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Prince of Peace
Picture in your mind a massive hurricane. Violent winds are whipping the water into a frenzy, and giant waves are beginning the pound the shoreline. Chaos is reigning on both land and sea. Crews are working desperately to anchor their vessels so they are not beached, or worse, sunk.
Towns and villages that dot the shoreline are in full tilt panic. People are rushing around getting ready for the inevitable. And then just in time to escape the storm they pack up cars and head inland.
This is not a portrait of peace.
But if we look deeper, about 20 feet below the surface of the water, the picture changes. The waters are calm and clear. The fish and other sea life are completely unaware of the chaos that is overhead.
There is a truism that we can take from this picture, and that is where there is depth, there’s peace.
This is probably why there is so little peace in the world, and in our lives, and that’s because there is no depth in our relationship with God and His word. We are mile wide with our opinions and experiences, but only and inch deep in our understanding of God and the knowledge of His word.
Peace is at the heart of what everyone wants. We all want peace, peace in the world, peace in our lives, and peace in our relationships, and we’ll do just about anything to get it.
And while peace is our greatest hope, it’s really an elusive dream. We catch glimpses of it, but as soon as we do it’s gone.
We watch the news only to see how desperate this world is for peace. We have wars and rumors of wars, terror threats and bombings, coups, uprisings, and genocide. We have disharmony in our government, violence on our streets and in our schools, conflicts in our homes, and anxiety and stress in our lives.
In Jerusalem, the city known as “The city of peace,” there is continual conflict and war. Here’s a city claimed by most every religion out there, but not only do they not get along with one another, but they have failed to find a solution.
The world tries to find peace, but miserably fails, because the only peace that the world can offer is a cessation of war, which we have seen time and time again fail.
But if we honestly evaluate the lack of peace in the world and in our lives, what we find is a common denominator, and that is our disobedience to God and to His word, which stems from an unrepentant heart, a heart that refuses to turn towards God and His ways. Instead what we have are hearts that are turned more towards the world and its ways.
Real peace, however, having a peace that lasts is a gift given by God, because the Lord personifies not only what peace is, but also peace itself. We see this brought out in several places. First through what the writer of Hebrews says.
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” (Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV)
We see this also in the priestly blessing commanded by God to bless His people.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul likewise gives the same blessing to the church in Thessalonica.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NKJV)
Therefore, the peace that matters, and the peace that lasts and has stood the test of time, is the peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ, whom the prophet Isaiah describes as the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah speaks of the coming of the Messiah and His names, all of which can only be given and applied to the Lord God Himself.
“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.” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)
Being the Prince of Peace means that He is the one who rules over peace. We might say that there is no real peace outside of having faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus confirms that true peace can only be attained through Him.
Knowing the trials and tribulations awaiting the disciples, Jesus wanted them to know that they could achieve the peace they desired, not from the situations, but rather in the midst of the situations, because He overcame and the battle has been won.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
The peace Jesus references is completely independent of the situation or circumstance. The world and trouble are synonymous, but in the midst of this troubled world a Christian can have peace, because Jesus overcame the world through His death, burial, and resurrection.
The Peace Jesus Brings
Peace With God
“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 NKJV)
Jesus contrasts worldly peace with God’s peace. Now, the peace the world gives, as I have mentioned earlier, is the cessation of war and an end to hostilities. It’s calling for peace pacts, peace accords, and peace agreements, but unfortunately, they are all short lived.
No place is safe from conflict. It’s tragic to hear people wanting to move to all these different places trying to find peace and safety. The only problem is that they’re looking in all the wrong places, and when tragedy strikes, which it inevitably will, they get discouraged and depressed.
Jesus, however, brings peace, but not in a way many would like or even want. Right now He doesn’t bring peace to this world; rather, He brings peace with God, which is far more important. This is because He came first to rule over our hearts as the Prince of Peace. When He returns, however, He will bring a true and lasting peace to this world, and that’s because He’ll be ruling over his world as King.
Further, Jesus didn’t come to offer a life without conflicts. Rather quite the opposite.
“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51 NKJV)
He goes on to say that this division will be at the most intimate level, that is, within one’s own family as father and son will be divided, as will mother and daughter. And it’s all based upon our faith in Him, or lack thereof.
There is no real peace outside a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is what the Apostle Paul says to the church in Rome.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1 NKJV)
There are some who claim they’ve made their own peace with God, but that is not possible, because the power to attain such peace does not reside within us. Peace is only available through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Only He can bring peace between God and us.
Only those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for them upon the cross, believing in Him as their Savior and Lord, can have their sins forgiven and be made righteous in the eyes of God. Only then can they have peace with God.
To the church in Colossae Paul said, “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20 NLT)
This was exactly what the prophet Isaiah foretold of the coming Messiah, Jesus.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)
What does Jesus being our Prince of Peace look like?
It begins with knowing that our sins have been forgiven, that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that our eternal home is secured in heaven. It’s a peace that helps us understand that this life is not all there is, but rather it continues into eternity.
Peace Of God
This is the second type of peace Jesus brings. He is the source of true peace.
Until we reach heaven there are some things we’ll never quite know or understand. Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NKJV)
Our vision of the way things are is not fully clear. We’re not going to know the “why’s” and “wherefores” we so desperately long for. Further, there are things that will happen that bring pain, grief, and sorrow that we’re not prepared for.
But the peace of God is knowing that God is sovereign and in control. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi said it best.
“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 your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
Notice that this peace is beyond our understanding. It transcends all human wisdom and knowledge. You might say it is unimaginable peace, and that’s because our limited intellect will never be able to figure out the limitless and infinite peace of God.
The peace of God anchors our souls, and keeps us safe from the storms that continue to assail us as our world crumbles around us.
Our problem is that we try to control the situations, even our destinies, rather than having peace knowing that God is in control.
It’s a peace that begins in the heart as Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)
This then goes a long way in explaining Paul’s statement requesting that the peace of God rule in our hearts, Colossians 3:15.
How can we then access this peace of and with God?
Trusting In Jesus
The prophet Isaiah said, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)
Eric Barker was a missionary during WWII. The situation was so critical in Portugal where he was stationed that he sent his family to England where they could be safe while he wrapped up some matters and join them later.
The next Sunday he announced that he had received word that his family was safely home. Only later did they find out what he meant. Prior to the service he received a telegram saying a submarine had torpedoed the ship his family was on and everyone on board drowned.
It was with the knowledge that his family was home in heaven because they had trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord that allowed Barker to live in peace despite the awful circumstances and overwhelming grief.
The peace God promises is not the absence of problems; rather it’s a sense of security, direction, and the presence of God in the midst of the turmoil and tragedies of life.
And so having peace stems from loving and obeying God’s word, and placing our trust completely in Jesus Christ.
There’s a hymn written by Haratio Spafford. In 1871 he lost his 2-year-old son in the great Chicago fire, which also ruined him financially. Two years later he lost the rest of his family at sea. He sent them ahead to Europe, and he would follow after he wrapped up some financial dealings. But their ship went down. After he heard of the tragedy, he booked the very next ship taking the exact same route. He asked the captain to show him the exact place the ship went down. Standing over the site he wrote the words to the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
• “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.
• Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.
• My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
• For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: if Jordan above me shall roll, no pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
• But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, the sky, not the grave, is our goal; oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul
• And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul.”
Is it well with your soul? Do you have God’s peace, despite the turmoil and tragedies of life? If not, then give to God your sorrows and pain, and in return He will give you His peace. As the old adage says,
No God, No Peace – Know God, Know Peace
Do you feel like you’re in a storm? He can bring peace and stillness to your life just as He brought peace and stillness to the sea saying, “Peace be still,” and the wind ceased and a calm prevailed, Luke 4:39.
If Jesus Christ isn’t your Savior and Lord, then you’ll never know what true peace is. But when you know Jesus Christ then you’ll know that true and lasting peace for your life.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study