For the past couple of weeks we have been examining the identities associated with Jesus based on Isaiah’s messianic prophecy recorded in Isaiah 9:6 which says:
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.
Thus far, we have explored how Jesus is our “Wonderful Counselor” and our “MIghty God,” so, in this article, we will explore how Jesus is our “Everlasting Father.” When we hear the title “Everlasting Father,” we tend to think of God the Father rather than Jesus the Son. Yet, in this passage Isaiah refers to Jesus as “Everlasting Father.” Such a title is not completely inappropriate because Scripture asserts the equality of Jesus and God as members of the Godhead. For example, John introduced his gospel by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, emphasis added). The “Word” is clearly a reference to Jesus based on its association with “the only Son from the Father” just a few verses later (John 1:14). Additionally, Paul said in reference to Jesus that “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). Thus, Jesus is not a Vice God or an Associate God or a junior partner of the Godhead. He is God-in-the-flesh. That’s why He said in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one” and in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
As a result, Jesus is identified as “Everlasting Father” because Jesus came to this earth to reveal the nature of our “Everlasting Father.” This is important because no title can be more beneficial or detrimental to our understanding of God than that of “Father.” Some of us have experienced loving, devoted, and gracious fathers who we hold in high esteem. Others of us have experienced abusive, negligent, or absent fathers who we struggle to appreciate or even forgive. Regardless of which type of father you experienced, Jesus came to shape your understanding of THE Father because as one preacher said: “God is not the reflection of your earthly father. He is the perfection of your earthly father.” So, what do we learn about “our Father who is in heaven” from Jesus?
First, Jesus teaches us that our God is the perfect Father because He provides for us.
Every good parent understands the need to provide for his or her children’s needs. God understands that as well. In Matthew 6:25 Jesus said, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.” Jesus is in effect saying, “do not be worried about the necessities of life.” Why? Because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:32). And Jesus indicated that God will supply all of those needs in the same way that He provides for the needs of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. “Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
However, parents frequently do not just supply their children’s needs; when it is appropriate, parents also give their children what they want. In like manner, God doesn’t just provide for our necessities; He also aims to bless us with even greater gifts. I think that’s the idea that Jesus was presenting in Matthew 7:7-11 when He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” He follows these instructions by comparing the Father with a parent who gives his child what he requests as opposed to something else. Then he concludes by saying, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).
The greatest provision God ever made and the greatest gift He ever gave was that of salvation. Our sins separated us from Him, and, yet, He took the initiative in repairing the damage that we created, sparing no expense in the process. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved” us that He was willing to sacrifice “His only Son” so that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” As our provider, God promises to take care of our needs, and that includes our need for salvation. All He asks in return is that we “seek first [His] kingdom…and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33).
Second, Jesus teaches us that our God is the perfect Father because He protects us.
The birth of Jesus depicts God the Father as a protector. Shortly after Jesus was born, His life was at risk because Herod ordered the execution of all male children under the age of two in the region of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). God intervened on behalf of His Son by warning Joseph via a dream to temporarily flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). So, God demonstrated at the outset of Jesus’ life that He is a protective Father.
Does God’s protection mean that no danger will ever come our way? Absolutely not. Job’s story quickly dispels that possibility. What God’s protection does mean is that He will help us overcome and endure whatever we might face if we place our faith in Him. Even though God protected Jesus from a premature death as a baby, He allowed Him to die as a man some thirty years later. Thus, God’s own Son was not protected by God at Calvary, but He was strengthened by God the night before so that He would be able to endure the “cup” that He had to drink (Luke 22:41-43).
The fact that God allowed His own Son to be crucified may appear to contradict His protective nature, but we have to remember that the reason He allowed His Son to die was so that He could offer protection to all of His children from the consequences of sin. More than anything else our “Everlasting Father” wants to protect us from the evil one. It is worth noting that Jesus prayed for God to protect His followers saying, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). Additionally, Jesus taught His disciples to pray for this type of protection when He presented the model and said, “do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). Ultimately, protection from the evil one was eternally achieved through Christ’s sacrifice, and we become recipients of that protection when we are “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9).
So, Jesus came to reveal that our heavenly Father is the perfect Father, and He did this primarily through His own death, which PROVIDED mankind access to eternal life as well as PROTECTION from eternal punishment. In this regard, Psalm 121:1-2 is a fitting declaration regarding God the Father. The psalmist asked, “From where does my help come?” and then answered his own question saying, “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”