give us are ours into eternity. Amen.
Rev. Nicolas Schmoller serves Martin Luther College as a professor of theology and Greek.
Next Worship Opportunity
“I Will Give You Rest”
Wednesday: 3:45 pm and 6:30 pm
Pastor Mike Schultz, Preacher