6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
(Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV, emphasis mine)
Today we look at the fourth of four attributes of Messiah – “Prince of Peace”. There is so much to share here – may you find comfort in these few thoughts.
The word “Prince” (Hebrew “sar”) means leader, commander, or captain – one who has authority and responsibility and is under another’s authority.
The word “Peace” (Hebrew “shalom”) means wholeness and unity of relationship. The term “shalom” is about internal peace of soul and spirit and is separate and distinct from the external circumstances that surround us.
When God created the world and humans, there was peace, there was shalom between God and humans. Adam and Eve chose to break that peace by deliberately disobeying God and choosing to live life on their terms. Our selfishness created strife between God and humans, and among humans that is still in effect today.
God, in His grace and mercy, desired a restored relationship, complete shalom, between Himself and humanity. Isaiah prophesied that Messiah will be the One who ushers in, who restores that peace and rules over it from that point forward. Isaiah later describes the peace that will pervade all creation when Messiah takes his throne.
We cannot earn or create peace; God gives it as a gift. Messiah was God’s gift of peace to humanity, to you and me, to end the strife and war between God and humanity. We started the war by our deliberate disobedience. God ended the war with the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf. The question is, will we accept His terms of peace and surrender to Him?
Jesus gives instructions to His disciples (and to us) before He leaves earth, reminding them (and us) that we can still experience His shalom after He returns to heaven:
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.
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 14:27, 16:33 NIV, Jesus speaking)
The Apostle Paul reminds us of the peace we now have with the God of the universe through Christ:
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
(Romans 5:1-2a NIV)
And what is our role in this peace, as followers of Christ? The Apostle Paul gives us some help:
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
(Romans 12:18 NIV)
Scriptures tell us that complete peace is not possible until the Prince of Peace comes back to restore His rule and reign. Shalom started with God, and will end with God. Between now and then, let us continue to share Messiah’s shalom with others through forgiveness and reconciliation, just as we experience it from Him.
A promise kept, and yet to come.