Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Prince of Peace

Comments On 2nd Quarter Lessons 2004: #5

Isaiah presents the many names of Jesus. Each of these names has a meaning that sheds light on the many great attributes of Christ’s character. There was a time when naming someone was a solemn event, because the name carries the definition of your character. Such was the case of Jacob, which means supplanter. The name may announce an event to come. Such is the case of Isaiah’s two kids. The name may be a witness about an attribute of God. Such was the case of Isaiah, which means Jehovah is Salvation. In the book of Isaiah we find among many naming expressions the term: Prince of Peace.

We read in Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This same verse we sing in Handel’s Messiah every Christmas season. The late Rich Mullins also used it in his song Peace:

“Hold me Jesus, ‘cause I’m shaking like a leaf, You have been King of my glory, won’t You be my Prince of Peace.”

Somehow the image of Christ holding our trembling bodies in the midst of a treacherous event is very comforting. Could this be the secret of experiencing peace?

What is Peace? There is a story of an art contest, where the theme was peace. All artists were asked to submit paintings with their rendition of what peace meant to them. The third prize went to an artist whose painting depicted a city destroyed by war, after the conflict was over. The second prize went to an artist whose painting depicted a beautiful sunny day at a prairie. The artist's work placed emphasis on the blades of grass bent in. The first prize went to an artist whose painting depicted the violent white waves of the sea hitting against the rocks, where a serene pigeon looked on without concern of what would happen. We always define peace as the absence of conflict. But while the first two paintings depicted just that, in a human being there may still be that inner restlessness. Most people who know me describe me as calm and reserved. Yet, many do not know that I have an type A personality. All my restlessness is inside. I have a long way to go to be like that pigeon sitting by the rocks. The pigeon is like Christ: in that it did not matter what was happening on the outside, Jesus remained for the most part calm, unless the moment required some exertion. Peace is a state of mind that comes from knowing that God has all under control, even every detail of our life. We have this knowledge by believing through faith in Christ as our Savior. You are in agreement with God.

I guess the biggest question is: where can we find peace? My answer is in the Light. (Jesus says in John 9:5 … I am the light of the world.) John also says He is the Word made flesh. In Psalms 119:105 it says:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Light, like truth, exposes everything. It shows us where we stand. It shows the road where we should head. We first have to accept where Christ is showing us that we stand. Then He will show us where to go. Light always makes darkness disappear. There is no peace in darkness. But, we love darkness, and run away from the light. Therefore we never have peace: Also in John:

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Now, to love darkness and evil, not only means to get involved in the occult or pagan worship… but, those who believe in evolution and existentialism (or any of its derivatives) also live in darkness, and have no Peace. There are those who think they can bridge the gap between the Light and darkness, for example those who believe that science has more authority than the Bible. They live in a delusion. They too are in darkness. They have no peace. To have peace you must love its source and must partake of it. That source is Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace.

Those who live in Peace become like Christ. They become Peace Makers. This is not the same as Peace Keepers. Peace Keepers believe in peace at any cost. Their goal is to avoid conflict, to stay in the darkness. They will, if necessary, give up their integrity or moral authority. Peace Makers want peace even if it means their life. But, under no circumstance, will they bend their standard of moral integrity. There is no shortcut or compromise for Peace Makers. For Peace Keepers, compromise is the best tool. Peace Makers realize that to be at Peace with God means to be at war with the World. Peace Keepers want to avoid any type of conflict now so they choose war with God, later. Now it’s up to you, choose then whom you will serve: The Prince of Peace or the Prince of Darkness.

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