Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called… Everlasting Father….”
We’re not used to hearing the name “Father” applied to Jesus. Scripture teaches us to know him as the “Son of the Father.” In other places the Bible refers to Jesus as our brother. “Father” sounds foreign to our ears when we are speaking of the second person of the Trinity. Isaiah isn’t confusing the Father and the Son in this description. They remain distinct, and their relationship unchanged. Rather, he is illustrating important features of the way Jesus relates to you and me.
A few moments consideration will reveal what a fitting name Father is for him in relation to us. A father gives life to his children. Children trace their origin back to their parents. Jesus has given us spiritual life. He made it possible for us by giving his life for our sins. Then he made it happen to us by sending us his word and his Holy Spirit. We would have no spiritual existence if he were not our spiritual Father.
He also sustains our spiritual life just like a Father provides for the needs of his family. It is Jesus himself who continues to meet us in his word. He continues to breathe life into us there as he confronts our sin and promises us his grace. He feeds the family with his own body and blood at the Lord’s Supper. The forgiveness it pronounces provides just the nourishment our faith needs. He hasn’t left us here as orphans. He takes care of our spiritual needs.
In our day fatherhood has gotten a bad name. Many fathers abandon their responsibilities. They fail to nurture and provide for their families. Human fathers may forget (or just don’t care) that there is more to fatherhood than begetting children.
But Jesus will never be a “dead beat dad.” He is the Everlasting Father, and his loving nurture and care for us will never end.