If you are anywhere near a Christian church this time of year, you will hear the following Bible passage, which is from the book of Isaiah, about 700 years before Jesus was born:
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [Isaiah 9:6]
This morning’s sermon focused on these names of Jesus.
“Wonderful counselor” is fairly obvious to us. Even most non-Christians are willing to believe that Jesus was a great teacher, and many of His sayings are memorable. However, it is easy to see Him as only a teacher who is in the past, and to forget that He continues to teach us through the Scriptures, the preaching of the Word, and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
“Mighty God” is less obvious, but not less important. Isaiah’s prophecy is that Jesus will be God himself, sent here to take the form of a man. This makes him different from any other religious teacher. Of course, Christians recognize Jesus in this way.
“Everlasting Father” is the hardest of these names to understand. Instead of thinking of this in terms of the Trinity, we should think in terms of human relationships. Leaders in many cultures are called “fathers”. (Think of the title of a priest, for one example.) Jesus, as the head of the Christian Church, is our Father in this sense. He displays this role after he rose from the dead in John 21:5, where he says, “Children, do you have any food?” Because He cannot die (he got that over with 2,000 years ago), he is an Everlasting and perfect father.
“Prince of Peace” is a title that we must have faith to believe. It begins when we turn to Jesus for forgiveness of our sins. Then we have peace with God. As the kingdom of God advances, His peace will also spread, although in the present age there will be people who oppose God, and our own sinful nature creates a war within us. However, when Jesus returns, all evil will be utterly defeated, and all things will be made new.