The Prince of Peace

PastorsBible

The Prince of Peace

The sun had set over the hills of Judea. One a lonely hillside near the Judean village of Bethlehem a small group of Shepherds huddled around a small fire, seeking warmth from the chilling winds of a December night. The sheep had been safely bedded for the night, the men had eaten their megger supper and while waiting for sleep to come were relating the varied experiences of the day. The still darkness of the night was suddenly disturbed by the appearance of a heavenly visitant, garbed in ethereal splendor. The shepherds were frightened, but the angel said, “Fear not, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” As this message faded away a heavenly chorus took up the refrain: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men of good will.” As these words of the first Christmas became but a memory the shepherds said, “Let us go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass … and they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in a manger.”

Thousands, yea, millions have received the announcement of the birth of the new child. They, too, have journeyed sometimes short distances and sometimes long ones to see the new born babe and its mother and father. But that which lifts this visit of the shepherds out of the commonplace into the realm of the unique was the Person of the Babe who slept in the manger.

This One is the Prince of Peace. “Unto you a child is born, unto you a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called … the Prince of Peace.” The angelic choir sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace…” Unto those who kneel at His manger and humbly pray, “O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to me, I pray; Cast out my sin, and enter in, be born in me today:” He brings peace with God. Unto such He brings a peace the world cannot give and which the world cannot take away. He brings the peace of submission, of fellowship with God, of self-control, of received forgiveness.

Unto the nations of the world He brings peace which will one day bring into a living reality the dreams of the prophets as expressed by Micah 4:1-5. “And it will come about in the last days That the mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, And the peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD And to the house of the God of Jacob, That He may teach us about His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between many peoples And render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they train for war. Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. Though all the peoples walk Each in the name of his god, As for us, we will walk In the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” The vision tarries because Christ’s followers have not been true to their Master’s Mission, but it comes, though its march be slow.

How do we know that universal peace will come? What assurance is ours? This is our assurance: This child who is laid to rest upon His mother’s lap is the child of promise. (The promises to Adam, Abraham, David, the Prophets, Mary.) The fullness of time has come. “Unto us a child is born …” The promise of God has been fulfilled. God has entered the human in the person of His Son and He shall reign King of kings and Lord of lords forever and ever.

The world picture is as dark as was the night of our dear Savior’s birth. But shining brighter and ever more brightly is the star of Bethlehem.

Watchmen, tell us of the night, what its signs and promise are.

Traveler, over yon mountain height, see the glory becoming Star.

Watchman, does its beauteous ray a light of hope or joy foretell?

Traveler, yes, it brings the day, promised day of Israel.

Watchman, tell us of the night, for the morning seems to dawn.

Traveler, darkness takes its flight; doubt and terror are withdrawn.

Watchman, let thy wanderings cease; hide thee to thy quite home.

Traveler, lo! The Prince of Peace, Lo! The Son of God is come.

Thus, we come this Christmas Day garbed not in the garments of doubt, gloom and despair but in hope because the Child of promise, Immanuel has come.

This child is not only our promise of peace, our hope for peace but He is also the way of peace for He is the Savior of mankind. ‘Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior.” “Thou shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” This was not the message that the people of that far off day wanted. They wanted to be saved from the cruel, tyrannical government of Rome, they wanted salvation from poverty, disease and sorrow. But they did not want to hear about sin: moral wrongs and ethical failures. Many of our contemporaries are not looking for salvation in the realm of the moral and spiritual.

We do not minimize the importance of political arrangements of or of economic remedies, but if they are to solve our problems and not to aggravate them they must be based on moral principle and not on temporary expediency; they must reflect a concern for all mankind, and not selfish concern for merely one’s self, or one’s class, or one’s nation. As General MacArthur has said, “The problem is basically theological … it must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.” The promise of the angelic choir was “peace amongst men of good will.” Ere this can come man must need to be delivered from his meanness and selfishness. He needs new life.

The Babe at whose manger we worship was born to do this. He saves us from the penalty of sin. He devours the power of sin by His ever living presence. There is no other way to rid ourselves of enemies within our natures and ultimately of the enemies without than to yield ourselves to the Christ of Christmas which is the Prince of Peace.

When Jesus was eight days old His parents took Him to Jerusalem unto the Temple to present Him to the Lord. There was in the Temple an old man by the name of Simon who had been promised that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. At this time Simon met the Babe and prayed, Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace … for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou has prepared before the face of all people.” If in the Temple of God you will open your life to the Babe of Bethlehem who is the salvation of God you can depart filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Dr. Robert W Kirkpatrick

First Presbyterian Church, Hinton W VA. December 18, 1955

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. aprilmoonbeam
    Dec 23, 2015 @ 07:42:56

    Brilliant writing technique here! #notebookgoalz

    Like

    Reply

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