Prince of Peace? Really…

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Blog | 2 comments

Last year I was part of a group finalizing a Christmas preaching series. We decided on the theme ‘Call Him’ and planned to look at a range of names given to Jesus. You know the ones I mean? He shall be called wonderful, counsellor, mighty God, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel and so on. Great names, they rightly inspire and motivate us. I landed up with the ‘Prince of Peace’ title, and dutifully set about planning a message on that topic. It turned out to be stretching.

Of course the new atheists would snigger, ‘Jesus. Prince of Peace—well hardly. Do you know how many wars there have been in the name of Jesus?’ An essentially accurate lecture on the Crusades would follow.

So what are we to make of Isaiah’s prophetic insight that an appropriate title for the coming Messiah would be ‘Prince of Peace’? It’s a tough question, because at many levels it appears not to be valid. Religious warfare shows no sign of abating, and lest we dismiss such battles as being political warfare in a religious disguise (which they often are), we should spend time in some of our more fractious churches. Are they peaceable havens? True, they leave no corpses in their wake, but many hearts are genuinely broken.

Did Isaiah get it wrong? After all, he wrote about 700 years before the event. Complete accuracy is unrealistic at that distance. And let’s be generous—although we are still a fair way off world peace, we are generally less bloodthirsty than 2000 years ago. Crucifixions are no longer acceptable, and we would genuinely frown upon feeding dissidents to the lions. So perhaps we are living in a gentler, more kindly era. Prince of Peace might be excessive, but let’s acknowledge that we’ve moderated our more barbaric impulses. The Christian ethic can claim some credit for this.

The above assumes that, at best, Isaiah’s prophetic ability qualifies for a 52% pass grade. Why not change the thesis. What if Isaiah got it right? 100% right. What if Jesus really is the Prince of Peace? And if Isaiah was right, could it be that this Jesus is still waiting for followers…



  1. Thank you Brian

  2. In the light of history,I have often wondered about the name, Prince of Peace. An individual’s definition of “peace” would be crucial to their interpretation. Peace means much more than “the absence of war”. I need to spend time reflecting on this. Thank you ,Brian

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