I am about to write something that is very controversial to many in our current society, yet shouldn't be. In fact, some people will think my statement narrow-minded or out-of-touch with our modern world. Yet study after study shows my statement is far from being some idea stuck in ancient-but-irrelevant sensibilities.
What is this "provocative" statement?
Fathers play a crucial role in our world.
The University of Texas unveiled research five years ago that showed kids who grew up with involved fathers were more likely to...
...while being less likely to...
Now, don't mishear me: if a person grew up with an absent father, it does not make them a less-than in our world. And yes, there are always outliers that "disprove" these statistics. But the research is hard to deny - fathers play a crucial role in the lives of their children. As you consider the conclusions of these studies, it is obvious that fathers are supposed to encourage, protect, and guide their children to become the kind of citizens our world needs.
Perhaps this is why God had Isaiah call the child mentioned in Isaiah 9:6 the "Everlasting Father."
We are in a series called Christmas in July where we are looking at the four titles given to the "Given Son" Isaiah talks about in his famous passage. Take a quick moment to remind yourself of these word so often heard during Advent...
Isaiah 9:6, ESV
When Isaiah wrote that this Divine Child would be called the "Everlasting Father," he was not engaging in the heresy of modalism. Modalism says there is one God who manifests Himself into one of three different modes. In other words, Modalists believe God reveals Himself as the Father OR the Son OR the Holy Spirit. I don't want to take the time to debunk this doctrinal error (I'll let someone else do that), but it is my belief Scripture teaches there is One God who reveals Himself simultaneously through Three Persons. (This is why this past Sunday, when Bella and Jeremiah were baptized, you heard me and Chad quote from Matthew 28:19 that we were baptizing them in the Name of the Father AND the Son AND the Holy Spirit.)
So if this baby is not God the Father in a different mode, then why does this Given Son carry the title "Everlasting Father"? Because like a good earthly father, this child would grow to encourage, protect, and guide His people.
That's exactly what we see Jesus do. In the book of John alone, we see Jesus...
In other words, during His time on earth, Jesus did all the things a good father does. And because He is the "Everlasting Father," He continues to do these things today.
So let me ask you, how are you letting Jesus be like a good father in your life?
If you grew up with an awesome dad, let your earthly father's example point you to the perfection of Jesus. Or if your dad wasn't exactly the most stellar human being in your life, then let Jesus fill the gap. In other words, no matter what your past relationship might have been or might currently be with your earthly father, let Jesus be like a dad to you, helping you know you are deeply loved, and that no matter where you go, He will be with you.
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