Prince of Shalom
Is 9:6; 11:1 - 11
Christmas is a time of joy and celebration. Most of us have already enjoyed the giving and receiving of gifts. Lets not just to think of the little baby in the manger but think of the life and ministry of Jesus while here on earth. Today we want to focus our attention to his ministry of peace.
No one likes to live in turmoil and tension. There is often tension in our families. There is tension between people groups, between countries or nations. Wars and fights; arguments and beatings; destruction and hatred - all these things happen because we do not live at peace with each other. When man was created he lived at peace not only with his mate but with nature. It seems that man and animals lived side by side until the fall. Man's sin, his disobedience brought destruction and tension between all the elements on this earth. God's curse was that man would have to work diligently to bring harmony to mature and to be able to live. Some day the world will be restored to the wonderful condition by the by the prince of peace. Is. 11:1 - 11 indicates that a time is coming when harmony will be restored. In Rom 8:19 - 23 Paul indicates that there is a time of transformation coming. It will not be a temporary peace but an everlasting peace.
Many people demonstrate for world peace every year on August 6th in Hiroshima. Every year there is fighting and quarreling amongst the organizing group. That makes the whole peace demonstration a sham "nisemono". There is usually no true peace in the lives of those who try to bring about this event for a day of world peace. Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of inner tranquility. It has nothing to do with the condition of the outside of man but everything to do with the condition of the inner man. Men who are not at peace with themselves cannot create world peace. Peace can only exist when men are at peace with themselves, with their world about them and with God. Do you have this kind of peace? Where do we find this kind of peace?
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. Only Jesus can remove the root cause of the tension, destruction, and war. What brings war? Injustice, greed, lust for power, dehumanization and exploitation. These are all sins of man and against what God wants for all people.
The word peace used in Isaiah 9:6 is the word "shalom" This is a beautiful word in the Hebrew and has wonderful meanings. Even today in modern Israel and among Jews, Shalom is a greeting like "Hi" but with a much more significant meaning. The dictionary gave me 7 meanings for this word as used in the Old Testament.
1. Sound, well in health
2. Wholly complete
3. Safe, secure, enjoying peace
4. Peaceable, friendly disposed
5. Health, welfare, prosperity, peace
6. Peace vs war
Jesus is the Prince of Shalom. He is the one who can give health and safety, security and friendship.
When we read the stories of Jesus, we see that he had a calm and peaceful nature. He fell asleep in a boat that was being tossed about by waves that threatened to sink the boat. The disciples were frantic but he was asleep. When they awakened him he calmed the storm. Many people find themselves in the midst of a storm of life. It may be in our family, it may be at school, it may be in our business but as a Christian, we can call out to Jesus, the Prince of Peace and He can calm the storm and calm our hearts as well. We need not get frantic or overly troubled when God is in control.
Just after that stormy night they arrived across the lake from Galilee at a place called Gerasenes. A demon possessed man met them. This man was very strong. Even though they chained him and locked him up, he broke the chains and went into lonely places. For a long time the man had not worn clothes or lived in a house but among the tombs. Everyone but Jesus was frightened by this man. At Jesus command the demons to leave the man and when the people of the community came to see Jesus, they saw this man sitting at Jesus feet listening to him, dressed and in his right mind. These people were frightened when they realized his mighty power even over this formerly demon possessed man. They asked him to leave the area. Jesus has power over the powers of evil so he is a peace. We too can live at peace because we have this power in our hearts.
Where do we find this peace that Jesus gives? Peace is the work of righteousness. "The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest." Is. 32:17,18. Thus if we are to search for peace we must find righteousness. Where is righteousness? The Japanese have a very interesting character for the word "Righteousness" The character has two parts. The top part is the character "sheep." The bottom part is the character for "us.". I think that this kanji tells us the gospel. The Bible tells us that the wages of disobedience to God is death. If we disobey God we all deserve to die. Sheep were used for sacrifices and through a sacrifice of a lamb people were made righteous. Their sins were forgiven. The Prince of Peace was also called the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." When Jesus the sheep covers us ( is over us) we are made righteous. That happens when we pray to God and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse our hearts. When we ask God to forgive us, the peace of God floods our hearts and we experience God's righteousness. I will never forget the day that I asked Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me. I realized that I was a sinner and my only hope was to ask Jesus to forgive me. His peace filled my heart when I finished praying. As long as I tried to run my own life there was turmoil but when I asked Jesus to control my life, I have a peace that even when difficulties surround me, I have assurance that God is in control.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace because He brings harmony between God and man. Jesus is the mediator between God and man. Jesus is the reconciler. Eph 2:14 says that Jesus is our peace. When Jesus came to this earth as a baby and angels spoke to the shepherds and praised God saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests." Does God's favour rest on you? He died instead of us. When Jesus died for us, this peace become a reality. Only as we believe that he died for our sins do we personally receive His peace.
Jesus told his disciples n John 14:27, "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." Jesus gives peace which does not come from pills or quiet vacation places. Jesus gives peace and a victorious Christian life. As we walk with Jesus in life He will show us His peace. His peace comes form this word. Jesus taught us to not fear because we can pray to the Mighty God, the God who is all powerful and in control. In Jn 16:33 Jesus told his disciples. "I've 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 . "
Let's not keep the Prince of Peace to ourselves but let us share this wonderful story of Jesus with others so that they can experience true peace themselves. The best Christmas gift we can give to others is the gift of eternal life. We do not need to wait for peace to come to this world because peace is already here. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace and we can experience His peace in our everyday life.