One of the titles that the prophets gave to the Messiah was “Prince of Peace.” (see Isaiah 9:6) After the birth of his son John, Zechariah proclaimed that John would be a prophet of the most high (God) who would prepare the way of the Lord. The Lord, according to Zechariah, would guide people in the way of peace. (see Luke 1:79) When the angels announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, they announced, “Peace on the earth.” (see Luke 2:14) When Jesus was preparing his followers for his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, he told them, “I give peace to you; I give my peace to you.” (see John 14:27)
Jesus, as Immanuel – “God with us” – is the Prince of Peace. There are certainly several aspects of that peace. Jesus brings peace between God and his children. Jesus also brings peace among his children. Those who were once enemies with one another (or separated) are now brought together in Jesus.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians about these two aspects of God’s peace in Jesus:
Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11-22 ESV)
So, in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God and can live in peace with one another.
But, this is not the end of the story. Jesus is still “God with us,” and he continues to bring peace to his people.
Even more pertinent, Jesus continues to use his followers to proclaim his peace and to initiate his peace. Once again, we can see both aspects of the peace mentioned above in the writings of Paul. As Jesus’ followers, we are to continue to proclaim peace with God through Jesus Christ:
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ESV)
Paul also encouraged his readers to proclaim and work toward peace with one another:
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:2-7 ESV)
Notice particularly the promise that Paul points to: “The Lord is at hand.” This is another way (and near lexical parallel) to what Jesus announced: “The kingdom of heaven is near (at hand).” This is the source and promise of our peace – God is here, right here, with us and within us. Jesus said:
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst (or within or inside) of you.” (Luke 17:20-21 ESV)
The promises throughout the Gospels and the remainder of the New Testament is that Jesus did not leave his followers when he ascended into heaven after his resurrection. Instead, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, John 14:26, John 15:26) who would continue to dwell with and in his children (Romans 8:9-11).
The indwelling Holy Spirit – the spirit and presence and power of Jesus Christ – is the source of our peace. He doesn’t change. We may have troubles because of our circumstances or situations, but as long as our focus is Christ, we have peace. And, beyond having peace, we can announce the peace of God to others.
God is with us through the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Christ – and He gives us peace, and drives us to announce this peace to others.