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 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Last week we looked at two of the four names of Isaiah’s Christmas prophecy: Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. These names sound nice, but when we look a bit deeper, we see tremendous significance in their meaning. This week is a part two to last week, as we continue on with Isaiah 9:6 and look at the significance of the names Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. What would these names have meant to Israel, in time of struggle and pain (Babylonian Captivity) and what do these names mean for us?
Everlasting Father. Although this phrase could be taken as Father of all creation (and would be a truthful statement, as we see in the NT, Jesus is Creator of all), Isaiah’s emphasis is "Father" is in a family sense. When I think of the perfect dad in a family sense, I think of the strengths of my own dad. Two traits that come to mind are protection and provision. Having a dad that will always protect his family from all threat, and provide all your needs. Protection and provision are two things I am sure Israel would have been desperate for. For people constantly living in fear and struggle - they needed protection. For these people living in oppression - they needed provision. To look forward to a Savior who would be their perfect Father would have been highly anticipated and needed.
What does an Everlasting Father mean for us? In Jesus, you always have protection and provision. When do you experience fear? What are you afraid of? It could be the uncertain future, what people think of you, or perhaps what you think of you… Afraid of death and sickness, afraid of the darkness in this world… Whatever it is that you’re afraid of, you have been promised an ultimate protector in Jesus. He will be at your side at all times, no matter what - that you can call on for strength and protection. Will you rely on Him as your Protector? Will you call on Him to be your Provider?
Prince of Peace. The Messiah that was promised to Israel was one who ensured the blessing of peace for His people. He was and is the great prince who brings peace. In the Hebrew sense of the word, “peace” is more than just the absence of war. It is a condition in which all things follow their destiny undisturbed. Isaiah 11:6-9 gives a beautiful picture of peace: the wolf living with the lamb, leopard lying down with the goat, a cow feeding with a bear, and children playing near cobra’s dens. These are situations that would normally be full of chaos. But where the knowledge of the Lord is, peace reigns - and this is an unexplainable, unnatural type of peace. This is a peace that we can obviously see Israel would’ve been desperate for - anyone in that kind of struggle, people being held captive, would only wish for peace. They were promised a Savior that would be called Prince of Peace, the one and only who could bring peace.
What does Prince of Peace mean for us? In Jesus, we’re given unexplainable, unnatural, overwhelming peace. It doesn’t make sense for the wolf and lamb to live together in harmony, for leopards and goats to hang, and we certainly wouldn’t want children to shove their hands in snake pits. It also doesn’t make sense that we should be made right with God, that we should have peace and restoration with Him. We don’t earn it and simply don’t deserve it. We’re just loved. Period. Only through Jesus, our Prince of peace, through His death and resurrection can we find unexplainable, unnatural, overwhelming peace (on a spiritual level). But even on a day to day level, in our experiences with struggle and pain - we can be given peace that makes absolutely no sense. All of us go through things that are tough, but we are given the Prince of Peace to give us peace that surpasses all understanding.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace - what a Christmas gift Jesus is! My hope and prayer is that looking at these names in greater detail has given us all greater appreciation for who Jesus is. We are given a Savior with supernatural ability to make things right, who is the only one worthy to make a sacrifice on our behalf, who will always protect and provide, and who can bring peace to the whole world. Thank you GOD for this spectacular Christmas gift we have in Jesus.