Over recent weekends, I’ve described Jesus as filling our need for a Wonderful Counselor, guiding us into the choices that are best for us, as Mighty God, empowering us to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves, and as Everlasting Father, who meets our need for relationship in His holy family. These names come from from Isaiah 9:6, a prophecy from around 700 BC concerning the Christ we celebrate each Christmas:
“And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
We may not feel we deserve the gifts in Christ I’ve described in these posts. We may know for sure that we don’t, and so we don’t accept them. As James Boice wrote: “We are also conscious of having done wrong things. We need to be forgiven. We need somebody to deal with our guilt”. Which is why there needs to be a fourth name, and gift. Our need for peace and unity is met by the Christ of Christmas, as described in Isaiah 9:6 as our Prince of Peace, who Boice says “highlights the gifts of peace both between ourselves and God and internally.”
What kind of peace? Most of the New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek, and the word “peace” often comes from a Greek word meaning “to join.” Peace does not just mean we aren’t fighting; it means that we are joined in a beneficial relationship. This peace came at a steep cost, but He bore it all.
Jesus was born to live the perfect life so that we won’t have to earn His approval, and He was destined to die as payment so we may have peace. He did not have to rescue His people. He could have left this world without a Savior, but as Prince of Peace, He instead took the initiative of joining us to Himself and to each other. Our failures are not ignored, but our Prince of Peace willingly takes these failures upon Himself. This is what He was born in the famous manger of Christmas to do.
Consider the story of Good Friday: Hours passed while Christ was on the cross. He was mocked as helpless and unable to save Himself, while knowing that at any moment, He could just save Himself. In those hours, our Prince of Peace considered all the sins of His people and decided: “Worth it”. The all-powerful actively chose to embrace powerlessness in the face of hours of torture to save His people. If God wanted to change His mind about you, He’s had plenty of opportunity before now. He will not turn His back on you now, or ever, if you have accepted Him.
By bearing the cost for us, our Prince of Peace can accept us into His eternal family. He can empower us to live lives like His, of love and sacrifice for others, giving meaning to our lives. He can open our minds to His wisdom, providing the ability to make better decisions. It won’t happen instantly, but it can begin today. He was born on Christmas to make sure this all happened.
This Christmas Eve, we have the gift of Jesus as Prince of Peace, who meets one of our deepest needs:
“To be forgiven and at peace! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He has made peace for us by his death.” (Boice)
He gives us peace with God, within ourselves, and toward others, granting us forgiveness and overcoming our guilt. He asks us to also take the initiative and bring His peace to others, forgiving them as He forgave us.
This is the fourth gift of Christ in Christmas, and it makes possible all of the other gifts. Have you accepted it?