Prince of Peace
Scriptures: Isaiah 9:6 John 14:27 Romans 5:8-10 John 10:27-28 John 16:7 Galatians 5:22-23 John 16:33 James 1:2 Philippians 4:6-7
And so December has arrived, cards and letters are being written and posted. Presents are being purchased and wrapped. I love the traditional carols and readings that we share each year as we focus on the amazing gift God made to the world when Jesus was born.
Isaiah, the prophet foretold this centuries before the coming of Jesus when he wrote: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder. His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
In a world that seems to be upside down, filled with war, violence and fighting, plus a worldwide pandemic, it is difficult to see how Jesus could be the all powerful Son of God, who acts for us in human history and is the embodiment of peace but, political harmony and physical safety are not necessarily the kind of peace Jesus is talking about.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The Hebrew word for ‘peace’ is ‘shalom’ and it often describes an experience of calm and tranquillity seen in individuals, groups and nations. This shalom is an every day word on meeting and parting among Jewish people. Paul uses the Greek word ‘Eirene’ to describe the objective of the New Testament church. He wants to point out a more foundational meaning of peace, the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s relationship with God.
In our sinful state we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10), but God has sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8). Because of Christ’s sacrifice we can know peace in our relationship with God. This is the deep abiding peace between our heart and our Creator and it cannot be taken away. (John 10:27-28) This is the fulfilment of Christ’s work as the Prince of Peace.
The sacrifice of Jesus gives us more than eternal peace. It also allows us to welcome Holy Spirit into our lives. He will guide us (John 16:7) and fill our hearts with love, joy and peace with God and others. (Galatians 5:22-23). While living in unity and peace with other believers is sometimes difficult we often find that living in peace in our own lives is quite a challenge.
Sometimes we feel that when we began our life as Christians it should be an easy life, but Jesus never promised that kind of peace. In fact He told us that problems would come to us.
“These things I have spoken to you that you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In his letter James speaks to us of the trials that face each Christian.
“Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that this testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:33-34) What Jesus promises to us is His peace which surpasses all our understanding.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as You look down upon the earth You see a world in turmoil. We are aware of how far the nations have fallen from Your perfect Commandments, and as Your people we cry out to You for forgiveness and mercy. May we know Your perfect peace amid the turmoil, and help us to reach out to many other lost souls drowning in the sea of man’s sinful state. May we, with the hymn writer Lief Enger, find ourselves declaring in the day of trials, “When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.” Help me to know Your peace that passes all understanding as I continue my journey through this precarious world. In Jesus’ Name and by the power of Holy Spirit I pray, Amen