Our Prince of Peace - the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Our Prince Of Peace

Introduction:

A few weeks ago we started an Advent series based on Isaiah chapter nine and verse six.  Today is our last week of Advent and we will look at Jesus as “Our Prince of Peace”.   "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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Prince of Peace is the one empowered by God's Spirit to deliver His people and establish His kingdom.  As Isaiah prophecies, he assumed that the Messianic Child would establish God’s Kingdom on earth in one Advent and that when Jesus grew up he would rule in triumph for the nation of Israel.  Here in Isaiah 9:6 he recorded five things about the coming Messiah.

1.    He was to be born a Child. 

2.    He will rule over God’s people and the world. 

3.    He will have four descriptive names that will reveal His character; Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty         God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace.

4.    The Messiah, seated on David’s throne, will have an eternal rule of peace and justice for ever         and ever.

5.    This will all be accomplished by the zeal of the Lord Almighty. 

 

However, like the other prophets, Isaiah was not fully aware of God’s Sovereign plan of establishing a spiritual kingdom on earth which is open to both Jew and Gentile.  He was not informed about the great time gap between Messiah’s two Advents; his First and Second Coming.  

 

  • In Jewish thought, the Messiah would be the King of the Jews, a political leader who would defeat their enemies and bring in a golden era of peace and prosperity. 
  • In Christian thought, the term Messiah, or the Anointed One, refers to Jesus' role as a spiritual deliverer, bringing peace and freedom from sin and death to everyone.

Anticipation and Expectation

The Jewish people had many prophecies directed towards the Messiah and some were faithful to wait as we see in Luke 2:25-32.  In Jerusalem there was a righteous man named Simeon who lived in the prayerful expectancy.  At the time of Jesus’ circumcision the Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. He was led by the Spirit into the Temple just as the parents of the child Jesus brought him.  Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God saying “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 

 

Simeon had the right posture in life; he was a righteous man, devout, waiting in anticipation, the Holy Spirit was upon him, brought revelation to him and led him to meet with Jesus.  This is such a great example of what expectation looks like…  

 

What is our level of anticipation and expectation this Christmas season?  Do you remember the wonder of Christmas as a young child?  Do you remember waking up early for this holy day?   Unfortunately, for many, the anticipation of the birth of the Prince of Peace is somewhat lacking in today’s fast-paced materialistic society.  For some of us the expectation surrounding Christmas has become old and maybe even a bit religious.  So how do we renew our sense wonder at Christmas time?  I believe we must rediscover the Prince of Peace…

Peace defined:  

Peace is such a beautiful word conjuring up wonderful word pictures; a place of tranquility or quiet, freedom from civil or governmental disturbance, or a state of security or order within a community.  Many people today are looking for that place of peace where there is an absence of war.  When you look at a dictionary this is what you will see defined:

ï    The non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world.  

ï    An agreement or treaty to end hostilities and abstain from further fighting... 

ï    A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations: Try to live in peace with your neighbours. 

ï    Cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension. 

If these are the definitions of peace, then we live in a world where there seems to be very little peace – don’t we?  Within the last one hundred years we have seen WW1 and WW2, the Korean War and then Vietnam, the Cold War and then the Persian Gulf.  Now the world is ‘on alert’ against the war on terrorism.  All of this has been man’s attempt to bring peace on earth and goodwill towards man.  War will never bring peace to the world…  When peace is defined as the absence of war we sadly miss the mark.  

Shalom:

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where there is no war or fighting, no arguments or conflicts at all?  It is difficult to do, why?  Because from our earliest days we have never experienced peace or anything close to true peace because there is sin in the world.  Even in our Christian families there are expressions contrary to peace.  Leaders and people throughout history have talked about peace; but, few, if any, have ever had an actual plan to bring a lasting peace to the world! 

In the Western World, the term peace has been clearly connected with the absence of war; i.e. – if there is no war – there is peace.  However, God has a different way of defining peace.  The word that is used in the Old Testament for peace is “Shalom” and it means so much more than the absence of conflict.  Most of us would know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood to mean "peace."  And yet "peace" is only one small part of the meaning of shalom.  "Shalom" is used as a greeting – hello or goodbye – to give peace.  According to Strong's Concordance (7965) Shalom also means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.  Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full.

The Old Testament meaning of peace was completeness, soundness, and well being of the total person.  The traditional Jewish greeting, shalom, was a wish for peace, security, contentment and prosperity. and the absence of war also define peace.  

 

Ps 4:8 - I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD make me dwell in safety. 

 

Psalms 29:11 - The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. 

 

Ps 37:37 - Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. 

 

Ps 119:165 - Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Prince of Peace

In the midst of a world caught in war and unease, God has a plan – a Child born as the Prince of Peace.  The wisdom of God in contrast to the world is simply; the world seeks peace on a practical level but the Kingdom of God sees peace in the person of Jesus Christ.  Peace is actually a Person, it is not a geographical place free of war, nor an inner peace or a state or condition of inner calm like the New Age movement.  

In the New Testament, peace often refers to the inner tranquility and calm of the Christian whose trust is in God through Christ.  The peace that Jesus Christ spoke of was a combination of hope, trust, and quietness of spirit, soul and body, brought about by reconciliation with God.

In Luke’s Gospel 2:14 we are introduced to the choir of angels singing - “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”  The peace of God would touch and influence thousands during Jesus’ time on earth; he brought health and peace and righteousness from sickness and satan and sin.  

 

Rom 5:1 - Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

 

Eph 2:14 - For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…

 

Col 1:20 - and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 

In Conclusion:

In Isaiah’s day the Jewish people lived under the threat of war and captivity.  The same was true when Jesus was born the Prince of Peace; the Jews were under Roman rule.  The Prince of Peace was needed in the hearts of the people.  When you have Shalom or the Prince of Peace, whether you live or die, enjoy life or struggle through challenges, we do not have to fear or be anxious.  You know your purpose in life and you have a sense of wholeness and completeness because of the Prince of Peace.  This is shalom – this is the peace that Jesus brings for us because he is our Prince of Peace.

We serve a wonderful God.  Over that last few weeks we have looked at Isa 9:6 where Jesus is described as our Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and today our Prince of Peace.  How awesome to be a part of the Kingdom of God where our leader is defined by these Names, and many more as well. 

 

Every Christmas I am inspired by The Christmas Truce.  This was a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas of 1914, during WW1.  During the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and Christmas songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into "No man's land", where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing.  Why did opposing soldiers who were fighting to the death engage in the Christmas Truce of 1914?  They had hope for a better life in light of the Prince of Peace.  

In Application:

Let’s allow the Spirit to intercede for us where we are weak and lacking peace.  

Let’s receive Shalom from our Prince of Peace.  

Let’s share the Prince of Peace with others.

 

 

Amen…