The Prince of Peace?
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
December 23, 2007
Passage: John 1:1-18 (NLT)
was Christmas Eve. The year was 1864. The American Civil War was in
full swing, threatening to destroy our neighbours to the south. [For
sake of those reading online, I’m speaking from Canada and referring to
the entire US as the south.] Many young men were off to combat, either
for the Union States of the north or for the Confederate States of the
south. And after one particular battle, a retired Harvard professor
living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received word that his son Charles
had been seriously wounded in battle.
This professor, being a
bit of a poet, sat down the next morning—Christmas Day—and expressed
his anguish in verse. The father’s name–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
These are the words he wrote…
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of Peace on earth, Goodwill to Men.”
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
are very gloomy, hopeless words that that father wrote down that day.
“Peace on earth? Yeah, right. My son has just been critically wounded
in war. Where’s the peace?”
You know, this world has actually
seen very little peace. I mean, every Christmas we talk about Jesus as
being the Prince of Peace, we remember how the angel told the shepherds
that Jesus would bring peace to the earth, but all you’ve got to do is
turn on the TV or pick up the newspaper or visit a schoolyard, and
you’ll quickly discover that there is very little “Peace on earth.”
In fact, statisticians say that since the beginning of recorded
history, the world has been at peace less than 8% of the time!
In the past 3550 years, only 286 years saw peace.
During that time, more than 8000 peace treaties have been made—and
(Moody Bible Institute, Today In The Word, June 1988, p.33 date
adjusted for 2008)
That doesn’t sound like Jesus did what He was supposed to do, does it?
I mean, if He came to bring peace, why isn’t there peace?
it’s true that here in North America we tend to define peace by what
it’s not. We define peace as being the absence of war. That’s how we
typically look at it.
But did you know that peace means different things to different people
around the world?
To the Piro tribal people of Peru, the word “peace” means, “the
this place (one of you world travelers will have to tell me how to
pronounce it)—Zacapoaxtla—in southern Mexico the word they use for
peace means, “completeness.”
To these people (Gbeapo) of Liberia, it means, “my heart sits down.”
And to the Baouli people of Ivory Coast, it means “a song in my body.”
Okay, I don’t know how to pronounce their names, but I do know that
they paint some pretty nice word pictures there, don’t they?
another word for peace, too. It’s an old Hebrew word used by the
Israelites of long ago, and still used by Jews today. Anybody know the
word I mean?
Now, Shalom can actually mean a lot
of things. It can mean “hello”, it can mean “goodbye”, it can mean
“wellbeing”, and it can mean “peace”… but not just peace as in the
absence of war. Sure, it can mean that, but that’s not all it means. It
also indicates health and wholeness. It denotes harmony and
completeness. To have shalom is not just about having a quiet life free
from war; it’s to have a fulfilled life in every way.
have shalom there is no feeling of harm or hurt. When you have shalom
you are in a state of ease and safety. You don’t live in fear. There’s
no worry. There is a sense of harmony and oneness. You know your
purpose in life and you have a sense of wholeness and completeness.
Everything is exactly the way it should be; nothing is out of order.
It’s an inward state of being that is expressed outwardly. This is
shalom–this is the kind of peace that Jesus came to bring. This is what
we mean when we call Jesus the Prince of Peace.
And yes, someday
He will put an end to all wars and battles throughout the earth. But in
the meantime, He offers you peace in your very soul. He was, and is,
and ever will be… the Prince of Peace.
In fact, in the Old Testament, 700 years before Jesus was actually
born, Isaiah the prophet described Jesus this way…
Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)
a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest
on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty
God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Now, there’s a
lot of titles in there; I want to just focus in on that last one this
morning. “Prince of Peace.” Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.”
In Hebrew, the words that Isaiah wrote down were “sar-shalom.”
is the word for prince. Now, normal when we think of a prince, we think
of the son of a king. But that’s not what this word is designed to make
us think. This word literally means the head person, the captain, the
governor. It’s the man in charge. It’s the go-to guy.
couldn’t verify that there’s a connection, but that word “sar” reminds
me of another really old word: Caesar. That’s the title Romans used for
their ruler. That was their head guy.
And in Russia, right up
until the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russians used another very similar
title for their head of state. They called their ruler the, “czar.”
is the sar-shalom. He’s the Prince of Peace. He’s the one in charge.
He’s the source of shalom—well-being, happiness, completeness, peace.
That’s the context of Isaiah’s prophecy. That’s what the angel meant
when he told the shepherds that Jesus would bring peace.
for the rest of our time here this morning, I want us to look at two
ways that Jesus brings this peace to you and to me. Okay? And you can
use your notes to follow along and fill in the blanks.
What Ways Does Jesus Bring Me Peace?
Jesus brings peace between me and God.
As someone has said…
“It is not possible to have the Peace of God without Peace with God.”
we’ve talked about it before. Each of us because of the sinfulness in
our lives has a problem with God. Our sin separates us from God. When
we sin we do things that we know God wouldn’t approve of. He’s given us
His guidelines in the Bible, and when we choose to go our own way
instead of His, we create a barrier between us and Him. And it’s not
just our sinful acts that are the problem; it’s our sin nature that
leads to those acts. And we’re all born with a sin nature that
separates us from God.
And what this means is, we don’t have
peace with God. In fact, because of this sinfulness that’s a part of
who we are, the Bible actually calls us…
Romans 5:10 (NIV)
were God's enemies…”
sin separates us from God. So before we can have peace with God –
something must be done about that sin. And guess what? Something has
Take a look at this…
VIDEO – BLUEFISHTV.COM – JESUS: THE ULTIMATE GIFT
about it this way: our sin puts us in a state of war with God. We don’t
have peace. And so God the Father sent Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to
fix the problem. He sent the Prince of Peace give us peace with God.
And when that Prince of Peace grew up and suffered and died on the
cross, He made it possible for that peace to be realized.
Hebrews 9:26 (MSG)
sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other
sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.”
Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sin problem. And because of that, we
can now have peace with God.
Plus, because of Jesus, we can also have peace with ourselves.
Jesus brings peace within MYSELF.
Look at these words from Jesus…
Matthew 6:26 (NLT)
at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for
your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to
him than they are?”
Jesus taught us about our own worth. So how much are you worth? What is
your value? Later in Matthew, Jesus says…
Matthew 10:30 (NLT)
the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”
Jesus is saying there is, God loves you. He knows everything there is
about you. He cares about you. He longs to know you. In fact, He places
so much worth in you that He became a man so He could die for you.
That’s how much He values you.
Listen, God don’t make no junk.
Yes, I know, that’s not proper grammar. And we do have some teachers
here. But relax; you’re on your Christmas break. Just let this one
God don’t make no junk. What He makes is perfect. What He
touches is holy and pure. He takes that which is bent and straightens
it out. He takes that which is dirty and cleans it up. He takes that
which is broken and fixes it. If you are a follower of Jesus–if you’ve
accepted that what Jesus did by coming to earth and dying on the cross
He did for you–then you are His precious child and He values you beyond
measure. Look at what it says in first Peter chapter two:
1 Peter 2:9-10 (NLT)
you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s
very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of
God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you
received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
how God has valued you. That’s how He has shown you your worth. He’s
chosen you to be His people. And once you truly understand how much He
values you, that can’t help but to boost your own self-image.
know, a lot of people in this world live with a self-loothing. They
have no sense of their own worth. They despise themselves for their
limitations. And they beat themselves up daily. They have no peace
But the Prince of Peace has come so that we
can have peace within ourselves. So that we can understand our
self-worth. So we can see that we have value in God’s kingdom.
know who understands this? Robert Reed understands this. No, not the
Robert Reed that starred on The Brady Bunch. You probably don’t know
about this Robert Reed. So let me tell you about him.
Reed is not a movie star. He’s not a great athlete. He’s not
chart-topping musician. He’s a missionary. Robert graduated from
Abilene Christian University in Texas with a degree in Latin, taught at
a junior college in St. Louis, and ventured overseas on five mission
trips before finally moving to Lisbon in Portugal as a missionary in
1972. And when he got there, he did three things right away—he rented a
hotel room where he could live, he began studying Portuguese so he
could better communicate, and he found a restaurant owner who would
feed him – because he could not feed himself.
You see, Robert
has Cerebral Palsy. His hands are twisted and his feet are useless. He
can’t bathe himself. He can’t brush his own teeth. He can’t put on his
own underwear. His shirts are held together by strips of Velcro. His
speech drags like a worn out audio cassette. He can’t drive a car. He
can’t ride a bike. He can’t even go for walk. But that did not keep him
from becoming a missionary to Portugal.
Everyday, Robert would
station himself in a park where he would use his twisted hands to pass
out brochures about Jesus. And within six years, he helped introduce
seventy people to Jesus, one who became his wife, Rosa.
Robert could have been bitter because of his disease – but he didn’t.
Robert could have asked for pity – but he didn’t. Robert could have
adopted a really bad self-image - but he didn’t. Robert does just the
opposite. He celebrates.
Max Lucado is an author some of you are
familiar with, and he tells the story of Robert Reed in some of his
writing. And he tells about how he went to hear Robert Reed speak. Let
me read you what he wrote…
“I watched other men carry him in his
wheelchair onto the platform. I watched them lay a Bible in his lap. I
watched his stiff fingers force open the pages. And I watched people in
the audience wipe away tears of admiration from their faces. Robert
could have asked for sympathy or pity, but he did just the opposite. He
held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, "I have everything I need
~ Max Lucado, Peace that Defies Pain, p. 4
man who has peace within himself. That’s a man who understand his
worth. That’s a man who has experienced the peace that only the Prince
of Peace—Jesus—can bring.
Jesus came to bring peace… peace
between me and God, and peace within myself. That’s true for me; that’s
true for you. That’s the kind of spiritual peace we can experience
today because of the Advent—the coming—of Jesus to earth.
case you’re wondering… yes, someday there will be a physical peace,
too. When Jesus comes again—his second advent—He will fully establish
His Kingdom on earth and there will be peace. Isaiah wrote about the
first coming of Jesus; he also wrote about the second coming. He talked
about how on that day, wild animals will live in peace with each other…
animals that now kill for food will eat hay instead… little children
will be able to safely play around venomous snakes… and there will be
no more killing, there will be no more death… God’s peace will rule
Isaiah 11:6-9 (NLT)
that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie
down with the baby goat.
calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child
will lead them all.
cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down
together. The lion will eat hay like a cow.
baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child
will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm.
will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill
the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
I started off this morning by looking at that poem by Longfellow. Years
later, those words were put to music in a Christmas Carol I’m sure you
know – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. We’ve looked at the verse
where Longfellow expressed his despair and hopelessness after hearing
about his son being wounded in battle. But then he went on to write…
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.”
understood that even in a war-torn world, there is a peace that
surpasses all understanding—a peace that only Jesus can give. Let’s
we know that
one day you will bring a full and complete political peace to this
world. You’ll put an end to all wars and conflicts, there will be no
more death or destruction, there will be peace.
for now, while all of that is able to continue, thank you for coming to
offer us a spiritual peace… a peace between us and our Creator and a
peace within ourselves. For anyone here this morning, Lord, who is
struggling to experience this peace, we pray that you’ll make it a
reality for them. For those who have been living far from you, draw
them close we pray. Even at this moment, if they will decide to follow
you and live for you, we know that You will fill them with a peace,
knowing that they are made right with God. And for those who are
battling with a poor self-image and even with self-hate, we pray that
you will instill in them a sense of worth. Remind them of the value You
place in them.
thank You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prince of Peace by K. Edward Skidmore
Our Prince Of Peace by Tom Shepard
Prince of Peace by Hal Seed
Peace that Defies Pain by Max Lucado