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The Gift of Peace
Isaiah 9:6 ; Isaiah 5:21
What a contrast these two texts present! The wicked those living apart from God have no peace; but to those who know the Incarnate Son of God to be their Saviour, He is their Peace the Prince of Peace. Let us look at Him, and then at the great inward gift that He comes to convey to us.
I. Peace Inherent in Christ's Nature. Whatever Christ is, He is by nature, not by circumstance. If He is a King, He is so by nature; if He is the Redeemer, it is because He has willed it with His Father and the Holy Spirit; if He is a Saviour, He is the only Saviour, none other can save us; and so when we speak of Him as 'the Prince of Peace,' we see that that peace is inherent in Himself. When He took our nature, He took it into union with His Godhead. We know that He was tempted in all points; we recognize His physical suffering, and, what is more, and much worse, the agony of mind and heart, the iron entering into the very soul. We cannot understand how that is consistent with His abiding in perfect peace, yet we know that it was so. He is the Prince of Peace because He possessed peace in Himself. Peace rests in the Christian's heart just because it belongs to Jesus Christ. What Christ is in other natures that He conveys, and He conveys it by necessity.
II. The Gift of Peace. He brings, then, peace!
a. He has made you at peace with God. The punishment of our sins has been bought by His satisfaction of the justice of God.
b. He has given you His peace. You remember His own words that seem to sum up all He can possibly do. They are the last, and so, as is usual with Him, the best Listen to them: 'Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you'. And He places His peace, if you will have it, right down in your inmost soul. In these last words He was careful to point out 'Not as the world giveth, give I unto you'. When one of us gives some small pledge or present to a friend, a moment before it belonged to the giver, the next it has passed with affection to the receiver. It has ceased to be the property of the one, and has become the possession of the other. Not so Christ! He does not give in that way; His peace remains His own, not merely because He has parted with none of it, but for a deeper and better reason. The gift which passes between you and me marks our separateness, but the gift that is possessed by you and by Jesus Christ testifies to our union with Him. It is in Him that it is enjoyed, and in Him alone.
III. The Character of Peace. There is peace and peace! Some persons make a wilderness, burn the towns, sweep the crops, kill the men, and then set up an inscription that they have made peace! There is peace which is a name only. There is a peace which is an end, and there is a peace which is unworthy, and a peace which is crushing. It is not the peace of Jesus Christ. The peace He enjoys, and that He conveys, is the peace of God. It is consistent with the completest and most tremendous activity. No saint ever lived without peace as the rule of his life, but no saint ever found in peace his end. The more that the Prince of Peace dwells in our hearts the greater will be our desire and our capacity to serve Him.
References. IX. 6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No. 214; vol. iv. No. 215; vol. v. No. 258; vol. vi. No. 291; vol. xii. No. 724. F. W. Aveling, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxviii. 1890, p. 249. H. Hensley Henson, ibid. vol. lix. 1901, p. 6; see also ibid. vol. lxxi. 1907, p. 9. J. Morgan Gibbon, ibid. vol. lxv. 1904, p. 113. J. Bannerman, Sermons, pp. 108, 128. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Sunday Lessons for Daily Life, p. 52. C. J. Ridgeway, The King and His Kingdom, p. 40. W. H. Murray, The Fruits of the Spirit, p. 146. J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 229. H. P. Liddon, Advent in St. Paul's, p. 257; see also Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament, p. 174. T. De Witt Talmage, Sermons, p. 52. C. E. Jefferson, The Character of Jesus, p. 339. Jesse Butt, The Soul's Escape, p. 5. A. G. Mortimer, The Church's Lessons for the Christian Year, part i. p. 59. J. Keble, Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany, pp. 49, 79. IX. 6, 7. J. Vickery, Ideals of Life, p. 295. V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah, I.-XII. p. 77. Stopford A. Brooke, The Old Testament and Modern Life, p. 303. C. Kingsley, Sermons on National Subjects, p. 346. IX. 7. J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 232. J. Clifford, The Secret of Jesus, p. 171. J. B. Mozley, Sermons Parochial and Occasional, p. 244. IX. 13. C. H. Sharpe, Church, Times, vol. xlviii. 1902, p. 48. IX. 16, 17. C. F. Aked, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxi. 1902, p. 387. IX. 29. J. Percival, Sermons at Rugby, p. 127. X. 5-19. V. S. S. Coles, Advent Meditations on Isaiah, I.-XII. p. 81.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 9". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany