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Peace for the stressed
The people who walked in
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined…
…For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end, -Isaiah 9, 2, 6-7a NKJV
The Hebrew word most often translated “peace” in the English Bible is the word “shalom”. Perhaps you’ve heard that word used before. Years ago I formed a friendship with a dear Jewish rabbi. Every time we made contact with each other and every time we parted, my friend would say “shalom”. You see the Hebrew understanding of peace goes deep. Shalom is more than just the absence of strife or conflict. Shalom is an inner wellness that produces a calm stability and enables a degree of serenity that outweighs anxiety, fear, distress or the sadness of circumstances. Shalom is both a blessing and a confession of faith. Shalom is not a surface level smile or the ability to regulate negative emotions. Shalom goes much deeper than that. It is a peace that is transcendent.
The Bible declares that prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:10). And this commonly cited Christmas prophecy in Isaiah 9 testifies that the Child given to the world would be revealed as the Prince of Shalom and the source of endless shalom.
Just as the prophet predicted, this Child came. He was born in a chaotic environment and grew up in a violent world. He grew into a man and when the time was right he launched into ministry and within a few short years became the most divisive person the world has ever seen (Matthew 10:34). Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God in the flesh would experience outer and inner stress like no other person. This was especially true during the 24 hours before his death. He was callously betrayed, forsaken by his friends, wrongfully accused, illegally tried, sadistically assaulted, and brutally killed. And before all of this, the inward anguish of the Prince of Peace spiked in such a way that it pushed blood from his pores mingled with sweat. And yet, there was always shalom—a sustaining peace.
The inner peace of Jesus the Savior was one of the most evident things about his nature. And he desired to give his mighty shalom to all who would trust in him.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 NKJV
death of Jesus devastated his disciples. After the resurrection, Jesus’ reappearance to the disciples threatened to blow them up emotionally. So when Jesus suddenly materialized in their midst, he spoke a blessing of shalom over their confused and anxious
“Peace be with you… Jesus said to them again, Peace to you!” John 20:19,21 NKJV
And then, in the same way the breath of life was first breathed into Adam and Eve, the Lord Jesus breathed the fullest sense of shalom into the souls of his dear friends.
He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit…” v.22
I wonder if the disciples thought about the time on the sea when a furious storm raged and threatened to capsize their boat. On that occasion the Prince of Peace silenced the storm by a word of “Peace” and the command to “Be Still!” Now the Prince of Peace was quieting the greatest storm these disciples had ever know by the same word of “peace” and the gift of the Holy Spirit – The breath of life— eternal life— given by the Son of God. Their lives would never be the same.
So what about you this Christmas? How would you rate your sense of inner peace? Have you received by faith this breath of life and the Holy Spirit? Do you seek an empowering blessing and fresh breath from the Prince of Peace? If so, then trust in the testimony of this Christmas prophecy. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and God has indeed raised him from the dead. Receive the shalom of God in your heart and mind. Ask for a filling of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10) – saved from your sins, from your doubt, from your anxiety, from your fears, and from your sadness. The Bible declares the truth of Jesus so that “… you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31 NKJV)
Merry Christmas to you! May the Prince of Peace rule and reign in your hearts and minds today and forever more. Shalom!!