Advent Devotion: Why Only ‘Prince of Peace?’

Post a Comment » Written on December 17th, 2003     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (December 17, 2003)  – Covenant Communications has posted a  number of Advent devotionals in recent days. This one is from pastor  Gary Downing of Rochester Covenant Church in Minnesota.

Here’s a pop quiz for you: Why is Jesus referred to in the biblical  birth narratives as only the “Prince of Peace” and not the “King of Peace?”

I was studying to try and figure out if there were some deep, ancient  theological reasons for this title. When I asked my staff they replied,  “Oh that’s easy. It’s because his dad was the King and Jesus was only a  baby then . . .” What do you think is the answer?

Sometimes I try to read too much into a question and miss the obvious. I  think their (the staff’s) straightforward responses were correct. The  ancients didn’t have the problem of understanding a relationship of  essence between a father and a son, or a king and his prince, like I do.  For them, “I and my father are one” equaled full participation and the  same nature between the two, not defined and divided by what I would  consider different roles. This is part of the paradox of the Incarnation   (the “enfleshing” of God in Jesus of Nazareth) . . . Father and Son,  King and Prince. Advent can help bring that into focus.

What does this tell us about peace? A prince born is the fulfillment of  hope. Jesus as the “Prince of Peace” demonstrated that a long foretold  promise had come true. The heir to the throne carried the same authority  as the one who sat on the throne. God’s peace had begun, even if it was  not fully experienced, through the birth of Christ – the Messiah.

The Hebrew scriptural promise (Micah 5:5), “He will be their peace,” was  realized in Jesus. Therefore, we can claim (via Ephesians 2:14) that “He  Himself is our peace.” What does that mean? Peace is not to be found  merely in the absence of war, or in exciting events, plenty of things or  positive circumstances. It is to be found in a relationship with a  person – Jesus – the baby born in Bethlehem. Peace is an interior sense  of being content, satisfied, at rest and whole. We find true peace by  being connected to our Lord Jesus. This is a truth our world has yet to  understand.

We live in the middle of a war in Iraq, a war on terror, wars on drugs,  on poverty, on racism, on sexism, on ageism, on sexuality . . . and the  list goes on. We live in a fragmented world divided by faith. The battle  lines are drawn and redrawn and the wars go on. Where can such a world  find peace?

That is part of the crucial message we have to bring at Christmas. Jesus  is our peace! We can find our rest and serenity, our real peace in Him.  As we experience this preparation time of Advent, remember that most of  the world does not know Jesus – and it does not know the peace that only  He can give. Does your family? Your friends? Your work or school  associates? The people whose paths you cross every week?

Christmas is a good time to say a good word for peace – to be  peacemakers – by introducing the Prince of Peace to people whose lives  are distracted, discontent and despairing that they could ever  experience true peace. That makes us evangelists – folks who can  announce GOOD NEWS to a war-torn and fragmented world.

As the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good tidings to great  joy, which shall be to all people . . .” May you experience the peace of  Christmas, even in the middle of the sometimes frantic schedules and  unavoidable holiday obligations.

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