Monday, December 26, 2011

The Powerful Presence of the Prince of Peace

On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
Isaiah 25:6-9

Excerpt from “Jesus, Light of the World: Prince of Peace” – 2011-12-25
In hearing the Father’s call for is life, Jesus came down to earth, grew in grace, obediently walked into the waters of baptism, healed the sick, cast out demons, preached the gospel, and challenged the spiritually arrogant of his day. As a result, they beat him and hammered his body to a cross where He was left to die. Under the weight of our sin Jesus’ body did die - but by the power of the living God he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven – fulfilling the promise of God proclaimed through the prophet Isaiah - the completed action of God as promised.

Just before he died, Jesus cried out: “It is finished!” (John 19:30). From God’s first promise in the Garden to his birth, from his death to resurrection, from this day and on into eternity - Jesus is our fulfilled promise that our war against God! And while our battle against sin, evil and death is not completely over here on earth – we have a completed promise from God that we have victory! The “Prince of Peace” has arrived; The banquet is prepared; the covering of sin has been removed; death has been swallowed up; our tears and our reproach have been wiped away - and our battle cry is “Behold, this is our Savior! He has arrived, we are saved! Let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation!”

The night before he went to the cross Jesus said: “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:32-33). The peace we are promised in Jesus Christ is a peace is a peace that is not overwhelmed by adversity, overshadowed by fear or overclouded by guilt. The peace that Jesus gives us is not the absence of war, but rather the confidence that he is with us always, regardless of trouble or trial. The “Prince of Peace” brings not the absence of danger but the overcoming presence of the living God through Jesus Christ even in the face of death. In the words of the great Puritan prayer: “I am not afraid to look the king of terrors in the face, for I know I shall be drawn, not driven, out of the world.” The great Charles Wesley once wrote:

In times of trouble I rest beneath the Almighty's shade, my griefs expire, my troubles cease; Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed, wilt keep me still in perfect peace.