“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
At Christmastime, this verse seems to appear frequently on Christmas cards, wall décor, and church power points, and it can be easy to skim it and skip by the richness of the words. We often focus on the part that talks about the child being born, and glance through the list of names while thinking to ourselves, “Yep, that sounds right. Those are all good names, and they describe a good God.” But taking time to reflect on each name individually brings so much depth to this prophecy that was fulfilled by the person of Jesus Christ.
When meditating on this verse, I love knowing that He is the one who guides me through difficult decisions (Wonderful Counselor), that He fights on my behalf (Mighty God), and that He loves me like His own beloved child (Everlasting Father), but I find myself often returning to the beautiful promise that He is our Prince of Peace.
Peace. What a beautiful thought to know that He is the Prince of Peace. He is calm when we are not. He brings tranquility to chaos. He is not surprised or rattled by life circumstances that often send me running, nor is He afraid of the things that I fear.
Luke 8:22-25 is one of my favorite examples of Jesus not only showing His might and power, but also embodying the peace that we know can only come through Him. In this passage we find Jesus and His disciples in a boat together, crossing a lake when a terrible storm came. Jesus was asleep in the boat when the storm started, and the text seems to say that even the turbulent conditions didn’t wake Him. As the conditions worsened and it says “they were in great danger” (vs. 23), the disciples woke Jesus, alerting Him that the boat was being swamped with water and they were going to drown. At this point in the story, it feels worth pointing out that several of Jesus’ disciples were career fishermen, so this was not a novice group of sailors. If they were this frightened, it shows that the situation was beyond their control and their expertise. Despite all their knowledge, training, and experience, this was something they couldn’t handle.
Verses 24-25 show Jesus’ answer to their fear and panic:
He [Jesus] got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”
Jesus did not wake up from a deep sleep and join in the panic, even though the expert opinion on the boat was that drowning seemed inevitable. Jesus spoke to the winds and the waves and they obeyed Him. He rebuked the chaos and He provided peace. He displayed His great power, but He also brought the calm and peace that the disciples longed for. The peace that saved them from death.
Maybe you are like me and there was a time in your life where traumatic things happened outside of your control and the fear was almost debilitating. Fear and anxiety can grip our lives and take over almost every area of our minds when allowed. I believe that one of the reasons Jesus was given the name “Prince of Peace” was so that we could be continually reminded of that aspect of His power and character. He does not want us to live in fear, in fact, He casts it out. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,” and God is the only one who is perfect love.
True peace is only available through a relationship with Jesus. In John 16:33 He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” When anxiety, fear, or sadness overwhelms us, we can take comfort in knowing that the Prince of Peace is with us. Notice that He never says we won’t have trouble – in fact, He is clear that it will be the opposite – but He assures us that He has overcome the world, and that through Him we may have peace.
In John 14, Jesus comforts and encourages His disciples by saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (vs. 27). He is reminding them that no matter what has happened in the past, or what the future holds, that they do not need to live in fear. He gives them peace, and the peace He provides is far superior to anything the world offers. The Prince of Peace gives the kind of calm assurance that is only available when you are living your life close to Him.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will rest in Jesus Christ and feel the peace that He offers. While the world around us may be in chaos, or we may be dealing with internal turmoil, we can trust Him to be the calm assurance that we need. Just like the disciples on the boat, even when things look dire, we can find salvation through the Prince of Peace. He can calm the winds and the waves, and He can calm any storm that we face.