Thanks to Haendel’s world-famous music composition titled “The Messiah”, the words of Prophet Isaiah ring in many people’s ears these days (Isaiah 9:6):
“Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”
The Prince of Peace promises us peace that surpasses all human understanding. Especially when going through troubled times, His peace will carry us through. Nevertheless – and this might come as a surprise – His peace can be quite controversial!
Opposition was predicted to Mary and Joseph when Jesus was but a few days old. His circumcision happened a week after His birthday, and His parents dedicated Him in the Jerusalem temple presenting Him to the priests. Suddenly a stranger approached them. The stranger’s name was Simeon. He asked Mary if he could hold the baby, and when he had Jesus in his arms he began to prophesy. He exclaimed: “Now I can die a happy man because I have seen the One who saves, the light to reveal God to the nations!” Simeon blessed the family, but before he handed the baby back to Mary he addressed her with the following words (Luke 2:34):
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.”
If Peace was a coin it would have “Accept” on one side and “Reject” on the other. Taking this coin at face value means to accept peace. Judging this coin to be a fake currency means to reject peace. Opposition arises from these two opposing views. The good news is that we can have tremendous peace if we accept Jesus’ peace terms. The bad news is that we will experience a personal roller-coaster if we don’t.
Many years after Jesus’ dedication He entered the temple on one occasion to cause quite the uproar. His follower Matthew recorded the event in his gospel (Matthew 21:12):
“Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.”
When people began questioning Jesus’ behavior He simply stated (Matthew 21:13):
“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
The humble Messiah entering Jerusalem on a donkey is causing a ruckus in the temple! How does this add up? The answer is simple. If we welcome Jesus, we also welcome His values. Jesus values the temple as a house of prayer, and He is obviously very passionate about it too. Yet, He is equally passionate about the temple of our hearts. The Prince of Peace will knock over our tables and rock our world if money remains the center of our universe. It’s not money that makes the world go round; it’s the Eternal One who makes it spin! He truly loves this crazy world; and it’s His love that makes the world go round. A person who knows the Prince of Peace but stays attached to materialism will suffer from a divided heart and will go through much turmoil, while a person wholeheartedly devoted to the Prince of Peace will experience peace in the eye of a storm.
Jesus’ parting words to His followers were (John 14:27):
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”