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.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
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’? 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.
Today we look at the third name given to Jesus by Isaiah, probably the most puzzling of the four names: Everlasting Father. We understand how Jesus is the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, and the prince of peace, but everlasting father? Isn’t the Father, the Father, and the Son, the Son? Was Isaiah confused? No; Isaiah wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so his words are true and accurate. Then what did he mean by calling Jesus the Everlasting Father?
One writer suggests that we might understand this name by paraphrasing it as “One who is eternally a Father” (Edward J. Young). That is, Jesus as the Savior of his people, from everlasting to everlasting, shows the true care and compassion of a father to his children. The psalmist says, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, he told them that God had made him “father to Pharoah, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt” (Gen. 45:8). That did not mean that Joseph was older than Pharoah, but that he exercised fatherly care for him and his people.
See how tenderly Jesus speaks to his children! He knows them, he gives them eternal life, and no one can snatch them out of his hand. The Father who has given them to him is able to keep anyone from snatching them away, and Jesus and the Father are one: one in essence, one in unity, one in purpose, for all eternity. When Philip asks Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus almost seems incredulous. Philip, are you kidding me? You’ve been with me these three years; don’t you realize that if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father? Don’t you realize that I am in the Father and he is in me?
And listen to this prayer of Jesus for his people: “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:20-21). What tenderness and love, what an Everlasting Father! May we worship, praise, and adore him, now and for all eternity!
Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end;
by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number, born within a cattle stall;
this the everlasting wonder, Christ was born the Lord of all.
(Mark E. Hunt)