The Unexpected Everlasting Father

   Written by on December 23, 2014 at 2:55 pm

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

word - macdonaldAmong 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.

Reprinted with permission from Our Journey, copyright 2014 by James MacDonald. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Walk in the Word. James is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadow, IL and the Bible teacher of the Walk in the Word radio program.

About James McDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel (HarvestBibleChapel.org) which now has 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend. Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (WalkintheWord.org), was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’s leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship (HarvestBibleFellowship.org) was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020. James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, and most recently, Come Home.

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