November 21, 1873, in the icy waters of the Atlantic, two ships suddenly collided. When told her passenger ship, the Ville de Havre was sinking, a young mother gathered her four daughters on deck for a family prayer meeting. This young mother knelt with her daughters Annie (10), Maggie (8), Bessie (5) and Tanetta (2) and prayed that they might be saved or else be made willing to die. Ira Sankey revealed in his memoirs that Annie and Maggie had come to know Jesus in a small meeting in Chicago just months before. As the family huddled together, three of the daughters were swept away by the icy waves. Anna Spafford clung to her remaining daughter, Tanetta, but the force of the waves was too strong. Her daughter was snatched away by the angry sea, and the distraught mother was knocked unconscious. She was rescued by sailors from the Loch Earn.
Back in the United States, Horatio Spafford was waiting for news of his family, and at last, ten days later (after the rescue ship had reached Cardiff), it came. “Saved alone, what shall I do” was his wife’s message. Imagine the effect of this horrible tragedy. It was only been a few months since the Chicago fire on October 8, 1871 caused the destruction of most of his real estate investments. Now God had not only taken his wealth but also his family. For as Horatio his loss with His Lord, a loss which could not be reversed in this life, he found that peace which indeed passes all understanding. Toward morning he told a friend named Major Whittle, “I am glad to be able to trust my Lord when it costs me something.” Then, sometime later, as he reflected on the disaster at sea, he wrote this well known hymn:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin—not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, 0 my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so”—it is well with my soul.
Such tragedy could only become peace because Horatio Spafford knew intimately the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is our Sar Shalom, our Prince of Peace as Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 9:6. This is the last of our Four Titles describing this Baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.Since His birth 2000 years ago, this world has seen little peace.
Peaceful Paradise Found?
A true story is told of a retired couple seeking to find the safest place on earth to retire to. The Iron Curtain was still up and they were concerned about surviving a nuclear war. They were blessed with wealth and so traveled extensively before making their decision. Finally they moved and after getting settled in the sent their former Pastor a Christmas Card from their new home. They described the Falkland Islands as their “peaceful paradise”. Yet four months later on March 26, 1982, their peaceful paradise became the battleground of Argentina and Great Britain. So much for Peaceful Paradise.
Once There Was Peace
There once was “peaceful paradise” on Earth. Imagine perfection here on earth. You have super strength, super memory, you never age, never sweat, never tire, never get sick. You can cover miles in a day without breaking a sweat. You have food galore. You have no fears, even of the fiercest animal. You have a gorgeous wife (Miss Universe) who is your help meet. There are no weeds, no flies, no mosquitoes. To top it off you walk with God in the evening. He is as close as you could imagine. There is no labor during childbirth. There are no disagreements between husbands and wives.
Paradise, Garden of Eden. We had that. Adam and Eve enjoyed it. Yet that wasn’t enough. You know the story. They disobeyed and the wrath of God came upon them. They were expelled from paradise, and as a consequence of their sin, their bodies started aging, childbirth became dangerous, life became hard. Conflicts entered into marriages, into family relationships. Within just a few short years the first murder took place, between brothers.
This world went from peaceful paradise to horrific hell in moments.
Into this Hell created by Sin, a baby boy was born. He is Sar Shalom. The Prince of Peace
Sar means Commander, Chief, Ruler, Captain, Prince. The picture is of a Man who is a Leader with Authority, a Leader with Responsibility to fulfill an important task. Indeed Jesus came with Authority from God. He was responsible to fulfill the Father’s Will.
Jesus is the Prince with the Authority & Responsibility to Bring Peace to this world, to mankind.
Now most of us Gentile types reduce the meaning of this word Shalom to our ideas of peace, whether peace among people or inner peace. But shalom is a word so packed full of meaning and importance that even the best scholars, theologians, and Hebrew lexicons struggle to come up with English words to capture its full significance.
Shalom means much more than absence of war or inner peace.
The Aaronic blessing of (Numbers 6:24-26) pictures the man whom God has Given Shalom: He is Blessed (bārak), Guarded (shāmar), and Treated Graciously (ḥānan), by God!
Shalom is What Man Enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.
“Shalom,” pictures all that God desires and plans for all creation. It is God’s heart desire, God’s perfect and full will, and therefore God’s decreed plan that all the human race, that all the animal world, that all the beings ever created, that all the universe dwell in perfect, full, and eternal Shalom.
Jesus Was Born to Restore Shalom to Earth
When the Angels sang to the Shepherds, they were singing to the whole earth for ages to come: The Angels knew that with Christ appearing on earth, finally Peace would be possible.
This is the gospel in one sentence. God’s glory, God’s peace, and God’s favor resting once again upon the wayward human race! This one-sentence gospel proclamation of “God’s peace to all people” connects this angelic declaration to our prophetic passage from Isaiah wherein Christ is called the “Prince of Peace.” In Shalom we discover the entire Gospel in one word.
Shalom is Man’s Longing
When the Shepherds heard this proclamation by the angels that God’s peace, God’s shalom, and God’s favor, God’s grace, now rests upon all because of this child born in Bethlehem, they would have understood this good news to be the fulfillment of all the longings of the Jewish people for God to usher in the promised day of Shalom. Christ the newborn king, Christ the Wonderful Counselor, Christ the Mighty God and Eternal Father, also came to planet earth to become the Prince of Shalom. Through Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection the longed-for divine promise of universal Shalom was finally ushered in.
We need to understand why Jesus is called Prince of Peace and what it means for all those who are born again children of God.
Man Can Never bring Shalom to this World.
God’s meaning of Shalom revolves around the way we live. It was Adam and Eve’s conduct that shattered the peace between man and God. Cain’s conduct broke the peace between him and Abel and him and God. As it is with all of us, conduct makes or breaks the peace!
- Man’s Conduct broke the peace between God and Man
- Man’s Conduct brought the Ruin of Sin upon all men.
Sickness, Psychological problems, Depression, Physical problems, we are all struggling against death-death to our souls, death to our bodies because of Sin! God meant what He said “On that day you eat thereof, you shall surely die!”
- Man’s Conduct Destroyed the Completeness of God’s Creation.
When God completed His creation, the Bible records: “And God saw His Creation and said it was Very Good.” Sin corrupted this world and destroyed the Paradise that God had created. His Creation became a pre-cursor to the Hell that awaits all those who die in their sins.
- Man’s Conduct Ruined Fulfillment of God’s Purpose for our lives.
Jesus had the Authority to Bring Shalom to this world.
Jesus Christ came to this world armed with a Divine Command: Bring Glory to the Father by Destroying the Power of Satan and Redeeming Mankind. Jesus broke down all barriers to True Shalom because He and only He had the Authority and the Power and the CONDUCT to do so!
- Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom between God and Man
- Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to Men
Jesus himself is our PEACE!
- Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to the sin-sick souls of man
- Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom to God’s Creation
- Jesus’ Conduct brought Shalom – God’s Purpose to our lives and to this world.
Jesus’ Conduct means Shalom is possible for this World. Peace is available by faith, and Peace will be available when Christ reigns.
We have the Authority for Peace in our World through Jesus Christ
To Experience Shalom, we must Submit to the Authority of the Prince of Shalom!
Are you at peace with God? Shalom is the result of God’s Presence in our Lives! As you rest your head upon your pillow tonight, do you know your sins are forgiven and that you are confident you are God’s born again child? Give your heart and life to Jesus, submit to the authority of the Cross for forgiveness of your sins. Are you at peace in your heart with your past failings, with what God has done in your life, with what God is doing in your life? Submit your will and your fears to the authority of the Prince of Peace. Rest in His authority over the events of your life. Do you struggle with fears and anxieties? Realize that Jesus has given you His peace, that He has overcome the world, and under His Authority He will allow only that which is for His Glory and our edification in the faith. Are you walking in peace with your family, your friends, your neighbors? Is their hatred or resentment toward others? Submit your grievances to the one who has the authority to bring peace between the worst of enemies. And as much as is in you, on your part, live in peace with all men. Are you struggling with fulfillment and purpose in your life? Then submit your will and plans and possessions to the authority and control of the Prince!
The Authority of Jesus is not Because of a Kingly Crown.
The Crown of Peace that our Prince of Peace wears is that hastily made Crown of Thorns.
In Isaiah 53:5, we read this about Christ:“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us Shalom was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Shalom happens because of God’s Presence. Is Jesus living in your heart today?