Sunday, December 23, 2018
His Name Shall Called – Prince of Peace
To us a child is born, to us a son is given... And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. On the night of His birth, the angels announced that peace was coming to the earth.
Luke 2:10-14 “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
One of mankind’s greatest desires is to experience “peace on earth”:
• President John F. Kennedy declared, “...peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all our people. I believe we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.” Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He died without seeing the goal of world peace accomplished.
• Guitarist Jimi Hendrix said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will finally know peace.” Hendrix overdosed on sleeping pills and died on September 18, 1970. He died without the world finding peace through love.
• Musician John Lennon stated, “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.” Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to the song “Give Peace a Chance” sold at auction for $833,654. The song says, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” It became the anthem of the anti-war movement in the seventies. Another song by Lennon says, “Imagine all the people living in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” Lennon was murdered in New York City on December 8, 1980. He died without experiencing the peace he had imagined would come to earth.
I don’t need to tell you that “peace on earth” is still rare today:
• There is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
• There is genocide in Africa.
• There is terrorism in the Middle East.
• There is violence in our neighborhoods.
• There is discord in Parliament.
• There is conflict in our homes.
• There is anxiety in our hearts.
You might feel like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when he wrote,
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, goodwill to men.”
Will there ever be “Peace on Earth”?
One of the most shocking statement Jesus ever made is found in Luke 12:51: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division” (cf. Matthew 10:34).
The human race is divided because of the coming of Jesus into the world. Some choose to trust in Him; others choose to reject Him.
» Jesus Christ will bring peace to Israel and the world when He returns.
Isaiah 9:7a “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.”
Micah 5:5a “And he will be their peace.”
Peace is frequently mentioned in the book of Isaiah:
• Isaiah 2:4 “He will judge between nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
• Isaiah 14:7 “All the lands are at rest and at peace; they break into singing.”
• Isaiah 32:17 “The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.”
• Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”
One week before His crucifixion, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38). The people’s praise is reminiscent of the angels’ message in Luke 2:14.
But Jesus knew that, in the end, He would be rejected. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:42). Because of Christ’s rejection, the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning peace on earth have been postponed until the Second Coming.
HOW CAN THE PRINCE OF PEACE GIVE US PEACE TODAY?
1. Jesus can give us peace with God.
This kind of peace is harmony with God.
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When a person is “justified,” God declares that person righteous (innocent of sin).
Romans 4:5 “To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”
• When Adam sinned, his guilt was credited to us.
• When Christ died, our sin was credited to Him.
• When we put our trust in Christ, His righteousness is credited to us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
One of the benefits of justification is “peace with God.” Romans 5:10 says, “When we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son.” Sin causes hostility between God and man. But when a person puts his trust in Christ, he is declared righteous (innocent) by God. And hostility is replaced with harmony (peace).
Some people say, “I made my peace with God.” But only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can make peace between God and us.
• 1 Timothy 2:5-6 “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”
• Colossians 1:20 “...making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
• Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
• Ephesians 2:13-14a “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace...”
ILL: Don and Carol Richardson worked as missionaries among the Sawi people of Indonesia. When they went to these isolated head-hunting cannibals in the early 1960s, they struggled to learn enough of their language to share the gospel. Finally, Don climbed the ladder into a Sawi building and, surrounded by the skulls of cannibalized victims, began trying to teach. The Sawi were bored and unresponsive.
Although fascinated by the foreigners, the Sawi continued to fight each other. Tribal factions battled within site of the Richardson’s’ jungle home. Eventually, fear and frustration led the missionaries to make the decision to leave. But when tribal leaders learned of their plan, they promised to make peace in the morning.
Don and Carol witnessed an incredible ceremony the next day. Two hostile groups were positioned opposite the Richardson’s house on either side of a clearing. Suspense filled the air. Finally, one man picked up his newborn child and dashed across the meadow. His wife ran after him screaming and begging for the baby to be given back to her. Unable to catch him, she fell to her knees and sobbed for her baby.
The child’s father presented his baby to the enemy tribe. The child was called the “peace child.” As long as the peace child remained alive the two warring tribes were bound to each other in peace.
From that day forward, Richardson taught the Sawi about the ultimate Peace Child given to mankind by the one true God. Chiefs who had once been unresponsive to the gospel now sat spellbound. First a few and finally hundreds of the once-cannibalistic Sawi’s received Christ as Savior.
“Unto us a child is born. And he will be called...Prince of Peace.”
2. Jesus can give us the peace OF God.
This kind of peace is the calmness of confidence in God. It is the opposite of anxiety.
The Lord is called “the God of peace” five times in the New Testament (Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20).
God is source of true peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He later said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Notice the contrasts between “in me” and “in this world” and between “peace” and “trouble.” The “peace of God” is independent of circumstances. In this world we may have trouble, but in Christ we can have peace.
You cannot have the peace of God until you first have peace with God.
ILL: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born and raised in Portland, Maine, in the 1800s. Henry became a Harvard professor of literature and one of America’s greatest writers. While Henry was publishing books, however, dark clouds were gathering over his life and over all America. In 1861, his wife tragically died when her dress caught fire in their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That same year, the Civil War broke out, tearing the nation apart. Two years later, during the fiercest days of conflict, Henry’s son, Charley, age seventeen, ran away from home and hopped aboard a train to join President Lincoln’s army.
On November 27, 1863, during the Battle of New Hope Church in Virginia, Charley was shot through the left shoulder. The bullet nicked his spine and came close to paralyzing him. He was carried into the church and later taken to Washington to recuperate.
Receiving the news on December 1, Henry left immediately for Washington. He found his son well enough to travel and they headed back to Cambridge, arriving home on December 8. For weeks Henry sat by his son’s bedside, slowly nursing his boy back to health.
On Christmas Day, December 25, 1863, Henry wrote a poem that has been put to music in the carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” This poem can only be understood against the backdrop of war.
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.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
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."
Then pealed 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."
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Much of this song speaks of the cannons thundering in the South. The poet feels like dropping his head in despair, but then he hears the Christmas bells. Their triumphant ringing reminds him that “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.” (adapted from Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul, Book Two)
One day Christ, the Prince of Peace, will bring peace to this earth, and today he can give you peace with God and the peace of God.