What is His name?

Prince of Peace

Harry Foster

The fourth name which Isaiah gave to the coming ruler was "Prince of peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The Lord Jesus is, of course, princely in His own enjoyment of the serene harmony of heaven, but this title means more than that, it means that He always gives triumphant peace when He is allowed to rule.

The Bible gives great prominence to peace as one of God's greatest blessings. In both the Old and the New Testament it is used as the greeting which the Lord gives to believers and which believers should give to one another.

In the New Testament it is so often grace which introduces peace and rightly so, since for sinners there can be no inner harmony and no untroubled fellowship with God without the intervention and government of the Lord Jesus. It is not just that He gives peace but that He Himself is our peace (Micah 5:5 and Ephesians 2:14). No doubt the title points on prophetically to that coming rule of Christ when sin and strife will be no more, but it is relevant and valid here and now, for the gospel of His grace is the gospel of peace.

Take an example from the New Testament. When Simon the Pharisee had been reproved, the group in his house broke up. Simon stayed at home, Jesus proceeded on His way to work more works of God and the forgiven woman was also obliged to move out, returning to a life which must have had as many problems as ever.

The Lord Jesus did not invite her to share the company of the apostolic band; He did not arrange for her to be given shelter in some friendly home; He gave no indication that there would be any lessening of her temptations from within and from without; He voiced no earnest appeal that her neighbours should extend sympathy to her. No, she still had to go back and face a life full of tension and conflict. One thing, however, Christ did say, and this was most meaningful. It was "Go in peace" or more literally 'Go into peace' (Luke 7:50). If this is really what happened – and I believe that it did – then surely this was one of our Lord's greatest miracles. He is the Prince of peace.

I feel that I know something about this for, in quite another setting, it happened to me. I was deep in the Amazonian jungle with two Red Indians when I severely twisted my ankle and was forced to lie up. My companions were not Christians and were full of animistic fears of witchcraft, being quite capable of leaving me there to die alone if I had been unable to continue our trek. I knew this very well, but as I lay back and opened my Bible I found great comfort in Psalm 50.15, and so committed my case to God in prayer.

Morning came, and we had to continue our journey. I found that although my ankle was still swollen I could put my foot to the ground and so on we went. I began by leaning on a stick but soon I was able to throw the stick away and walk quite normally. To me this was a miracle. It saved my life. But the physical relief was almost insignificant compared with the far greater inner miracle which had preceded it. For no sooner had that verse of the psalm been appropriated and my prayer prayed than I experienced a quite indescribable rest of mind. Apart from the physical discomfort I spent the whole night in as unruffled a peace as I had ever known in my own bed at home.

I am far from placid in temperament, and my circumstances were calculated to strike panic into the calmest of men, but my heart and thoughts were completely taken care of by the peace of God which passes all understanding. I knew the reality and nearness of the Prince of peace. The Philippians were guaranteed that this would happen to them, too. The Thessalonians, surrounded by ominous evidence of their many enemies, were assured by Paul that the Lord of peace Himself could give them peace at all times in all ways (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

The apostle could not offer them any prospects of easier conditions, but he could and did commend them to the Prince of peace. Has not the Lord left this legacy to His Church? Did He not say: "My peace I give unto you"? It is the Prince of peace who says to us all: "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful" (John 14:27).

Toward the Mark, Vol. 3, No. 3, May - June 1974

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