Read Isaiah 2:1–5 and 9:6–7

Perhaps the greatest evidence that the Promised One is the Mighty God is this: He is the one—the only one—with a power great enough to bring lasting peace. He not only brings peace, he is peace. The Prince of Peace.

We are, of course, accustomed to a world in which peace is maddeningly elusive. In 2003, journalist Chris Hedges set out to determine whether there have been any sustained periods of peace on the human record. Defining war as any “active conflict that has claimed more than 1,000 lives,” he reviewed 3,400 years of history and discovered just 268 war-free years. In other words, approximately 92 percent of recorded history is marked by active conflict.

Of course, the people of ancient Israel did not need a journalist to tell them that human existence is plagued by wars and rumors of wars. They had plenty of firsthand, trauma-inducing experience with conflict, violence, and oppression. What they did need was a prophet who could provide them with a vision of peace vivid enough to counter the horrific images already seared into their memories.

Isaiah brought them—and us—just such a vision. Consider the images in the second chapter of Isaiah. All the nations come streaming together to the mountain of God. That’s where they discover that the supposed dichotomy between peace and justice has been false all along. The Lord brings peace through justice. He judges between the nations and settles disputes, resolving not only wars but also their underlying causes.

And then watch what happens when humans find themselves in the presence of the Prince of Peace: The swords and spears they’ve brought to the mountain—weapons they’ve long assumed were necessary to their survival—seem suddenly out of place. The people lay down their arms. But the Prince of Peace has something even more beautiful in mind. Soon, the people are working together to convert their weapons into gardening tools. Human ingenuity is redeemed and redirected from destructive ends to creative ends.

Isaiah is not naive. He has seen the brutality that can and does characterize the human condition. But he’s also caught a glimpse of the verdant, vibrant, peace-infused future the Prince of Peace has planned for his creation. It’s the sort of vision that gives a weary prophet hope—a vision about the sort of prince who will one day cause angels to exclaim, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

Carolyn Arends is a recording artist, an author, and the director of education for Renovaré. Her most recent album is In the Morning.

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