Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9: 6
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.
Today's passage is another, much loved "christmas" passage that points to Jesus as the bringer of peace, and it demonstrates something particular about the sort of peace that Jesus brings. It's not as if Jesus is peaceful simply because he's powerless to defend himself. In fact, if he wanted to respond to threats with violence, there is no power that could withstand him (he is "mighty" and "everlasting"). This makes it all the more remarkable that he chooses to submit to the violence of the cross for the sake of bringing peace to the world.
Here we come against what theologians call the "already; not yet" reality of Jesus's kingdom: it is already here because of what Jesus gave for us, but we do not yet see the fullness of that kingdom on earth (most of us encounter violence of some kind every day of our lives). But Jesus' peace is one that demands a response. His sheer innocence in the face of violence calls us to put down our own tools of destruction and to respond to our world with peace.
It's hard. Sometimes it feels impossible. And it might mean that we suffer great pain. But this is what it looks like to follow and become more like Jesus. Reflect this morning on one or two areas in your life where you think Jesus is calling you to respond with his peace. Ask him what that might look like today.