Sunday, December 4, 2016
2nd Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 9:6; 11:1 – 10
Preached by Rev. Dr. Harold E. Kidd
“And His name shall be called Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6
We are all familiar with the nativity scene which records the birth of Jesus. There are many faces gathered around the manger. Joseph, Mary, shepherds, angels, and the wised men are all part of the nativity scene. But we should also remember that there were other faces around the manger. At least six of them are quoted in the stories of Jesus’ birth. None of them more than the prophet Isaiah. Like Princes William and Harry, the sons of Prince Charles and the late Princes Diana, when Isaiah looked into the future and the miraculous birth he also saw a Prince. Amen.
A prince, mind you, is a male ruler of a monarchy. Born a Prince in a manger, Jesus would grow up to someday become King of kings and Lord of lords. The last name in Isaiah’s group of Messianic titles given to Jesus in Isaiah 9: 6-7, is that of Prince of Peace. This coming Messiah, this Prince for heaven’s court, would bring peace. “And his name shall be called Prince of Peace, and of the increase of His government and Peace there will be no end.”Sounds kind of empty and hollow when we consider the earthly affairs of humanity this morning. Because we are all too mindful that our embattled world seems to have lost its fragile grasp on serenity and peace.
Even as we have gathered in worship this morning we are all too mindful that our world is in desperate need for peace. The strife that runs rampant in the world at large is but a reflection of the conflict storming in individual hearts and minds of many human hearts. Amen. Because there can never be world peace or governmental peace, without individual soul peace. We’ve come to experience a breakdown in every form of government. History has proven that no government be it democratic, socialist, communist, or a dictatorship has ever been able to give long term everlasting peace to the people of its sovereign soil. In his own time, when there was no justice in the land, Isaiah could see through spiritual discernment of the human heart, that more than legislation and laws were needed to give peace to a world in the turmoil of wars and human conflicts.
We thank God this morning for the United Nations and those around the world including we who sit here today who work in our own ways for peace. But the truth of the matter is that there can be no world peace without soul peace. You cannot legislate morality if there is no morality in the human heart. You cannot legislate justice if there is no justice ruling the human heart. Peace, Morality, Justice, begins in the heart as God is allowed to become the sovereign ruler upon the throne of one’s eternal soul. And this is why the babe of Bethlehem was given the title of Prince of Peace.
So when Isaiah speaks of the coming Messiah, who would be the Prince of Peace and of “the increase of His Government and Peace there will be no end,” Isaiah was not speaking in terms of human man-made governments in his own time or the far off future, but a Spiritual Government, a Kingdom whose capital is not located in Washington D.C, or Jerusalem, or Beijing, or London, or Abuja, or Havana, or Moscow, but a Kingdom not of this world whose sovereign ground abides in the soul of a person. Jesus declared Himself in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Even before this prophetic pronouncement in Isaiah chapter 9, in chapter two of His book Isaiah had written that memorable verse: In speaking of the coming Messiah, “He will judge between nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not take up sword against nation nor will they train study war anymore.”
While millions work towards the ideal of peace in our world today, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, providing health care for the sick and those suffering in war torn countries, serving as a voice of advocacy for the voiceless, the powerless and the marginalized, negotiating for peace between warring nations as well as in many violence infested communities in our own nation, the prophecy found of Jesus in Chapter 2 verse 4 of Isaiah is yet to be fulfilled.
Upon the Second Coming of Christ, Revelations Chapter 21 depicts the glorious fulfillment of this prophecy in the New Jerusalem. The role and responsibility of ever believer in the present time is to be a peacemaker. Amen. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Through our spiritual connection with Jesus Our Divine Prince of Peace. The peace that He has bestowed unto each of us in our hearts and lives, we are to give back to a world in desperate need of spiritual peace.
And we give His peace as we have accepted His rule in our own lives. We give His peace as we pray for peace and for our leaders world wide- who have rule over us that we may all live peaceably. We demonstrate His peace as we choose to live peaceable lives, loving our neighbors as we declare that we love God. We give his peace, as we do not practice an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, but as we pray for those who have despitefully used us. We advocate for peace through acts demonstrating the Love of God, the Grace of God and the Compassion of God in the lives of those who have no relationship with God, and who may demonstrate by their very actions that their soul is in turmoil.
The Peace that Christ offers is spiritual, The kingdom over which He presides is spiritual, The government over which Isaiah says, “there shall be no end to its increase” is spiritual and it speaks to us of the wonderful reality that the more persons find Jesus and invite Him into their lives as their Personal Lord and Savior, the Lord’s Government has increased by one more soul, and His peace has been received by one more person.
As the Prince of Peace, Jesus gives a peace the world cannot give nor can it ever take away. As the Prince of Peace, God has given unto Him all powers and authorities to give the Peace of God. Jesus declared of himself in John 14: 27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Isaiah said in Chapter 26: 3 of his book, “Thou wilt keep him and her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because they trust in you O God.” With so much going on in our world and in life, our hearts would faint from fear and fatigue if it were not for the Peace of Christ. Yes, We may have lost a dear loved one, health may be declining, money may be funny, career choices and business ventures may not have worked out the way we had planned, relationships may be in need of being reconciled, but if we have the Peace of Christ in our hearts, we will be able to handle the seen and unforeseen events that take place in this world and in our lives. Ephesians 2:14 declares “He is our Peace.”
Yes, the lyrics of that old hymn are true, “You can only be blessed and find peace and sweet rest as you give Him your body and soul.”