The Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
Children were in the service this week, and the sermon was geared to them.
Everybody thinks it would be fun to be a king or a queen. Everybody. Kids, have you ever wished that you were a king or a queen? Absolutely. Everybody does. A lot of problems would be solved if you had the kinds of powers that kings and queens have. Adults, have you ever wished the same? Sure, maybe for a day. It would be amazing to be a king or a queen.
Kings and queens have nice houses. I know, I’ve been to a few of them. When you tour palaces, you go through and see how fancy everything is. Absolutely amazing. Lots of room, too, and you don’t have to pay for any of it yourself. If we were kings and queens, we would have some pretty nice houses.
Then you have the guards. It would be cool to have some guards looking after you. When we were in Buckingham Palace one time, our daughter tried to sit on the throne. Alarms went off, and guards came running. It would be cool to have guards to protect you, who could look so imposing and stand on guard for you.
Then there are all the crowns and the scepters. I’m not talking about the fake crowns; I’m talking about the ones with real jewels and real gold. It would be nice to wear hats like some of the kings and queens do. Those scepters look like they could do a bit of damage too; it would be nice to have one of those.
Then there is the power. Have you ever wished you could say, “Off with their heads!” I have. I wouldn’t let them actually chop anybody’s head off, but it would be fun to say it.
There would be a lot of benefits to being a king or a queen.
The Problem with Being a King or a Queen
Everybody thinks it would be nice to be a king or a queen. Very few people look at the downside. Being a king or a queen is tough work. The bigger the kingdom, the tougher the job. There are lots of problems that come with being royalty.
The Bible has lots of stories about kings. There weren’t too many queens mentioned; they didn’t reign like queens do today. Mostly, we read about kings. There were some good kings, but there were an awful lot of bad kings as well.
The kings in the Bible faced a lot of problems. Today, I want to talk about just three.
Problem one: they couldn’t always protect their people. They wanted to, but they often faced armies that were bigger than their own. A lot of kings were defeated by other kings. They had to worry about their enemies and which armies were going to attack them. Imagine having to always worry about going to battle to protect your people. Not a lot of fun.
Problem two: They couldn’t always care about their people. Back then, kings settled a lot of disputes. The problem is that everybody knew who the king was, but the king couldn’t keep track of everyone else. It was too tiring. The king would sit at the beginning of the day and listen to everyone’s problems. He would start out okay, but by the end of the day, as person number 142 came in with a problem, it was hard to care anymore. They would say, “Remember me from last week?” and the king would answer, “No!” There were lots of things for a king to worry about, and he couldn’t keep track of everyone’s problems. It was just too much.
Problem three: Kings die. That’s a big problem that kings face. All kings eventually die. Some were killed in battle. Some were murdered by their enemies. Some just died of old age. It was only a matter of time before a king would be dead and another king would take over. All the king’s powers weren’t enough to solve this problem.
That’s why it’s sometimes hard to be a king.
A Different Kind of King
At a time when kings were pretty disappointing, a man named Isaiah had something to say. Isaiah was a prophet, who spoke messages from God. One day, when a bad king was on the throne, Isaiah brought a message from God about a good king who was going to come:
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
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
There will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
And over his kingdom,
Establishing it and upholding it
With justice and righteousness
From that time on forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
Will accomplish this.
Who was this king? Obviously, Isaiah is talking about a different kind of king. He is a king who reigns well, whose kingdom is secure, and who reigns with justice and righteousness. He is called a Wonderful Counselor – someone with an extraordinary strategy to deal with all the enemies that a king might have. He is called Mighty God – someone with the power that he needed to reign and to deal with all the problems. He is called Prince of Peace, someone who brings wholeness to the people and to the nation. This is a different kind of king.
We understand that Isaiah was talking about the Messiah. He is the one whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, and he became a king like no other. He is the one that Isaiah is talking about.
Today, though, I want to look at the third title. Isaiah says that Jesus will be called Everlasting Father. This name has always confused me, and it’s part of the reason I wanted to study what these names meant. What does this title mean?
Obviously, Isaiah isn’t saying that Jesus is the same as God the Father. I don’t think Isaiah was even thinking of the Trinity as he gave Jesus this name. Back then, the term father was often used of a king who protects and supports those under him with care and authority, like a father does his family. This is what Isaiah is talking about. Jesus will be a king who protects and supports his people. He will be just like a father to them. He will do this not just for a time, but forever.
Remember the three problems that kings have? They can’t always protect their people. They can’t always care about their people, even if they want to. They eventually die.
Jesus, the Everlasting Father, doesn’t have these problems:
Jesus, like a father, protects his people – Kings sometimes have a hard time protecting the people. A big army comes along, and kings are sometimes helpless to do anything about it. Jesus is a king who has no problem protecting his people. He protects them just like a good father protects his family. Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, said this:
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear. (Luke 2:69.74 NIV)
Jesus is able to protect us today. There is nothing that he can’t handle. He is able to protect us from anything. Romans 8:31-32 says, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?” Jesus, like a good father, is able to protect us.
Jesus, like a father, cares about his people – Jesus never gets tired by having to care for so many people. He never loses track of who we are. He is able to keep track of everything about you. The Gospels frequently speak of Jesus’ compassion for people that he met. Jesus cares about you.
There is nothing in your life that Jesus doesn’t know about. He cares for you, just like a good father cares for his family. That’s what it means for Jesus to be the Everlasting Father.
Jesus, because he is eternal, will never die – They tried to kill Jesus. In fact, they did. The thing is, he came back to life. Jesus said, “I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:18). Jesus conquered death. He is alive today.
Romans 8:34 says that not only is Jesus alive, but he is busy today praying for us: “He is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us.” Not only is Jesus alive today, but he is praying for us.
Every other king has three problems: they can’t always protect their people, they can’t always care for their people, and they eventually die. Jesus is different. He always protects his people. He cares for every one of us. And he has conquered death. This is what Isaiah meant when he called Jesus the Everlasting Father.
A king like this deserves our worship. On Christmas Day, we remember Jesus, who was born to be King of Kings. I invite you to worship Jesus the Eternal Father, maybe for the first time, by joining his Kingdom and serving him.
Let me tell you what I’d like you to remember, and then we’ll finish. Jesus is a King who protects and supports his people forever. Let’s say it together: Jesus is a King who protects and supports his people forever. I hope you’ll worship this king.