How to Live the Bible — Everlasting Father
Pastor and author Mel Lawrenz is interrupting his weekly How to Live the Bible series to focus our attention on the wonder of the Incarnation for the Advent season. This week, here’s a Christmas blessing for personal or church use (click here for a printable PDF version; permission granted to reproduce in full form). Christ has come!
Be sure to sign up for the free daily email devotional Christmas Joy. Many people do these 25 readings every year as a rhythm of reflecting on the wonder, the power, and the joy of the coming of Jesus the Christ. Each brief daily reading takes a word from the biblical text associated with the coming of Christ.
And he will be called…Everlasting Father. — Isaiah 9:6
What a remarkable string of names in Isaiah 9:6! Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Now, these were radical statements indeed, and they described the one who was coming to rule heaven and earth. A coming ruler might—if he were an ordinary ruler—simply assert his authority and prerogatives as sovereign. As we well know, a king is one who has the power because he has an army, and he is the one who has wealth because he controls the resources of his realm. That is the way of earthly rulers. But Isaiah also spoke of a ruler whom people would look to in far more personal terms: “Father.”
But Jesus would be no mere earthly ruler. His reign would be “everlasting.” Enduring, unstoppable, without challenge, having the qualities of heaven. An everlasting ruler would have to be a divine king.
It is a different kind of king who reigns as father. A king (or, for that matter, a prime minister, a president, etc.) does not have to treat his subjects as though he were their father. He can wield power simply because he has it. But a ruler who cares for those in his realm, who truly wants to protect and provide for his subjects out of a familial kind of love is as much a father as he is a king.
Hundreds of years before his birth, Jesus was called “Everlasting Father” because his reign would be about protecting and providing—a king, yes, but a fatherly one. And we should not forget that Jesus’ relationship with God the Father was so close that Jesus could say: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
In some parts of the world, Santa Claus is called “Father Christmas.” At its best, the legend, which is derived from the story of St. Nicholas, expresses the belief in someone who is bigger than life and full of benevolence and magical charm. That Everlasting Father exists. Nothing can compare to the reality that Jesus Christ has become—for the world—the Powerful Protector and Perfect Provider, a King whose authority is so right and so good, it will never end.
Born a child, destined to bring fatherly care. Always and forever. In this, the children of God place their faith and hope.
Prayer for today:
Lord, help me to fully submit to your authority as King in my life, and then let me know your protection and provision which goes beyond what any earthly father can provide.
- How to Live the Bible — A Prayer for the Christmas Season
- How to Live the Bible — Christmas Joy
- How to Live the Bible — JESUS
Get Christmas Joy–A Devotional by Mel Lawrenz to read in December
Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.