Prince Of Peace
6 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. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace. There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice. From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
To start, I would like to share the story behind one of our favorite Christmas hymns, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” At the time of it’s writing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was happy in his life, enjoying a widening recognition, and elated over the election of Abraham Lincoln. He believed Lincoln’s election signaled the triumph of freedom and redemption for the nation. On July 9, 1861 Longfellow’s wife, Fanny, was near an open window when her dress caught fire and she was engulfed in flames. Her husband, sleeping in the next room, was awaked by her screams.
As he desperately tried to put out the fire and save his wife, he was severely burned on his face and hands. Fanny died the next day. Longfellow’s severe burns would not allow him to attend Fanny’s funeral. His white beard was one of the results of the tragedy. The burn scars on his face made shaving almost impossible. In his diary for Christmas day 1861 he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.” In 1862 the toll of war’s dead began to mount and in his diary for that year Longfellow wrote of Christmas, “A merry Christmas say the children, but that is no more for me.” In 1863 his son who had run away to join the Union army was severely wounded and returned home in December. There is no entry in Longfellow’s diary for that Christmas.
But on Christmas Day 1864 – at age 57 – Longfellow sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joy of the season. He began, “I heard the bells on Christmas day, Their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men.”
As he came to the third stanza, he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can I write about peace on earth, good will to men in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?” But he kept writing – and what did he write?
And in despair I bowed my head: “There is no peace on earth”, I said, for hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men. It seems as if he could have been writing for our kind of day. Then, as all of us should do, he turned his thoughts to the One who gives true and perfect peace, and continued writing: Then peeled the bells more loud and deep; “God is not dead, nor doth he sleep! The wrong shall fail; the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to men.”
I want to ask you a question, are you experiencing peace today? I once read about an interview that was conducted with movie actor, Harrison Ford, concerning the subject of possessions. Harrison Ford’s movies have brought in several billion dollars at the box office. In the interview he expressed his disappointment with money. Ford said, “You only want what you do not have.” The reporter pressed him further by asking, “What do you not have?” Ford paused and muttered, “peace.”
All people need peace. God would like to give you peace during this Christmas season. Jesus is the source of that peace? We have been looking at four descriptive titles given to Jesus, as recorded in Isaiah 9:6. The last title is “Prince of Peace.” This word peace in the Hebrew language is “shalom.” This was a word of greeting used by the Hebrew people. A greeting is a pleasant word. It is a word whereby you wish a person a good day. You wish them good things. God wishes to give you good things. God wishes you well. If Jesus is the prince of peace what will that do for you?
Peace comes when we find restoration with God. Relationships can become strained and restoration needs to take place. Anytime there is division there will be discomfort. Peace will be lacking and restoration is in order.
• If a husband and wife are at odds there will be discomfort. Somebody may have to sleep on the couch.
• If workers at the office are at odds there will be discomfort. Jokes will be few and far between.
• If parents and children are at odds there will be discomfort around the house.
There was a Peanuts cartoon with Lucy saying to Charlie Brown, "I hate everything. I hate everybody. I hate the whole wide world!" Charlie Brown says, "But I thought you had inner peace." Lucy replies, "I do have inner peace. But I still have outer obnoxiousness"
The Bible says our sins separate or alienate us from God, but Jesus will bring peace. But now you belong to Christ Jesus, and though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought very near to Him because of what Jesus Christ has done for you with His blood. For Christ Himself is our way of peace. He has made peace.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. Webster says a prince is “a preeminent person in any class or group.” The word prince comes from the Latin word “princeps” which means first or chief. Thus, Jesus is the chief of peace. There is another interesting observation from Webster. One of the descriptive phrases says a prince is a ruler whose rank is below that of the king. That also describes Jesus. His rank is below that of our Heavenly Father. Jesus brings peace. He controls peace. If you want to find peace you find it in Jesus Christ.
Have you given Jesus first priority in your life? Some of the hard sayings of Jesus were directed toward people who were struggling with their spiritual priorities. “When Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Mt. 8:18-22. When you study the context of that passage it is obvious that the question was asked by a man who was trying to trap Jesus. Jesus was not cold hearted. He wants us to be concerned for our families. However, He wants to be first in our priorities. Is Jesus first in your heart? If your answer is YES, then you should have peace in your heart. Everything should fall in place. Your relationship with God is in the right place and also your relationship with your neighbors.
Some people might register a complaint against God because there seems to be no peace in our world. Sound familiar! Why Isn’t God doing, with everything that is going on in our world? Well… He is! This is all part of His master plan. Remember…He is still the One in control!
Was God making an empty promise in the book of Isaiah? Was God a liar? Before registering a complaint against God let me remind you of something. When Isaiah wrote this book, God’s people were not experiencing peace. They were in the midst of trials. They were experiencing turmoil. Maybe God had something else in mind? Let me offer a suggestion. When God gives the comfort of peace it will be in one of three forms.
The book of Philippians is one such example. Paul was in prison when he wrote this book. He was in the midst of a storm. In chapter 4 of that book Paul shares an awesome word of comfort. He says…
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I recall… that the word guard is a military term. It is the term used to describe a soldier standing guard. See the thought? When we come to God in prayer… He will give us peace that will guard our hearts.
There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror of peaceful towering mountains. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rocks behind the waterfall. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? "Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."
When Isaiah wrote, God’s people were out of God’s will. They were living in rebellion and disobedience. A person living in rebellion will never find peace. When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they experienced turmoil. They immediately ran from God. They hid themselves. They lived in fear. There was no peace for them.
Jonah learned this lesson the hard way. God called him to preach in the city of Ninevah. Ninevah was a wicked city and one of the bitter enemies of the Israelite people. Jonah would have a natural prejudice toward the people of this city. Jonah thought he could avoid God’s will by running to a place called Tarshish. The Bible says Jonah sought to flee “the presence of the Lord.” He thought Tarshish would be a safe place. What he found was a whole different story. He experienced a horrible storm. He experienced the wrath of the sailors on board the ship. Ultimately, he spent three days in the belly of a large fish. Life outside of God’s will was not a pleasant experience for him.
Let me give you a verse to live by…
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
What an awesome Christmas present you would receive if you submit to God’s will today.
(1) God will sometimes comfort by taking away the storm. Jesus did this for His disciples. On one occasion Jesus and His disciples were on the Sea of Galilee when a storm arose. Jesus disciples were overwhelmed by fear. Jesus spoke to the storm as if it were a puppy and calmed the storm. Sometimes He will take away the storm.
(2) God will sometimes comfort through inner peace. God will give hope that comforts. Isaiah gave a promise that God’s people would find hope in Jesus Christ.
(3) God will sometimes comfort by giving peace in the midst of the storm. God never promised that He would always take away the storm. Sometimes the miracle is to find peace in the midst of the storm.
Pastor Richard Santos
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