Yesterday after listening to all the news from around the world, I was struck by the thought that one of Jesus main titles is ‘Prince of Peace’, Isaiah 9:6. As we observe Him through the gospel narratives we see Him as a simple carpenter, with no formal political or religious status, living in a land occupied by a brutal and pagan regime, and yet everywhere He goes He brings peace.
He brings peace to the house of Jairus, silencing the wailing of the mourners and then bringing the little girl back to life, Mark 5:37-43. He brings peace to the storm and the panic of the disciples in the boat, when they were crossing the lake, Luke 8:22-25. He brings peace to the competitiveness of His disciples, arguing over who is going to be the greatest, Matthew 18:1-6, and He brings peace to Martha and Mary in their grief after their brother has died, John 11:17-44.
He brings peace to the woman caught in adultery, John 8:2-11, and peace to the social outcast woman at the well, John 4:7-26. He brings peace to the body of the woman who had been loosing blood for twelve years, Luke 8: 43-47, and He brings peace, as He is dying, to a robber being crucified with Him on a cross. He brings peace to the disciples after His resurrection as He appears in their midst, Luke 24:36, and peace to Peter after His failure and denial, John 21:15-19.
There are so many more examples, but from the few that we have mentioned, we can see that whenever Jesus walked into a situation, the peace and shalom of God came too. It was the same whatever the cause of the dis-ease, the disquiet, or the absence of peace, whether the cause was physical, emotional, or spiritual. Jesus doesn’t just carry peace, He is Peace.
He didn’t bring that peace to everyone however, not to the demons He evicted from the man in Gerasenes, Mark 5:6-10, nor the Priests and Pharisees who tore their clothes at His ‘blasphemy’ Matthew 26:65. Not to Judas who hanged himself, Matthew 26:5, nor of course to Pilate whose conscience must have troubled him forever, Matthew 27:11-26. Jesus had Himself said that He had “not come to bring peace but a sword”, Matthew 10:34. He, the Prince of Peace, had come to wage war on His enemy in whatever form He found him. In sickness, religious hypocrisy, demon possession or just plain fear. The enemy was not safe wherever the Prince of Peace was to be found.
In Revelation 3:20, we have a key, I believe, to finding ‘peace’ in all of the varied situations in which we find ourselves; all those situations in which we experience some measure of unease, or disquiet, and all those situations where our peace has gone completely, driven out by fear and panic. The key is just this, that we have to invite Him in. In this passage Jesus is offering to come in and fellowship with the Laodicean Christians to help them find a rich measure of faith again, but I believe that we can also ‘hear Him knocking’ when we have all kinds of different needs, and our part is to open the door and welcome Him into our situation.
In all those examples mentioned above, where Jesus brought His peace, there was an invitation to Him to help. Sometimes, it was clear and direct like Jairus, sometimes secretive and furtive like the woman with the flow of blood. Sometimes it was a cry from the heart like the disciples in the boat, but in each case Jesus was invited to come, His help was solicited, and He came with His peace in the way it was needed.
Today let us give thanks that Jesus is our Prince of Peace, and that He is a Prince of Peace who loves to make war for us on our enemy, the devil. Our thanksgiving, I believe signals our ‘yes come in’ to His gentle knocking on the door of our hearts. Our thanksgiving is our welcome to Him to come into our muddles, our messes, our crises, our problems or our pain. It’s not just a one off when we invite Him into our lives to bring salvation, He knocks repeatedly and will come into whatever part of our heart or life circumstance that we need Him. He will come by His Spirit and bring His peace.
It reminds me of that line from the Christmas carol ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem. It is surely a truth for everyday of our lives. ‘Where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in’.