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. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Christ is Precious
When we are gloomy and grumpy, everything seems to go wrong. But when we are cheerful, everything seems right! I never want to be discouraged, depressed, or downhearted, but sometimes I am. Sometimes holidays trigger negative feelings and many people are downcast at this time of year. I know the remedy, but sometimes I am slow to use it myself. The cure is a fresh look at Christ the Lord, looking up to Him by faith and calling on Him for help.
Songwriter Michael Card says: “All we could ever imagine and ever hope for, Jesus is. He is the Prince of Peace whose first coming has already transformed the world. At His second coming, Christ will bring a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness, justice, freedom from sin, and right standing with God lasts forever. God gives us all this and infinitely more in Jesus, the Son of God, born as a poor baby in a barn in Bethlehem. This is what Christmas means. In a place where we expected to find nothing good, we find Christ, the Son of God, who gives us exceedingly abundantly above all that we can want or imagine.
This builds on our previous post: Jesus: Our Everlasting Father (Part 1)
Last time we saw that the Bible is not confused about the Holy Trinity, but that Christ is father-like in valuing, accepting, and caring for us.
Jesus Is Also Father-like in Loving His followers
This overlaps with our last post but is worthy of further attention for our encouragement. Christ says in Deuteronomy, I did not set my heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest! Rather, it was simply that I loved you, and kept the oath I had sworn to your ancestors. That is why I rescued you. Understand I am indeed God. I am the faithful Lord who keeps my covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes my unfailing love on those who love me and obey my commands.1
The Bible’s concept of covenant means that Christ has bound Himself to us in a loving relationship. In Hebrews 2, Jesus says He is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters and He calls us the children God has given Him. Amazing! Christ is our Elder Brother and He also says, “You are my spiritual offspring, descendants, and children. My Father gave you to me in the covenant of redemption. And I saved you by my life, death, and resurrection. And my love for you is endless and my mercy endures forever. I’m your Everlasting Father!”
Christians Are Jesus’ Treasures
Christ says, “You are mine, all mine, my cherished jewels, my own extra special treasure, and you’ll get privileged treatment when I go into action. I treat you with the same compassion, kindness, and generosity that good parents give to children who honor them.”2 The Lord’s excitement in these words shows the pride God has in Jesus’ followers. Christ valued His repenting and believing Old Testament people and now Christians are also God’s treasured prizes!
The Apostle Peter wrote: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.3
Jesus’ Church does not replace Old Testament Israel, but Christ is building a new Israel of God as He builds His Church. Christ is not content to allow His kingdom to be limited by any borders.4 The hymn says: “Jesus shall reign wherever the sun does its successive journeys run. His kingdom will stretch from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more.” The Book of Revelation says: “The kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.”5
Jesus’ Church is a nation without any capital on earth.6 And He is still gathering His followers out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end. Christ provides for, pardons, protects, and rescues us for Himself and for eternal life. And we share in Jesus and in all His treasures and gifts.7
An Ah Ha Moment
While teaching a college class, I contrasted Jesus’ liberating and life-giving message with the Rabbinic Judaism of His day. I cited a Jewish prayer from the first century A.D. (still used today) which goes like this: “Blessed are you, Lord, King of the universe, For not having made me a Gentile, For not having made me a slave, And for not having made me a woman.”8 Then I reminded students how Jesus’ gospel of grace is radically different.
Scripture says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”9
One African-American student had an “aha moment,” suddenly seeing Jesus in a new light. She commented, “Wow! I am a Gentile, my ancestors were enslaved, and I am a woman. What amazing grace that Christ comes to love us, save us, liberate us, include us, and help us. What a Wonderful Savior He is!”
Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”10
Beloved, will you come NOW to Christ in prayer for the first time or for the zillioneth time? He will never reject you or cast you out.
He’s our Everlasting Father!
To be continued. See Jesus: Our Everlasting Father (Part 3)
Notes (various Bible translations used): 1 See Deut 7:7-9; John 14:15-21, 15:10-17. 2 See Mal 3:17. 3 1 Peter 2:9-10. 4 See Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47, 26:23, Phil 3:3; and O. Palmer Robertson The Israel of God, p. 118. 5 Rev 1:15. This verse also appears in Handel’s “Messiah.” 6 G. Campbell Morgan. 7 Adapted from Heidelberg Catechism. 8 Siddur Tehillat Hashem Nusach ha-Ari Zal, According to the Text of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Merkos L’inyon Chinuch; Reprint edition, 1982). 9 Gal 3:28-29. 10 Matt 11:28-30.