His Name Shall be Called (#3 in Series)
Today we shift our attention to Isaiah’s third name for the Messiah... for Jesus... this Child born... and given unto us...
“His name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God... Everlasting Father...”
Everlasting is a pretty powerful concept. Everlasting!? There’s a brand of battery called “Everlast” - I personally believe it’s proof of deceptive marketing and false advertising!
Nothing seems to last - at least in my experience. Everything seems disposable... TV’s, appliances... relationships... churches... pastors. Nothing lasts forever... Everything wears out... and brings change!
We buy something new... top-of-the-line, the best money can buy... and it breaks. You all gifted me with a “dough bowl” back at the end of October as part of Pastor Appreciation month. I absolutely love it... but the man who custom makes those bowls presented a program for the Lions Club a couple of weeks after I received mine. He told about how he makes the bowls using a hand-held grinder tool that costs $10.00 from Harbor Freight - because it lasts as long as the brands that costs ten-times more!
The point being, just because you’ve spent a lot of money on something does not mean it will last forever. And because things don’t last forever... CHANGE is inevitable.
But God is not like that. God is everlasting... He is eternal... in fact, He has no beginning and end! The same yesterday, today and forever. He does not change.
With all the changes that come into our lives... it’s comforting to know that God is the one, never-changing constant. And this child... this baby born unto us... born one of us... is that same God.
OF course, the second part of Isaiah’s name for Jesus... is Father. Everlasting Father.
Father can conjure up different images - and project differing emotions from all of us, I suppose. If you had a great dad... if your father has been a positive, influential role-model for your life... your thoughts regarding God as Father are probably good. But sometimes that’s not the case. And the word Father can carry a negative connotation as well.
But for most of us... Eternal Father forms a whole... It’s a compound phrase that paints the perfect picture of God’s eternal - never ending, everlasting - yet very personal and intimate love for each of us.
God loves us. He created us to love us. His love is both corporate (“For God so loved the world”, John 3:16) and very personal, as in... God loves me (as in “he gave himself for me”, Galatians 2:20).
God’s love for us is kinda like the love shared between a parent and child. When our children were toddlers, there was a period of time when they were learning to talk and walk, and Tammy and I were the only people who could understand them.
I can’t tell you the times I’ve turned to Michael and Zoe for clarity in regards to what Greyson and Maddie are saying.
Parents tend to know their children... Parents anticipate their needs and understand their children in ways that others simply can’t.
Our Eternal Father knows us - and loves us - even more than the best earthly parent ever could. He created us and knows our every thought - he’s acquainted with all our ways. He knows our hurts - and - knows how to comfort us.
He loves us so much that he even knows the numbers of tears we have cried. When life feels like more than I can handle, I cling to the promise of a Father who sees my tears and loves me so much that he will never leave me or forsake me.
Oh, don’t miss the beauty here. The picture that the Bible is painting, that Isaiah is prophesying in the coming of Jesus that we now celebrate at Christmas... This picture of an everlasting father, a father who cares for his children, who protects his children, who provides for his children.
The Child who came to save us... is the very same God who cares for us with the perfect, eternal affection of an Everlasting Father.
When I look to my kids and grand-kids... I feel compelled to care for them... and provide for them... to teach them what I’ve learned. I want to do everything I can to enable them to have a full, blessed and happy life.
God’s Word expresses what I’m trying to say... “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? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)
Of course, the reality is - with as much as I love my kids and grand-kids - and even though I desire only good for them... I’m an imperfect father/grandfather with imperfect love.
But, Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God... the Everlasting Father, who longs to take care of us, who longs to provide for us... and love us... and serve us... and help us mature into all that we can be... loves us even more.
He loves us as an everlasting father. He protects us as an everlasting father. He cares for us as an everlasting father. A perfect father forever.
Some people tend to think of the Trinity as an exclusively New Testament doctrine... but Isaiah’s words, his vision, his prophecy, helps us to see the attributes of God are bigger... they’re grander... more encompassing than we could ever hope to put into words. I don’t think Isaiah was thinking about the Trinity when he prophesied these words. But Isaiah’s words certainly helps us to understand how Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promised Messiah:
God the Father, Son and Spirit are intertwined... and, together, as One, give us a God who’s perfect and whole in every way. A Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father... and, as we’ll see next Sunday, he’s our Prince of Peace.
May these words from Isaiah be reassuring for us as followers of Christ. They describe Jesus as a God who loves us, comforts us, counsels us... A God who’s stronger than our weaknesses... A God who’s eternal and parental... not just some abstract creator who sits back on his throne and watches his creation unfold, but a God who is an active participant; Emmanuel... God with us... who became one of us, in order to truly, love us, and save us... as only an Everlasting Father could.