This morning, as we enter into the Christmas season, we’re continuing our message series entitled, “He Shall Be Called”. Together, we’ll recall and dive deeper into that awesome prophetic word from Isaiah regarding the birth of Jesus.
Within this prophecy, Isaiah assigns four names to Jesus. So far, we’ve learned about His names: Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. This morning, we continue:
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
6 For unto us a child is born,
unto 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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
This morning, we are encouraged as we recall that Jesus is:
* Click *
Yeah, don’t feel bad. This one keeps theologians on their toes as well trying to explain. How can Jesus, the son of God be called the Everlasting Father?
You all know that I try to stay very simplistic and practical when it comes to teaching and preaching the word of God. However, this morning, we’re going to venture out into a short theology lesson and into some apologetics before we get to the practical application of it.
Well, here we go! Within this prophetic word, I believe that we see yet another revelation of how our God exists as three in one, which we call the trinity. He is one God, but exists as, and reveals Himself as three distinct persons.
For example, we learned that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. However, the role of counselor is typically that of the God the Spirit elsewhere in the scriptures. The Prince of Peace is definitely Jesus, God the Son. The Everlasting Father is, well, God the Father. They exist together as the Mighty God.
This prophetic word was very likely beyond Isaiah’s understanding. Here we are, living on the other side of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and we still have a difficult time wrapping our minds around it! Isaiah taught the trinity in four simple names.
Don’t take my word for Jesus being the Eternal Father, though. Here is how Jesus explained how He is essentially, or characteristically, or expressively, the Eternal Father.
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus taught us that when we see Him, we clearly see the Father. He and the Father are distinct persons, yet still one. The Father was in Jesus and Jesus in the Father. We continue on to another time when Jesus taught this difficult-to-understand reality. He was so misunderstood that they were ready to kill Him for what He said about Himself!
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Remember the name that God gave to Moses when Moses asked who He should say sent Him? I am! The Jews knew that Jesus was claiming to be one with God – to be the eternal, everlasting God. He was claiming to know Abraham and to have existed even before Abraham was born. Another time, Jesus clearly said that He and the Father were one. This question continues to be posed: “Who do you think you are?”
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
When we look at Jesus – from birth through His life and even to His death and resurrection – we see the Father. We see His nature and His character. We see how He responds to the very life situations that we face daily. We see His faithfulness and mercy and grace and also His loving discipline and truthful honesty.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
We see Him forgive and defend even the guilty. We see Him provide for the needy. We see Him cry with the mourning. We see Him heal the sick. We see Him take up the cause of the oppressed. We see Him carry hope to the downtrodden. We see Him equip others for success. We see Him fathering the fatherless and caring for the widow. We see Him correct and rebuke those who are wrong. We see Him drive greed and corruption far from His house.
In an account often referred to, we see Jesus representing the Father in a powerful and life-transforming way.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
Some live to learn. Some desire to reach their full potential and remain humble and teachable. Others, well, they live to make others look bad and to find the fault within them. While the first group was learning from Jesus, the second group was out on a “witch hunt.”
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was writing? None of us know for sure, but it is most commonly believed that He was writing the very sins that those accusing the woman were guilty of.
7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus represented the Everlasting Father in this simple, yet powerful act. This is how God handled the very first sin of Adam and Eve in the garden, how Jesus handled the sin of the woman caught in adultery, how the prodigal son’s father responded to him, and how God still treats the sin of you and I today. Jesus:
– Accepts us as we are
God chased down Adam and Eve in the garden, He did not run away from them. Jesus did not cast the adulterous woman out of His presence, but stood alone with her. The prodigal son’s father ran to him and wrapped his arms around him. Jesus pursues you while you are still yet in the middle of all of your sin, shame, and brokenness.
– Acknowledges our sin
God does not deny our sin. He does not shove it under the preverbal rug. He does not downplay the seriousness of it. However, God does not focus on our sin nor give it much attention. While there always seems to be an accuser nearby to amplify our sin, God does not.
God knew that Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of knowledge. Jesus knew that the woman committed adultery. The prodigal’s son knew the wild party lifestyle that his son was living. Jesus knows our sin as well. However, in none of these instances are these sins called out nor focused on. They are mutually acknowledged.
– Forgives our sin
God made an animal sacrifice and covered Adam and Eve’s sin. Jesus chose not to condemn the woman caught in adultery. The prodigal’s son denied his request to be one of his servants, but restored him as his son. Jesus looks to the cross and declares ‘It is finished’ as He freely forgives all of our sin and purifies us of all unrighteousness.
– Defends us
The first curse handed out in the garden was to the serpent for deceiving Adam and Eve. Jesus waited for those without sin to cast the first stone. The prodigal son’s father defended him to his righteous brother. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father defending you and I day and night.
– Enables us to sin no more
God removed Adam and Eve from the garden so that they would not repeat their sin and continued to dwell with them. Jesus literally told the woman to go and to leave her life of sin – to sin no more. The prodigal son’s father placed his signet ring on his finger. Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit fully equipping us also to overcome temptation and to be able to choose not to sin. We are equipped for every good work and empowered to choose to sin no more.
Jesus is the Everlasting Father. He loves us perfectly. If we leave out any one of these actions, then we are not truly extending the love of God that always overcomes and always gains the victory.
To simply accept those bound by sin and allow them to continue in it is not loving at all. To reject and condemn those bound by sin is also not loving at all. Love accepts someone as they are, but cares enough about them to come along side of them, point them to Jesus, and help them to overcome their sin.
Jesus was born incarnate – wrapped in flesh just like you and I. He came to show us the Everlasting Father and so that we might have a relationship with Him.
This morning, let’s receive this awesome gift as He offers to each and every one of us the greatest gift of all – Himself. He offers to adopt us into His family – to be children of God. The Everlasting Father is so good. He is a perfect and loving father – faithful and true always. He wants to be your defender, your provider, and your protector. Won’t you let Him be this for you this morning and all the days of the rest of your life?