The Gift of the Son: Prince of Peace
We need the Prince of Peace if we are to encounter the peace and hope the world craves.
During Advent we've been looking at Isaiah's wonderful prophecy of a child that is to be born, of a son that is to be given, and now we come to the fourth and final and climactic name given to the child: Prince of Peace.
Because we live in a world that is longing for peace, Prince of Peace is a wonderful name. The world is not just longing for peace but is also worrying about whether it ever will or can achieve real peace.
I'm reminded again this year of how much presidential candidates, when they give their stump speeches, describe themselves and what they'll do for the country as though they were the child being described in Isaiah's prophecy.
It's a remarkable thing when someone running for President of the United States can, without blushing, promise that if elected, he or she will "keep America safe," "make America great again," "restore our standing as leader of the free world," "fix the mess in the Middle East," or "usher in a new American century."
The candidates might as well be saying to the American people, "Hey, vote for me, I'm the person in Isaiah's prophecy, that's me! I'm the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace! Put the government on my shoulders, and see what happens. Of the increase of my government and of peace there will be no end!"
My point is simply this: In presidential politics, the rhetoric gets messianic; the language gets almost eerily prophetic as candidates offer hope for the future that only God could ever deliver. That is perhaps why presidential races in America are such a toxic mix of intense hope followed by anger and resentment as we come to realize that another would-be Messiah promises more than he can deliver.
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Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) is Senior Pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, IL, cofounder of the Center for Pastor Theologians, and author most recently of The Pastor Theologian and Real Christian.