Our church is going through the Advent this year for the first time. Different traditions organize and preach this series differently, but they all celebrate the Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy that first arrived with Jesus first coming as we look forward to His Second.
In Isaiah 9.6-7, a prophecy about the coming Redeemer, this young child (Jesus) is described as the “Prince of Peace.” I don’ t know about you, but when I hear “Prince of Peace”, I don’t think of some manly-manimal ready to conquer the world with all His might. Perhaps that is because my concept of what a “Prince” is has been perverted by the almighty gods of this world named Disney and Mattel. As a Father of a girly-girl daughter, I have watched every Disney & Barbie Princess movie there is at least 10 times each. What my daughter views as a “Prince”, sadly, is the emasculated blonde-haired, spray tanned, hairless wonder who refuses to get his hands dirty for fear of breaking a nail or dirtying his designer clothes. If that is the ideal picture of a Son of the King, then the image my daughter gets seeing me, her wookie-like Father who wears flannel, is a probably a bit of a disappointment.
While Jesus is the Prince of Peace, he is not “princey”. In fact, He doesn’t bring “peace” at all as much as make and keep the peace as Kings are supposed to do when dealing with injustice and unrighteousness (Psalm 72). Isaiah helps destroy the idea that Jesus would be little more than just a Birkenstock wearing, tree-hugging, flower child with a weird glowing ring around his head. On the contrary, this Prince would be a powerful leader with the authority and power of a just ruler. Isaiah says this King would have the government upon his shoulders, he would be wise, strong, everlasting, and ultimately lead a kingdom that was peaceful because his Kingdom would be established and upheld by righteous judgment.
Baby Jesus can be called the Prince of Peace because, though he comes in love, he comes to lead, judge, and conquer. Not only is Jesus not “princey”, he does not make peace in a “princey” way. This baby comes as the King, righteously judging the sin of those he loves, and then taking all of the punishment it deserves upon himself demonstrating his mercy and grace. Accepting Jesus as King, isn’t just celebrating Him as a little baby that proves God loves me, it means worshiping Him as the baby who judges the self-centered kingdom I have tried to build apart from Him–and continue to build. He does all of this that he might make peace with the Father for me, despite me. As Romans 5.1 says, we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The King came, the King conquered, and the King reigns, and the King will return to bring everything fully to and end–a final restful peace. But for those who put their faith in Jesus, in some sense, the war is over now. Through Jesus, we have peace with God. With that peace comes, RIGHT NOW, a sense of love having been adopted’ into the royal family; with that peace comes a hope that this world is temporal and one day you’ll be with the King; with that peace comes a security that the King is always going before you to protect you; and with that peace comes a joy inexpressible because you know that God is pleased with you because he is pleased with Jesus–he is never disappointed.
Peace is not manufactured through MORE kindness, tolerance, and education. True peace, SHALOM, true contentment, wholeness, prosperity, satisfaction, and rest comes through accepting and worshipping Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords–and believing He is ruling and returning.