The words of Prophet Isaiah ring in many people’s ears these days thanks to an oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, titled “Messiah”, with scriptural reference to Isaiah 9:6:
“Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”
Especially when going through troubled times, God’s 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.
It happened when Mary and Joseph brought their firstborn to the Jerusalem temple to be circumcised. Suddenly, a stranger approached them. The stranger’s name was Simeon. He asked Mary if he could hold the baby, and with 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!” Before he handed the baby back to Mary he said (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.”
Many years later, Jesus entered the same temple to cause quite an uproar. His follower Matthew wrote about 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? I believe, it all goes back to the temple of our hearts.
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.
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.”
Having turned our affairs over to Jesus the Messiah, we have made peace with ourselves first before passing it on. Peace on earth is a revolution from within and begins in the temple of our hearts.
“Peace on Earth, peace in your heart; praise the Lord!” Light of Christmas by Bill and Evelyn Snyder