Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible
Why is Jesus called the Prince of Peace?
Dear Father Paul: Christmas 2015 is almost here. Over many years I have heard Jesus often referred to as “The Prince of Peace,” especially at Christmas time. What is the origin of the title Prince of Peace, and what does it mean? — Tony.
Dear Tony: Thank you for your question. You are right. The title Prince of Peace is often used to refer to Jesus Christ especially during the Christmas season.
That is because of a Messianic prophecy made by the Jewish prophet Isaiah over 600 years before the birth of Christ in the city of Bethlehem in Palestine.
Christians believe that Isaiah’s prophecy unmistakably referred to Jesus Christ and pointed to him as the long expected Messiah (the anointed one) of old.
This familiar prophecy is found in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Here’s how the prophecy reads (King James Version) : “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful: Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Many will recognize these as words from the “Hallelujah Chorus.” of Handel’s masterpiece, “The Messiah,” sung by choirs all over the world at Christmas since 1741.
So, what does it mean that Jesus is the Prince of Peace? Is it just a fancy but meaningless title?
The Hebrew word “shalom” from our Isaiah 9:6 passage, which Bible translators translate into the English word “peace,” is often used by Jews as a word of greeting. But shalom has many, many more meanings. Here are a few: completeness, wholeness, rest, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, fullness, harmony, lack of worry, the absence of agitation or of discord. Wow! I want this peace. Don’t you?
At the time of Jesus’s birth in a manger (a stable) in Bethlehem, Luke Chapter 2 records that there were shepherds in the nearby fields guarding their flocks at night when a multitude of angels suddenly appeared praising God and saying (New Revised Standard Version) “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace (shalom) among whom he favors.”
This Christmas, 2015, with all that is happening around us, the people of the earth are crying out for peace … shalom. They run to and fro seeking peace, but seeking peace in all the wrong places. The simple truth, that some of us have yet to learn, is that drugs, booze, one night stands, big houses, fast cars, impressive jobs and titles, psychotherapy and riches don’t bring lasting peace.
No, the Bible teaches us that peace, real peace, (shalom) can only come through a relationship with the one it calls the Prince of Peace.
Jesus said to his disciples, as he was nearing his crucifixion, in John 14:27 (New Living Translation) “I am leaving you with a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
You see Tony, the Lord Jesus is not merely a “teacher of peace” or “one who proclaimed peace.” I know this is a difficult concept, but Jesus doesn’t just “represent peace,” No, Jesus is peace! Jesus is peace just like Jesus is love. He is literally peace in the flesh … peace itself living in the body of a man. And when we come to truly know Jesus and not just know “about” Jesus, a miracle begins. Then, when we also begin to “hang out” with Jesus on a daily basis, his heavenly peace starts to totally saturate us … body, soul and spirit. And our life on earth moves to the highest plane.
What I am saying is a deep and profound spiritual mystery that lots of people miss because it cannot be fully grasped or understood by our intellect or our limited human understanding. The mystery of peace of mind and heart can only be understood and attained by and through spiritual eyes and a heart of simple faith in God and his son.
I believe that the title “Prince of Peace” perfectly describes Jesus. Lets not let another Christmas pass without knowing him and his peace.
The Peace of Christ and a very Merry Christmas to all of my precious readers.
And a happy and blessed 2016.
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Father Paul Massey is pastor emeritus of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit us at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com for more information, directions and service times.