The story is told of a man offering a prize to the artist who could best paint a scene that depicts peace. Almost all entries into the contest were of a peaceful water scene. Some were of a very peaceful lake or pond with no ripples, sun peaking over the surrounding hills, animals drinking at the bank. Others were of a peaceful stream with much of the same scenery as the others. None of these were selected as the winner of the contest.
The picture that won the contest was a water scene but it was unlike the others. In this painting, there was a terrible storm raging over a mountain. A large, fast-flowing stream was shown plunging to the bottom of the canyon off a cliff. Spray from the waterfall was everywhere. Lightning was flashing and rain was pouring. On the side of the mountain was a scrubby, spindly tree. In one of the lower branches a bird had built a nest. It was sheltered by the higher branches of this scrubby tree. The bird was depicted on her nest, covering her eggs with her wings and her eyes closed.
Friends, there are storms raging around mankind at all times. If we are not presently in the midst of a storm, one is approaching over the horizon. How is it possible to ride these storms out without being swept away by the surge? Where is shelter in the time of storm?
The Bible presents to us only one place of safety and peace: in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah, by inspiration, gives those to whom he was prophesying, and us, a sneak peek at the coming Savior: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 6:9). Truly Jesus could, and does, wear these titles well. He is Wonderful. He has and does provide counsel through His word. His mighty works prove He is deity. He has always been and always shall be. He, and He alone, provides peace for mankind.
This peace that He provides is not the peace of which many think. This is not peace from war. This is not peace where everyone is living in harmony and united, although it could be. This is the peace that enables one to deal with the storms of life. The trials and temptations that come into our daily existence can be dealt with when the Prince of Peace is in our lives.
It should be no wonder to us that this title would be applied to our Lord, the Son of God. Our God is called the God of peace: “Now the God of peace be with you all” (Romans 15:33; cf. Hebrews 13:20). God ordains peace for His people (Isaiah 26:12). God speaks words of peace to His people (Psalm 85:8). Whenever a person has done the will of God and is faithful to the best of his abilities, that person has always had peace. It is not always peace from strife, many times it is not, but it is peace that allows the individual to properly deal with whatever events then take place. This peace comes from God.
As one reads of the coming Messiah in the prophets, it is seen that He would bring peace. Micah told that He would be “our peace” (Micah 5:5). Zechariah stated that He would speak peace to the nations (Zechariah 9:10). The father of John the Immerser, Zecharias, after having his mouth re-opened, prophesied the work of the coming Savior would be “to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide their feet in the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). When one reads of the night of His birth, he sees the angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Thankfully, as Jesus fulfilled all other prophecies of the Messiah, He fulfilled these prophecies as well. Paul told the Thessalonians, “Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means” (2 Thessalonians 3:16). This verse tells the reader that Jesus, the title “Lord” referring to the Christ in the New Testament, is the Lord of peace.
The verse also tells us that He is the giver of peace. This is exactly what He said He would do for His disciples. On the night before His death, Jesus told His disciples many things. One of these things was that He would leave them peace: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Because of the peace left to them by Jesus there was no need for troubled hearts or fear. This is what peace does for the one who is in Christ. Later that evening, Jesus stated, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33). With the peace of Christ, we can overcome the world as well.
Since Jesus is the Lord of peace, the giver of peace and peace comes through Him, He must be the Prince of Peace.
Sadly, many reject the Prince of Peace and His offer for peace. The reason for this rejection is that this peace comes at a cost. Man must give up control of his life and will to the Prince of Peace. Man has to do the will of Christ and not his own.
The Old Testament has much to say about the follower of God and peace. The psalmist reveals that those who love God’s law have “great peace” (Psalm 119:165). He also tells us that “the Lord will bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11). Isaiah prophesied that those who are righteous will have peace (Isaiah 32:17). Many other verses could be mentioned that show peace is a blessing of God on the one who follows the will of God.
The Old Testament also has much to say about peace and the rejecter of God. God, through the pen of Isaiah, says that there is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). Talking about those who reject God, Isaiah penned, “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (59:8).
In the New Testament, Paul tells us that wicked do not know the way of peace (Romans 3:17). Later, he writes, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). When one has not given his life to Christ he is carnally minded and, thus, does not know peace.
Look at our world today and it does not take a Solomon to see that people are not at peace. The countries in which war rages are countries that do not know the Prince of Peace. Many of the inhabitants of these countries are followers of Mohammed, a fomenter of war and hatred. These countries, for the most part, have rejected all knowledge of the true Savior. They have rejected His gospel of peace (Romans 10:15).
Even in countries where a belief in God and His Son are claimed there is a lack of peace. The reason is that they too have rejected the gospel of peace. In these countries the true message has been changed and perverted and people have been lead astray by denominationalism. Those in charge are either atheists at worse or agnostics at best. They have rejected the gospel of peace. Therefore, a lack of peace in the lives of many is prevalent.
If people want to know true peace, the ability to deal with storms of life and the temptations that beset us all, they must come to the cross of Christ. Only through the atonement of Christ can one have peace. Paul told the Ephesians that Christ “is our peace” by His death on the cross ( 2:14-15). He wrote to the Colossians, “And having made peace through the blood of his cross…” (1:20).
Only by being justified can we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). Verse nine of this chapter tell us that we are justified by the blood of Christ. The only way we can come into contact with the blood of Christ is by being buried with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3-4).
Those who have a saving faith (Romans 15:13), live righteously (Isaiah 32:17), know God (Job 22:21), love God’s law (Psalm 119:165) and are spiritually minded (Romans 8:6) are those who have come the cross of Christ. Only at the foot of the cross can one find true peace.
Are we like the bird in the prize winning picture? Or, like most in the world, are tossed about by the storms of life and begging for peace? That peace comes only through an intimate knowledge of Christ and giving control of our lives to Him. Christ offers shelter from the storm if we will accept it.