Bible Ballistics Vol. 10 No. 22 **MY Prince Of Peace**
**This is a guest post from my friend Susan Roach, wife to a pastor, mother of two teenagers, former missionary to Africa, writer and presently a public school teacher, among other things. I hope it will bless you as it has me, and that you will have a renewed sense of your “Prince Of Peace”. Thank you Susan for such a moving and timely word for us today.**
“Some girls just sit around like Snow White waiting for their Prince Charming.” The teacher of my marriage class at church made this statement. His point was that marriages aren’t fairy tales, but my inner little girl was bristling.
“Snow White didn’t marry Prince Charming!” I blurted. “Cinderella married Prince Charming. Snow White’s prince didn’t have a name.”
Then, the conversation took a left turn as a room full of 40-somethings debated the names of cartoon princes. I’m not proud to say that I even went home and googled it just to prove myself correct.
Cinderella’s prince didn’t have a name in Disney’s version, either. It’s just popular culture that has named him “Charming.” In fact, Cinderella, Snow White, and Belle all married nameless princes in their Disney films. I felt a little offended for those royal guys once I found that out.
Fairy tales. They just fall short of real life. You see, I really do have a Prince who has swept me off my feet. He even rides a white horse (Revelation 19:11-16). And He most defiantly has a name – a host of names, some of which were prophesied hundreds of years before He was born. One of my favorites is “Prince of Peace,” from Isaiah 9:6.
At Christmas time, we hear so much about peace. We retell the story of the angels who lit up the night and told cowering shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” We sing about peace in our Christmas carols. We give red and green tea towels and cards and candles featuring the word “peace” in fancy script.
But if we aren’t careful, we divorce the concept of peace from the Prince. We make it a warm, fuzzy idea instead of a name, the name of a Person, the name of our sovereign.
Jesus is our peace.
A person. Not a feeling.
Jesus redefined that peace Himself with some of His last words to His disciples – right before he was drug off to be crucified. Jesus looked at those men, men who would watch their master be tortured and killed, men who would one day face similar fates themselves, and said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” (John 14:27)
No kidding it wasn’t as the world gives! Jesus was giving them His peace, knowing that in the next 18 hours, He’d be tried, beaten, and crucified. These men were about to live a horror movie themselves, and Jesus promised to share His peace with them? Isn’t peace the absence of horror? The absence of trial or conflict? I mean, the cute little Christmas cherub ornament holding the “peace” plaque looks well fed and content.
No. Jesus clearly knew what they all faced. “Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. … I have told you these things to keep you from stumbling. They will ban you from the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering service to God. They will do these things because they haven’t known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things so that when their time comes you may remember I told them to you.” (John 15:20, 16:1-4)
Jesus knew the disciples would face far greater trials than awkward Christmas dinners with their in-laws. He knew they’d experience hardship heavier than a couple of siblings jealous of each other’s gifts on Christmas morning. In fact, they’d have to endure things more challenging than caustic co-workers, unreasonable bosses, wayward children, or even the heartbreak of failed marriages. They’d go toe-to-toe with things as difficult as abuse, cruelty, and even the youthful deaths of people they loved more than life. Every nasty thing this broken world can throw at us, those disciples would have to live through.
And Jesus promised them peace.
Because He is the Prince of Peace.
Not because they’d have the absence of conflict, or sorrow, or heartbreak.
Because they had Him.
He was quite specific that he wasn’t offering them the “peace that the world offers.” That kind of peace doesn’t depend on Jesus, and therefore it is fleeting. The world’s peace flows from temporary situations or things: beach vacations, new cars, well-decorated houses, snuggling with our kids sipping hot cocoa on snowy Christmas Eves.
Peace that Jesus give depends on a permanent person who is with us in every situation. My Prince sticks, whether I am on the beach or a bomb shelter. And He gives deeper peace than any walk in a quiet wood could offer. He made it possible for sinful me to have peace with God.
Isaiah 53:5 tells us, “But He was pieced because of our transgression, crushed because of our iniquities, punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.”
Jesus had peace to offer His disciples hours before horror began because He was about to go fulfill this verse, written hundreds of years before His birth. He was about to go take their punishment for them.
At Christmas time, as we celebrate His birth, let us never get over the wonder of His death! My Prince was punished so I didn’t have to be. He took it all for me. He became my peace with God on that cross.
That means the worst of conflict – the conflict between me and God — is cancelled. And that inner conflict where I torture myself with my regrets and failures, that’s null and void, too. Jesus paid the price for everything I’d like to beat myself up about. He gave me peace with God and, as a result, inner peace. And that is true no matter my job situation or financial status. It’s true whether my teenagers are acting the way I’d like them to, or whether I’m healthy or ill, or whether I’m living in the wealthy United States or the poorest village in Africa (and I’ve done both) – I have that peace.
Or I could have it. If I’d just put my eyes on my Prince, and not my situation or my feelings. If I’d just choose to remember His words.
“I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you may remember I told them to you.”
And that’s maybe where I fail most often. I choose to put my eyes on my things, on the people around me, on my personal happiness level, and I forget – forget! – Jesus words.
The very words He made such a point to tell me to remember.
In Ephesians 2:13-14, Paul wrote to Gentile believers who were trying to fit in with their new Jewish brothers: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility in His flesh.”
There it is again. He is our peace. The person of Jesus is peace. It didn’t matter if these particular Jews and Gentiles really enjoyed each other’s personalities or not. It didn’t matter if they felt affectionate toward each other. The Prince of Peace had drawn the Gentiles near to Him, right into the Jewish Christian fold. And that was a fact – no matter how any of them felt about it. Jesus had made peace between the Gentiles and God, and thus between the Jewish and Gentile believers. He was their peace. Their emotions were not their peace. Their Prince was.
My emotions go up and down depending on how much I’m enjoying the company of the person beside me, how much positive feedback I get for a job I tried hard at, or even on how much sleep I got last night. But the fact of Jesus’ peace – the fact that He drew me near to Himself, paid my sin price, and promises to set all things right in the end – that doesn’t change.
I’ve just got to remember.
Remember my Prince. On His white horse.
Who has a name.