Where is this Prince of Peace?
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
- Warsan Shire, Somali-British poet
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
The promised Messiah was called “Prince of Peace” and Christ promised peace to his disciples. Yet peace with God involves opposition to evil. Christ also brought conflict, a sword:
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matt. 10:34
How do we hold both these biblical truths in tension?
Certainly there is little evidence of peace in the fearful, violent world we live in. From refugees fleeing cruelty in the Middle East to the random shooting of a beloved teenager in Knoxville, we are all touched by brutal injustice. The inevitable result of Christ’s coming is conflict—between Christ and the evil one, between Christ’s followers and those who have no knowledge of the Prince of Peace.
For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? II Cor. 6:14
So what is this peace that the angels proclaimed to the shepherds the night Christ was born?
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:4
The Roman world was experiencing Pax Romana, “Roman Peace” evidenced by the external absence of war. The angels sang about a deeper, more lasting peace—an internal peace with God and between men and women who are Christ’s disciples.
May you experience the peace that only Jesus Christ can give this Christmas season and may you be a peace-maker wherever you are.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7