Read Isaiah 9:1-7
Perhaps today’s reading is all too familiar for you. In fact, you may have read or heard these prophetic statements about the birth of Jesus many times in years past at Christmas time. Yet they were written nearly 700 years prior to His entrance into the world.
These verses were written at a time of animosity amongst the Jews. The once unified nation had split into ten northern tribes, called Israel and two southern tribes, called Judah. What’s more, there was animosity between the northern tribes and Assyria. In addition, Isaiah predicted future conflict between Judah and Babylon. In many ways, “peace” was a foreign concept.
It can certainly be said that animosity describes our world today. Just last week, our nation experienced its most deadly church-shooting in history. Over the last years, racial issues have arisen that I thought had long been in the rearview mirror. Threats of terrorism have us on edge. There is an undercurrent of fear that has forced people to introduce precautions and protocols in schools, sporting arenas, and other public places. Tensions between nations bring with them bloodshed and accusations. Yes, “peace” is in many ways a foreign concept for us as well.
Isaiah’s prophecy, however, pointed to a light on the horizon for the nation of Israel. It was a coming day when God would fulfill his promises that He’d extended to Abraham and to David. It was a day when conflict would be foreign. It was a day when a child would be born who would be God in the flesh, King over Israel, and Prince of Peace.
But the Prince of Peace doesn’t only benefit God’s chosen descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This peace does not only permeate a relatively small parcel of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. One day, this peace will be universal and endless.
There are two important details about this peace that we must understand:
- This peace is not for all. It will only be those who have come to faith in Christ that will experience it. Will you experience it?
- This peace is yet future. Although the Prince of Peace entered the world 2,000 years ago, at His second coming He will reign and bring with Him this harmony and tranquility. Are you anticipating it?