For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
As we all prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Friday, I am going to devote three articles to the fourth and final name bestwoed upon the Cosmic Christ Child through the the prophet Isaiah. I have been saying thoughout this series that in ancient times names were bestowed upon a king to describe his rule, his reign, and the scope of his kingdom, and that is exactly what Isaiah was doing when he announced the coming of King Jesus.
The prophet’s fourth title that finds its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ is “Prince of Peace.” Since Christmas falls on Friday, I am going to break the normal Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule of articles for “Grace for the Race” and post four article here this week. We will look at the first half of the name on Monday, the second half of the name on Tuesday, and both combined on Wednesday. Then on Friday I will post a special Christmas Day word of encouragement for you.
Prince – Moses was a prince for a season in Egypt, but Jesus Christ, the Greater Moses, is a Prince for all eternity. We saw this last week when we looked at the title “Everlasting.” For Isaiah’s original audience, who received this prophecy more than 700 years before the birth of the Cosmic Christ Child, the title “Prince” was easily and clearly understood. A prince was a person of great prominence and nobility who was responsible for leading his people–providing protection for them and caring for their needs. This perfectly describes the role of our Lord Jesus in the life of His people. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day understood Him to be a prince, but nothing like the one Isaiah was talking about! The Pharisees grumbled, “By the prince of demon [Jesus] is driving out demons” (Mark 3:22).
It is important to note just how intentional Isaiah was in giving the title “Prince of Peace” to the coming Messiah, rather than “King of Peace.” As we have seen throughout our study of these four magnificent titles for Jesus, Jesus is fully God, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. Yet, it is instructive to see how a Prince submits to the authority of His Father and acts according to the Father’s will and not His own.
Our Prince was sent by His Father (1 John 4:9), and aligned His will perfectly with His Father’s will by becoming obedient through His death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Time and again, our Lord declared His submission to His Father’s will:
- By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30)
- I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. (John 12:49)
- The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. (John 14:31)
- I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. (John 15:10)
And then, of course, there is the most remarkable example of the complete submission of the Prince of Peace to His Father’s will: As Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gesthemane, sweating blood in utter anguish as He anticipated taking on the terrible wrath of God for the sin of all of His subjects, He simply prayed:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
One final point about the title “Prince.” As a child of nobility in the house of the current earthly king, the prince would one day rise to the position of being king Himself, but he did not yet hold that position. In the very same way, while Jesus walked this earth and lived out the ministry for which He came, He was our Prince. But on that first Easter morning, after being crucified, dead, and buried, when Jesus walked out of His tomb alive and well, He now bore the title King of kings and Lord of lords. Praise His mighty names!
Tomorrow we will look at the second half of this amazing title.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!