“A bad father never has a good son” – Latin Proverb.
Researchers have shown that people who had bad or absentee fathers are: more like to be aggressive, more likely to be depressed, more likely to have self-esteem issues, more likely to try and use drugs, more likely to do poor in school and have an increased risk of suicide. There are parts of the brain that control cognitive thought and reasoning that never develop correctly and, in time, get developed in a destructive way. For girls, they often end up filling voids in their lives through bad or demeaning relationships. Often sex is a way to bond with a male figure in hopes it will keep them around. For guys they never learn how to treat women, deal with other men, leadership roles and many of those relationships can become abusive on many levels. Some fathers are in the home, every night but never attend a game, graduations, plays and special moments. Many don’t know how to express love, simply express pride or value. Many children go through life trying to prove themselves to their father and that carries through to adult hood.
So why this sad introduction? Simply because last time we looked at Isaiah 9:6 and how Ahaz the king had a problem. The problem was solved both immediately and later in the birth of Jesus. The real problem we have is sin and that sin separates us from God. Sin causes death. The problem of sin was conquered at the cross. Well the verse we looked at last time has more to it.
Isaiah 9:6 – For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The names in this verse tell us more about God and His son and remember this is a continuation of Jesus addressing our deeper problem. These names give us hope and confidence for the future and unfold the truth that He is the perfect fulfillment of everything our earthly fathers should be in our lives. Here’s the first name:
Wonderful counselor: Beyond understanding – beyond human understanding. Literally: wisdom with authority. As in: one who can determine the problem, understand the solution, sympathizes with the problem, empathizes with the problem and has the power to fix the problem. See a friend or parent can sympathize, empathize and maybe know a solution but how often does a friend or parent possess the power, wisdom and authority to solve your problem? Not often. Friends and parents come from a biased point of view. Their council comes from the vantage point of limited understanding and solutions are biased based upon emotion. A friend can help you feel better momentarily but they can’t fully solve the problems you are going through. Their power and authority is limited. Jesus has the wisdom, power and authority over all things. He also understands your problems and situations deeper than any friend ever could.
Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
He was the poorest of the poor, rejected, humiliated, mocked, tortured, spit upon and forsaken. His own family, nation and closest friends left Him. So what could you be going through that He has not Himself gone through? He is a friend that understands you, a parent who wants the best for you, a king who has the authority to deal with your problem and a God who has all power over your problem. When I am tempted- I should go to the one who was tempted yet sinned not. When I am hurting – I go to the One who experienced real pain. When relationships fail – you go to the one who had all His relationships abandon Him. Do so with the confidence that He is listening, understands and cries with you. Rest in the comfort that He overcame and provided a solution for your most important problem- sin.
The other names flow out of the similar thought. He is better than everything we can drum up to solve our own problems. A better counselor, a better god than those we create ourselves and a better father than even the best father your could hope for.
Eternal or Everlasting Father: a protector and provider. One who does not withhold love. What greater love can a father show than to lay down His life for you? He will not leave you in hard times. He isn’t too busy for you. He is not embarrassed by a poor performance or grade. He is not ashamed of you in failure. You can’t wander away too far for Him to reject you. Fathers fail. Fathers sin. Even good ones. Jesus does not. How comforting is that? Maybe you don’t have a father figure in the home. Maybe yours is jerk. Maybe he hurt you or still is. The father you need is found in Jesus. He is the ultimate provider. He is the ultimate protector. He is the one who cares for you deeper than any earthly father.
Prince of Peace: Back to where I started. Peace with God. Sin caused division/ separation. It causes strife in our relationship. That is solved at the cross. As Prince we rely on His decisions, direction and justice and we know that they are just and right for us.
So where do we go with this? How does this fit into your life? How can He council and father you? Well you have to have the desire to be helped and the desire to do what He says. In the Gospel of John (chapter 5) a paralyzed man desires to be healed but Jesus asked him a weird question: “do you wish to be made well?” Of course he did- right? But isn’t that us? Wasn’t that Ahaz? We want to be helped without the pain or implications it might mean? We want God to clean up our mess without dealing with the choices that got us there. Maybe it’s not a choice we made but a situation we are in. Can we ask for the power of God while rejecting the means of that power in our daily lives?
James 1:5-7 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
OUCH! Obedience doesn’t always make sense to your culture or your friends. In fact it’s often in conflict with culture. Perhaps that’s the point though. Back to the desire to be helped. Do you desire that – not like Ahaz but real and lasting help? I mean the choice between heaven and hell is a no brainer. But do you desire to be forgiven? It’s different isn’t it? Do you desire to be loved by a father who unconditionally loves you? Ok, then why don’t you let go of what’s holding you back? Fear? How well is it going on your own? This Christmas why not surrender to Jesus as Lord and let Him in your life?
If you want to know more about Jesus, forgiveness or what you must do to be saved. That’s what it really is. Saved from the punishment of sin. The Bible calls it Born again. Die to your old life and start new again. Maybe you need to talk through surrendering something in your life. Don’t hesitate to contact us or stop by any Friday at 7.
O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel.