This will be our second Christmas without my father. Hopefully, this one will be easier than last year. My father was a good man, and a good father, but he wasn’t perfect. And while his soul is everlasting (Praise God, I know my dad is in heaven!), his presence with me was not.
As the nation of Judah trudged into Babylonian captivity, many had lost their fathers, grandfathers, husbands, and sons to the war in which Judah was defeated. Perhaps some of the survivors barely had time to bury their loved ones, much less mourn, before the forced march began. Isaiah’s prophecy promised a time when they would no longer fight, when “every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire” (Isaiah 9:5). But in the moment, they knew the sorrow of great loss.
Did their hearts sting when they remembered the prophecy?
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. –Isaiah 9:6
Jesus is our Everlasting Father.
Isaiah says the Son
will be the Father.
We usually think of Jesus as the Son and God as the Father, but Isaiah says the Son will be the Father. A good father is a “compassionate provider and protector” (NIV Study Bible notes for Isaiah 9:6). Jesus certainly displays these characteristics.
Good fathers are compassionate
Jesus had compassion on crowds and disabled people. Matthew tells us “he had compassion on them” (or some variation) four times (Matthew 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34). He acted compassionately toward people in pain such as the bereaved mother near Nain. He cried over Jerusalem for the suffering still to come in the city, and he wept with friends when they lost their brother (John 11:17-44).
Good fathers are providers
Jesus’ compassion intersected with his provision in situations such as the feeding of the 4,000, where he said it about himself.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.” –Matthew 15:32
He goes on to feed all of them with seven rolls and a “few small fish” (Matthew 15:32-38). Because he had compassion for them.
Good fathers are protectors
We don’t see it clearly throughout the gospels, but as Jesus prayed for His disciples at the end of His earthly ministry, He reflected on the time they had spent together.
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. –John 17:12
Turns out, He had been protecting them all along!
It was Jesus to whom
I prayed for protection
Have you ever prayed to Jesus for protection when you were afraid (reasonably or unreasonably)? I have. As a little girl afraid of the dark, I would find comfort and protection in singing the old hymn, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name.” When my husband and I found ourselves lost in a scary part of town in a foreign country in the middle of a rain storm, it was Jesus to whom I prayed for protection and guidance.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. –Philippians 2:10-11
Every knee should bow. There’s no greater protection than to be guarded by this One.
It may be hard for us to wrap our minds around the idea of Jesus as a Father, but it’s clear He demonstrates many characteristics of a good Father.
We can’t leave this idea of Jesus as Father without talking about how Jesus also reveals God the Father to us. He told the disciples,
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. –John 10:7
Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. –John 14:9
It is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and Father is in me. –John 14:10-11
This Father faithfully sticks with us,
bears with us, encourages us, and
celebrates with us when we enter Heaven.
Isaiah described our coming Father Jesus as everlasting. It’s the idea of enduring. Beyond a simple physical presence (fulfilled by the father who sits in his lazy boy watching TV), this Father faithfully sticks with us, bears with us, encourages us, and celebrates with us when we enter Heaven.
Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. –Matthew 28:20
Maybe you had a good father, maybe you didn’t. Maybe your father sat around on the couch in his underwear (my Best Christmas Pageant Ever reference for this Christmas). Maybe he coached your little league team and clapped too loud at your college graduation. Either way, you have another Father, an Everlasting One, who was promised thousands of years ago and began his earthly life in a manger.
As you celebrate this Christmas, think on that.
Can you think of any other ways Jesus demonstrates Father-like qualities in the gospels? This is a new idea for me, and I’d love for you to explore it along with me. Share your thoughts in the comments below!