Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a Prince of Peace.
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 (NIV)
The term translated “peace” is the Hebrew word shalom. Shalom extends far beyond our understanding of peace as the absence of war or conflict. Shalom describes a world where justice and harmony rule; it is a world in which the Prince of Peace rules a creation which reflects God’s character and essence. Isaiah’s prophecy extends beyond the first coming of Christ and peeks through history to his triumphant return in the future. We see this in the following verse:
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. Isaiah 9:7 (NIV)
Peace began on the day Christ was born and will find fulfillment on the day He returns. The angelic messengers of God ushered in peace with their proclamation to a few shepherds tending sheep many years ago. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14 (NIV) Scriptures record boldly the fulfillment of this prophecy in the book of Revelation in which the Son returns in might and ushers in His new kingdom on a new earth – a kingdom in which there is no more violence, sickness, or sin. Peace reigns, and His name is Jesus.
Meanwhile, we live through 2020. We live through conflict, turbulence, pain and death. We long for the fulfillment and we wonder, in moments of silence, if this peace will ever reign? Our hope resides not only in the birth, death, and resurrection of this proclaimed Prince. It resides also in His life. He dwelt among us as one of us for a purpose, and that purpose was not only to usher in peace with the Father; the purpose was also to model peace for his believers.
Upon whom does His favor rest? It rests upon the prodigal who returns; it rests on the demoniac living among the tombs; it rests on a prostitute named Mary of Magdalene; it even rests upon the hated lepers and tax collectors. This sort of peace remains as foreign to us as the grace of God itself. Yet, there it is – living on the pages of our scriptures within the life of our Savior. And, as we read, we see that it is offered to all of us – especially to we who are outcast, lonely, forgotten and mistreated. The gift of Christmas is Shalom – harmony with God – found only in the residing transformative presence of the Prince of Shalom.
Mentors, you are shalom today, and you foreshadow the fulfillment of shalom promised and longed for by all believers. Every child you love … every cheek you turn … every act of anger you answer with forgiveness … every extra mile and late-night phone call … is shalom. You do not always see it—nor do you always feel it—but the Prince who sees all never misses these sacrifices. He smiles as you join Him in the ushering of His new creation one person at a time. We smile with Him, and the staff at CAYM wish you blessings in your work of peace these days. May many young people, abandoned and lonely, receive the Prince of Peace in 2021 through your lives and ministry.