The story goes something like this: a person considering whether Yeshua* is the Messiah or not asks his Rabbi, “Could it be that Messiah has already come, and that Yeshua is His name?” The Rabbi walks over to the window and looks out, shakes his head and with a sigh declares: “He can’t be the true Messiah. There’s still no peace. We know that when Messiah comes there will be peace everywhere.”
Is it true that Messiah is to bring peace? And if Yeshua is the Messiah, then where’s the peace?
The Promise of Peace
The desire for peace is universal among the sane nations of this world. The idea of peace means much more than merely the end of political hostilities. The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ has in it the idea of ‘completeness’ or ‘wholeness.’ Because of sin we are all ‘incomplete’. The scriptures tell us that sin separates us from God, from each other, and from even ourselves (Isaiah 59:1-2). However, the shalom of God fulfills us perfectly and completely.
This is the very desire of God, who in Aaron’s blessing states, “May the Lord give you peace” (Numbers 6:26). The Psalmist writes “The Lord will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11), and in the Prophets, Messiah is even called “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). In fact, when Messiah reigns, peace will be His Kingdom’s theme (Isaiah 2:1-4; 9:4-5, 7; Zechariah. 9:9-10; etc.).
This universal peace of Messiah is based, however, on each individual first having a personal peace through a right relationship with God: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
Thus when each person receives peace from God, they can share and live in that peace within their family, community, country and world. This peace is like having a million dollars to give to a friend: if you don’t have it, of course you can’t give it.
The Rejection of Peace
The Scriptures prophesy that God’s peace would actually be rejected when it was to be offered. Isaiah the Prophet wrote that Messiah, the Prince of Peace, would come to make peace between God and His people, and that Messiah would be rejected. When Messiah would be rejected, the peace He brings would be rejected with Him. Why would Messiah be rejected?
1. “He had no beauty or majesty that we should look at Him, and nothing in His appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
For people attracted to externals, Messiah would be too ordinary looking: there was nothing about His appearance to command our attention. But for those who were looking for true peace with God, it was Messiah’s internal character that made Him stand out.
2. “He was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Surely, He took upon Himself our griefs and sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God and afflicted by Him.” (Isaiah 53:3-4)
For people desirous of comfort and convenience, this one suffered too much. How could one suffer so much at the hands of religious people and the government, and not be judged by God? In any case, no decent person wants to associate with someone who attracts trouble the way this “Messiah” did! However, He suffered for our sins, not His own: “The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
3) “He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before the shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
He was too compliant, too passive. He wasn’t exactly the “John Wayne” type of warrior king. Many wanted a Messiah who would come to vanquish the enemies of Israel and thus bring a forced peace. His humility was despised and rejected, for He came not to protect His own life, but to be an offering for our sins: “the Lord makes His life a guilt offering.” (Isaiah 53:10)
Now suppose I came to your house with a beautiful cake–my father always taught me not to visit empty handed,–but as soon as you saw it was me standing there, you slammed the door in my face! Would you expect to still get the cake? Of course not! Reject me, and you reject all that I bring with me. So, why isn’t there “peace”? Reject the Prince of Peace and you reject the very peace that He brings.
The Provision of Peace
The New Covenant Scriptures repeat the promise of Isaiah 26:3 (see above). All who will trust in Messiah and the atonement that He made for sins, receives…
- Peace with God
- Peace of mind and heart
- Peace with one another
1) “Therefore, since we’re made right with God by faith, we have peace with God through Yeshua Hamashiach Adoneinu [our Lord Yeshua the Messiah].” (Romans 5:1).
2) “The peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Messiah Yeshua.” (Philippians 4:7)
3) “Messiah is our peace, who has made the two (Jews and Gentiles) one…one new person, thus making peace.” (Ephesians 2:14-15)
The Scriptures also teach that one day our people, Israel, will acknowledge the Messiah and receive His salvation and peace: “The stone which the builders rejected shall become the capstone!” (Psalms 118:22-26). In light of that event, we are commanded to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6). In that day, peace will be worldwide, even as the Scriptures promised.
A View of the Future
An illustration of that coming day was once seen in Israel: An Israeli soldier who believes in Yeshua was on patrol one night in Gaza. While on patrol, his squad spotted a suspiciously parked van, which in this part of the world can be dangerous. Someone had to check it out, so the others in his squad had him, the “believer”, investigate the van. As he approached the vehicle, a man came out and walked toward him. It was the driver, who turned out to be a Palestinian pastor–a believer in Yeshua–visiting some of his congregants. To the amazement of the on-looking squad, here was an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian laughing and rejoicing in fellowship in the Gaza moonlight. Yeshua is Israel’s hope for peace.
Until that day comes, each one of us can have peace with God right now in our own hearts, and have peace with each other by trusting in Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua. Trusting the Lord begins by recognizing that the world’s peace plans, nor our own strategies for personal peace have not worked, nor will they work. Messiah Yeshua is God’s way to have peace in your life and “peace on earth, goodwill to all people.”
*Yeshua is Jesus’ name in Hebrew
For more Messianic questions, we’ve got answers for you!