Monday, December 9, 2013

Jesus: Prince of Peace

What do you want for Christmas?  My littlest one has Barbies on her list.  Instead of dreaming of sugar plums, she has high-heeled shoes and doll houses in view.  She and her compatriot upstairs were comparing notes; "If she gets 2 Barbies and I get 2 Barbies and I have 2 Barbies and she has 2 Barbies, Mom, that's 8 Barbies!

Me? My list is shorter.  I want peace.  

I have peace.  I have no enemies (well at least no one I hate.  Anyone who hates me is thankfully keeping it to themselves right now.)  I am happy in my marriage, and my tween and I still talk instead of argue. Our extended family is warm and supportive.  Our church spans two continents and is true spiritual family, but still I want peace.

When my oldest daughter is playing "Feliz Navidad," and her sister is belting out the words, I may wish for quiet.  When the two of them are bickering about whose turn it is to play PS3 with Dad, I may wish for harmony.  But the peace I am talking about is something more.  

When Isaiah talks about Jesus being the Prince of Peace, he is not promising that our Savior is going to make our lives noise and argument free.  Rather he is saying something about the kind of prince Jesus will be.

First Jesus is the son of the King who comes to make peace.  Paul says in Ephesians that in his own death he not only made peace between Jew and Gentile making them all one based on their baptism into his death, but he made peace at the same time between them and the Father.   Or to use Paul's words "He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near" (Ephesians 2:11-22).  

He also came to bring a kingdom of peace.  Isaiah describes it as a kingdom where lions and lambs lay down together.  It's a place of healing and a place of freedom.  Even more than that though Isaiah says the Prince of Peace rules a kingdom of powerful justice (Isaiah 9:6-7).

In our peaceful American existence we may not tie justice and peace together but in the developing world they know that when injustice flourishes the oppressed are without peace.  War follows quickly behind as the oppressed rise up to become oppressors. What we really need is a massive reversal.  We need politicians who tell the truth and the hungry to be filled.  We need the blind to see, the lame to walk, and soldiers to recycle their tanks into tractors.  (Matthew 11: 1-6, Isaiah 35, Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3) And we don't need it for a new political cycle, we need this covenant of peace to last forever (Isaiah 54:9-14).

Every year when Linus stands up and declares again "That unto us a Child is born," he is declaring anew that the great Kingdom of God is ruled by the Prince of Peace.  That his, "power will never end; peace will last forever. He will rule David's kingdom and make it grow strong. He will always rule with honesty and justice. The LORD All-Powerful will make certain that all of this is done" (Isaiah 9:7 CEV).

This is the peace I have been longing for.  To borrow a phrase, it's my grown-up Christmas list.  I want to see the Prince of Peace come to reign in the lives of the people I love.  I am renewing again my efforts to pray that they may accept the free gift of peace with God.  I want to see the Prince of Peace reign in his Church.  I long for my congregation to be the means by which peace and justice comes to our neighborhood and our country.  I want to see the Prince of Peace reign in truth.  I long for the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  That's a confession I am ready to make.  I am ready for peace.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 

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