Prince of Peace | Isaiah 9:6

Introduction

The five names given to Christ by Isaiah’s prophecy are not repetitious. Each one describes a different attribute of his character. As “Wonderful,” he is the awesome One, the God-in-the-flesh miracle worker. As “Counsellor,” he advises us of all things right and best. We do well to walk in the path he directs. As “mighty God,” he is the Divine One, very God of very God. He who knows him knows the Father also. As “everlasting Father,” he is a provider, protector, and disciplinarian for his children. Everything a good father is, he is. And now, as “Prince of Peace,” he gives his divine calm to those who trust him.

I. The promise of peace

Our world has known so little real peace. When Isaiah spoke this prophecy twenty-eight hundred years ago, his nation was threatened with destruction. Already the rumblings of war, defeat, and slavery were heard on the horizon. Within a generation the nation would be suffering the bondage of Babylon. Yet Isaiah held out to the people a magnificent hope. He said, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isa. 9:2). Where is this light? “Unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given: and his name shall be called . . . Prince of Peace.” The Hebrew word for peace, shalom.

II. The promise fulfilled

A. While shepherds watched. It was a wintry night in old Judea. The shepherds had built a fire in the crevice of the rocks and huddled together to escape the cold. They were the least to expect that this night the Prince of Peace would come. Because they were shepherds, they were ceremonially unclean. They were not allowed inside the “church.” They were the nobodies of their day. They could not be called as witnesses in court, for who could believe the testimony of a shepherd? They were despised, looked down upon, and often hated.

The Jewish Talmud says, “Give no help to the heathen or a shepherd.” But there is no such prejudice with God. These who were the forgotten among men were not to be forgotten by God. Sometimes we may feel like the shepherds, outcast from the world, alone and lonely, and forbidden the “niceties” that others have. We feel friendless and lost. Our despair increases until we almost wish life would not have a tomorrow. The Scripture says, “He . . . giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). It is to that type of person that God most often reveals himself. It was true of the shepherds in Bethlehem’s field.

III. Messiah’s peace

Jesus is in truth the Prince of Peace. The peace he came to give is peace that passes the understanding of the world. It is not a political peace, a peace among nations, a peace that outlaws war. It is more than nonaggression treaties. What is the peace Jesus came to give?

A.      A peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Sin separates. It puts a barrier between man and God. This wall of partition destroys peace. Isaiah said, “There is no peace to the wicked.” Sin is the great disturber, the constant troubler of the heart. It is the source of all disorder, strife, jealousy, envy, covetousness, hate, war, and killing. Jesus came to restore order to your heart. He came to redress and redeem. In preparing Joseph for Jesus’ birth, the angel said, “Call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Do you have this peace with God in the forgiveness of your sins?

B. The peace of God. Not only does Jesus give us peace with God, but he gives the Christian peace of God. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When the apostle wrote these words, he was a prisoner in Rome. In that cold and lightless dungeon, Paul relied on the peace of God to keep him. Paul spoke of an inner calm, a serenity of soul, an inward peace born of faith and trust in God.  Christ had this peace. It gave him calm in the midst of a midnight storm when all others were afraid. It was the poise of mind that brought his tormentors to naught when they sought to trap him in his words. It was love that caused him to say on the cross, “Father, forgive them.” This is the peace of God.

C. How can I find this peace? This peace of God does not come through the world of men. Search as you will, you cannot find this peace in worldly amusements, possessions, or acclaim. Jesus said, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth.” The peace of God is a gift. You must accept it in humility and thanksgiving. The Old Testament prophet said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isa. 26:3). The last phrase is the important one — ​“because he trusteth in thee.” These words contain the secret to the possession of this peace. The person who trusts his life to God through Jesus Christ has this peace. It is God’s gift in response to repentance and faith.

Conclusion

The peace of God is really the gift of himself. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For he is our peace” (2:14). The peace of God is God. This is the real meaning of the angel’s song. Peace on earth means Christmas — ​God with us.