December 10, 2023
Now, ya’ll know I love Christmas.
One of the things I love about Christmas is the Nativity Sets that people set up, as long as they do it right…The Wise Men were not at the nativity, they didn’t show up until Jesus was about 2 years old or older…so, set your wise men up in a different room away from the nativity and pretend they are on a journey, but they were not there.
When you look at a nativity set, it seems so peaceful and part of that is the way man has romanticized it.
Joseph and Mary with newborn child surrounded by sheep and shepherds, cattle, donkeys and other farm animals under the midnight sky.
We even sing about it in one the most peaceful Christmas songs ever written: “Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin, mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”
I seriously doubt that it was all that peaceful at least not the way we usually think of peaceful.
How many of you have ever been in a barn?
Okay, now how many of you have ever slept in a barn, filled with animals?
Okay, now how many of you have ever given birth in a barn filled with animals?
Ladies, I am just asking, would you find that to be a peaceful night?
We all long for peace in our lives, and yet peace is sadly lacking in our world.
People are full of worry and anxiety.
Relationships are full of conflict and stress.
The world is full of conflict and wars.
I have never seen, in my life time such a hatred of man on man in our country simply because of political affiliation, or ethnicity.
I’ve recently heard that menorahs are being removed so as not to offend pro Hamas, all the while they offend the Jewish population…200 High School students trying to break into a teachers classroom because she attended a pro Israeli rally…or Young Muslim kids gunned down because they are Muslim…there’s no peace…
But that’s where Jesus comes in.
Because Jesus is not only our hope at Christmas, he is also our peace.
And it is only in Christ that we will ever truly obtain peace on earth.
So that is what the Advent Candle of Peace is all about today.
Part of the Christmas story, part of the Christmas message is that Jesus brings us peace.
We will be looking at four aspects of the peace that Jesus brings this morning.
- Jesus brings peace with God.
- Jesus brings peace with self.
- Jesus brings peace with others.
- Jesus will bring peace on earth.
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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Of course this passage is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, God’s One and Only Son.
And this passage tells us that he is the: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
This morning I want to focus on the title: Prince of Peace.
JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE
BECAUSE JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE: JESUS BRINGS PEACE WITH GOD.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:1: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…
Notice that we are not naturally at peace with God.
The Bible tells us our sins have separated us from God, and it is only through Jesus and faith in him that we are brought into a relationship of peace with our God and Creator.
When God first sent the angel Gabriel to Mary, he sent Gabriel with a message of peace.
Luke 1:26-30, In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
Mary was troubled at the angel’s greeting, but the angel spoke words of peace and assurance to her, telling her not to be afraid because God was with her and she had found favor with God.
You might wonder how did Mary find favor with God?
The only way any of us find favor with God.
She had faith in God and in his promise of the Messiah to come.
Like so many Old Testament believers before her, she had faith in Christ before Christ even came.
And now God had chosen her to be the vessel through which his Son would enter the world.
God also sent an angel to Joseph, Mary’s husband-to-be.
And the angel told Joseph in Matthew 1:21, She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The name “Jesus” is the Greek word Ἰησοῦς which is derived from the Hebrew word יְהֹושֻׁעַ [yeh·ho·shoo·ah] or Joshua, which means The Lord is Salvation.
Jesus was given this name because he was the promised Savior who came to bring us peace with God by saving us from our sins.
When John the Baptist was born, John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied about John.
And in his prophecy he spoke about how John would go before Jesus preparing the way for this One who would bring us peace with God through the forgiveness of our sins.
Listen to the words of Zechariah in Luke 1:76-79, And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
How did Jesus do this?
Why is it that everyone who puts their faith in Jesus finds peace with God?
It is because of what Jesus did at the cross.
Jesus was born into this world to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be restored to a right relationship of peace with God.
As we read in Isaiah 53:5, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
That’s the first and most important thing the Advent candle of peace reminds us at Christmas.
Jesus brings peace with God.
BECAUSE JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE: JESUS BRINGS PEACE WITH SELF.
Sin not only separates us from God.
Sin also brings separation within our own being.
This goes all the way back to the beginning.
In Genesis 2:25, Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Then Satan comes along and tempts them with eating the fruit from the tree in the middle of the Garden and they ate.
Now, let’s pick this up in Genesis 3:8-10, Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Okay, in Genesis 2:25 there is no shame, but in Genesis 3:10, there is shame…sin brought shame.
Shame was never God’s intent for man, but it entered this world when man disobeyed God.
Shame is the Hebrew word, בֹּושׁ [buwsh /boosh/] and it means to have a painful feeling and emotional distress (sometimes to the point of despair), by having done something wrong…
We are conflicted beings who struggle to the point of despair.
We are constantly fighting anxiety and stress and inner turmoil.
We desperately need inner peace, and Jesus came not only to bring peace with God but also personal peace within ourselves.
Last week we looked at a man named Simeon.
God had promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah before he died, and, wouldn’t you know it, the Holy Spirit moved Simeon to go into the temple courts just as Joseph and Mary were bringing the infant Jesus into the temple.
Luke 2:28-31, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
Simeon is a wonderful example of Jesus bringing personal peace.
We sometimes talk about our bucket lists, all the things we want to do or accomplish before we finish our lives here on earth.
Well, apparently Simeon only had one thing on his bucket list – he wanted to see the Messiah before he died.
And when he finally did, when he finally saw Jesus – that was all he needed.
He praised God saying, “You may now dismiss your servant in peace.”
Simeon embraced Christ, and he was at peace within himself.
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you not only receive peace with God.
You also receive the peace of God to help you through the difficult circumstances of life.
When you know Christ, everything can be going crazy around you, and you can still be at peace within yourself.
Paul encourages us in Philippians 4:6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Notice that this wonderful peace of God is only available in and through Jesus Christ.
And notice that it never says the circumstances will go away, but in the midst of our darkest times we can have peace with God, that doesn’t mean we won’t hurt over a loved one, or cry, but it means that we can have peace.
The Bible says the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Hear these beautiful words of Jesus from John 14:27, 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.
Jesus not only brings peace with God. He also brings peace with self.
BECAUSE JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE: JESUS BRINGS PEACE WITH OTHERS.
We have a wonderful example of this early in the Christmas story.
When Joseph first heard that Mary was pregnant, he considered breaking off the engagement.
He must have been terribly hurt and confused thinking that Mary had been unfaithful to him.
But then we read in Matthew 1:20, But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
If Mary was pregnant with any other child, Joseph would most likely have broken the engagement.
But this wasn’t any other child.
This was Jesus, and he was conceived in her from the Holy Spirit.
And so Jesus, even before he was born, brought peace between Joseph and Mary and kept their marriage from coming apart.
We go through many challenges in this life, and one of the most difficult is when our relationships are in turmoil.
That’s when we need to ask Jesus – the Prince of Peace – to come and bring us peace in our relationships, to intervene, to reconcile and to restore.
We read this about Jesus in Ephesians 2:14: “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”
Jesus came to break down the barriers, to bridge the gaps, to bring people together and to restore peace to our damaged relationships.
As believers in Christ, we are called to follow in his footsteps.
As Colossians 3:15, Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Jesus brings peace with God, peace with Self, and peace with others.
BECAUSE JESUS IS THE PRINCE OF PEACE: JESUS BRINGS PEACE ON EARTH.
The angels who announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds that first Christmas Eve also proclaimed the peace that Jesus would bring to our planet.
We read in Luke 2:13-14, Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This is a peace that was prophesied back in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
We read this wonderful prophecy about Jesus back in Isaiah 2:4, He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Some people might ask, “How do we know Isaiah was talking about Jesus bringing peace and not just God in general?”
Well, we look at our passage this morning “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. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
This is a clear prophecy about Jesus who was born as a child, who will be called Prince of Peace, and who will one day rule in peace over all the earth.
But it gets even better than that!
Because the Bible tells us that Jesus will not only bring peace on earth but will bring peace to the whole universe and that he will reconcile all things to himself in heaven and on earth.
We read in Colossians 1:19-20, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
And so this verse in Colossians brings us right back to where we started.
The reason Jesus brings peace with God, peace with self, peace with others and peace on earth all goes back to the cross.
Without Jesus shedding his blood on the cross, there would be no peace.
And without Jesus being born as a baby at Christmas, there would be no cross.
Do you have peace with God this morning?
Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins so that you could be forgiven and restored to right relationship with God.
If your faith is in Christ, then you have peace with God.
Do you have peace with your self this morning?
If your faith is in Christ, then Jesus has not abandoned you but has come to live in you by his Holy Spirit.
And he offers you his peace.
“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.” (John 14:27)
Do you have peace with others this morning?
If your faith is in Christ, then he has given you all the resources you need to do your part in living in peaceful relationships with those around you.
And after you have done your part, you may ask Jesus in prayer to work in the other person’s heart that you may live in peace.
Do we have peace on earth this morning?
Oh, how I wish we did!