Jesus, Prince of Peace

The prophet Isaiah had several names/titles for Jesus.  One of my favorites is Prince of Peace.    No single title is enough to describe who Jesus is and what he does for us.  Jesus offers us internal peace.  The Hebrew Testament concept of peace implies wholeness.  Who doesn't want that?  Author Warren Wiersbe gives my favorite definition of peace, "the possession of adequate resources' (The Names Of Jesus, 66).  When you observe Jesus in the gospels, He is the embodiment of peace despite the fact that He lived in a time of violence, oppression, racism and poverty.  Sound familiar? 
     The birth story of Jesus we celebrate at Christmas was certainly difficult.  First, Mary had to tell her fiancé that she was pregnant and that God was the Father.  Joseph did not believe her until an angel spoke to him in a dream.  In that culture, Mary could have been killed for adultery.  I doubt that many in her home town believed her miraculous conception story.  Second, the young couple had to make a long trip to Bethlehem when Mary was 9 months pregnant.   This trip was to pay taxes to the hated Roman empire, the oppressors of Israel.  They could not find a hotel room but had to stay in a stable.  In our day, Joseph would have taken some serious heat from his wife for not making a reservation!  And yet, throughout the story we see God provide for them.  This provision included extravagant gifts from some Eastern Magi.  Most importantly, God protected them from Herod the King, who slaughtered all the little boys in the area trying to kill Jesus.  Peace is not merely some emotion or feeling, but a deep joy and confidence based on our trust in God.  It is what we develop when we genuinely believe that we have the ADEQUATE RESOURCES to deal with life.  What are some of the adequate resources Jesus, the Prince of Peace offers?
     Through the cross, Jesus is able to offer us unmerited favor.  Despite our cosmic treason (R.C. Sproul) against God, the cross satisfies our sin debt to God's holiness and justice.  Jesus makes our payment for us.  To feel this emotionally, imagine if someone suddenly came into your life and paid off all of your debts.  No more mortgage, car payment, credit card payments or school loans.  Wow!  We deserve to be treated as enemies of God but because of grace, He invites us to become his beloved children.  
     Another resource from the Prince of Peace is the Holy Spirit.  When we become Christians we receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  He is called the Comforter.  He walks with us no matter what we face.  As we experience profound peace through the Spirit, it is like being deep in the ocean during a storm.  On the surface winds can sweep across the sea at 60, even 100 miles an hour.  Waves can rise up to 50 feet.  Even a mighty ship can be tossed like a toy.  And yet 300 feet deep in the ocean it is still calm and quiet.  God can give us a deep peace that is beyond whatever painful storm is blowing on the surface of our lives.   
     In a world of fake news and even changing scientific "facts," the truth of God's revelation is refreshing.  God has spoken to us about life.  The Creator of life itself knows best how life should be handled and He gives us the principles that enable us to thrive and flourish instead of withering under error filled human wisdom.  The Word of God gives us a firm foundation on which to stand and healthy parameters to guide our thinking.   It is a light for our path. 
     Obviously no church is perfect, but most are filled with sincere, loving people who want to bless others.  I have spent my entire life in the church and have been blessed in so many ways by  Christians.  From the senior citizen that took our young, broke family to lunch on most Sundays for years, to the man who drove our family to Anchorage when my wife experienced a medical emergency and I had just worked a night shift so could not be trusted to stay awake for the long drive.  I have Christian mentors that I can call at any time for encouragement and guidance.  I have observed countless volunteers at church invest in my kids.  The people of God are not without flaws, but they have been a profound encouragement to me.   
     This Christmas as you connect with family (in person or via zoom), eat delicious food and open thoughtful gifts remember to focus your thinking on the Prince of Peace.  Life is not all holidays and smiles.  It can be hard, even crushing.  Turn to the Prince of Peace and grab hold of the robust resources he offers to help with life.  This peace is part of the NOW power of the gospel.  I hope you have a Merry Christmas filled with God’s peace!

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church