“And His name will be called… Prince of Peace.”
The name “Prince of Peace” is the Hebrew Shar Shalom, which means “the one who removes all peace-disturbing factors and secures the peace.” This instantly sets Him apart from those human rulers whose reigns depend on bloody conquest, for His rule rests on a bloody sacrifice. What a contrast to such biblical kings as Nebuchadnezzar, and even David, whose rule was established on power but not peace.
The name “Peaceful Prince” helps to explain why Jesus disappointed His countrymen when He came. They did not want a peaceful prince. They wanted a monarch who would annihilate their foes and reestablish the glory Israel knew in the golden days of Solomon. They want- ed Rome and all their other oppressors taken away.
But Jesus didn’t lift a finger against Rome, nor did He make any international peace treaties. How then can He be considered the Prince of Peace? Going further, notice two very different statements from the New Testament: Luke 2:14 states, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” But in Matthew 10:34, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
How can these two statements be reconciled? The answer of the New Testament must be considered. It claims that the first phase of His coming was to establish a basis for peace with God and to offer it to individuals of all nations. The New Testament also claims that He will come a second time to bring peace to the earth.
According to the apostle Paul, the first phase of Messiah’s coming produced a peace unknown to man since Adam’s sin. It is rooted in the saving mission carried out by Christ on our behalf. Paul wrote:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 COR. 5:19).
This means that the peace Jesus provides by His work on the cross is more than a negotiated ceasefire between ourselves and God. It is a peace that changes us from enemies of God into the children of God. “It pleased the Father… by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled” (COL. 1:19-21). The Prince of Peace has brought to us the opportunity to have peace with God.
What is the importance of the name “Prince of Peace” to the one who believes in Christ?
Those who trust Christ as their Savior are given by God an assurance that flows out of this new relationship with Him. Once we are in Christ, the Prince of Peace shows us that He can bring peace wherever He rules. He can bring:
Peace in life’s trials. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (JN. 14:27).
Peace in life’s maturing process. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely…” (1 TH. 5:23a).
Peace in life’s victories. “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (ROM. 16:20).
Peace in life’s relationships. “… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (EPH. 4:3).
Peace in life’s witness. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (GAL. 5:22-23).
What a treasure is ours in Isaiah’s predicted Messiah. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. May we give Him our full devotion, as we ponder the great God that He is!
What Do You Call Him?
Jesus asked His disciples a critical question: “Who do you say that I am?” (MK. 8:27,29). This is the eternal question because it is only by acknowledging Jesus Christ and responding to His gift of forgiveness by faith that a person can live forever.
Isaiah made it clear that when the promised Messiah would come, He would fulfill the matchless titles he had prophesied: “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” Jesus Christ came into the world and proved beyond a doubt that He was the Messiah by fulfilling all those requirements. He was God in human flesh, come to reveal deity and redeem humanity. On the strength of His ability to fulfill all these things, He made this claim: “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (JN. 14:6).
This is the claim of the Bible, and the heartbeat of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ is God and He came into the world to rescue lost humanity. What is your response to that claim and to the evidence that He is the only deliverer for sin-burdened people who are the object of God’s love? Will you receive His gift of forgiveness?
If you already know Him, will you live under His perfect will and wisdom so that He may guide you into a life that pleases Him? May it be so, for He brings peace wherever He reigns!