The Prince of Peace
December 11, 2023
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:7
Before the trip to Bethlehem, two important people were told of Jesus’ birth: Mary and Joseph. Luke 1 and Matthew 1 give the details of their angel encounters. Mary was young and betrothed to Joseph when the angel Gabriel appeared before her. The sight of him brought confusion and fear, yet Gabriel spoke a message of hope and peace.
Like with most angel encounters, his first words were “do not be afraid”. He told her that she was highly favored, that the Lord was with her, and she was blessed. For those reasons she need not fear, but rather trust in the words of the Lord. He went on to declare that she would conceive through the Holy Spirit and give birth to a son, who would be the Son of God.
As a woman of the word, Mary likely knew the Scriptures foretelling a virgin conception, and understood what Gabriel talked about, but was still in shock. How could this be? Would Joseph still want her? What would her family think? Adultery in her culture called for death, would people call for her death too?
In her questioning, Gabriel told her “the power of the Highest will overshadow you”. God would cover her and work in her life. Despite her questions, Mary trusted the angel’s words and responded with obedience in Luke 1:38. She trusted God’s plan because she knew the presence of God was with her. As one commentary says, “her situation was the most distressing and humiliating…and nothing but the strongest confidence in God” could bring her peace.
Later on, Joseph had a similar experience. After hearing about Mary’s pregnancy he was likely hurt, but didn’t want to cause her further shame. Just when he had decided to quietly divorce her, an angel appeared to him in a dream. The angel explained the situation and told him “the baby is from the Holy Spirit.” In the midst of his confusion and fear, the message from the angel brought clarity. The situation didn’t get any less complicated, but like Mary, Joseph responded with humble obedience because he trusted God.
Matthew 1:22 goes on to declare that “all this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet”. Many times Isaiah declared the coming of the Messiah. He prophesied that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). This coming Savior would bring peace, and would be our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The peace promised to Israel, came in the form of a baby. Through his life and resurrection, Jesus extended the promise of peace to each of us. His presence shines a light on darkness and brings peace to all who believe. Peace with God and peace in our hearts.
When you feel rocked by news like Mary, or scared about your future, remember Jesus is with you and has a plan for you. When your plans get turned upside down like Joseph and things feel complicated, remember that Jesus is the truth. He brings clarity and peace to our hearts. When the season that was supposed to be filled with joy, feels tainted by worry, fear or grief, hold onto your Prince of Peace who overshadows you with his loving presence and brings peace that passes all understanding.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to be our Prince of Peace. We know that through him, you will one day bring an end to all conflict on earth. Yet, we still experience pain and struggles. In the midst of trials, let us hold tight to the peace promised to us in Christ’s birth. Like Mary may we experience your presence overshadowing us completely. Give us strength to be people of peace wherever we are. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace, Amen.
Spiritual Care Coordinator
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