“For a child has been born to us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
| Isaiah 9.6, NRSV
Jesus has many names. To be sure, he is first Mary’s baby and Joseph’s boy. They will raise him together but King Herod will raise his eyebrows. Though the prophet Isaiah has many names for Jesus, his childhood will be anything but peaceful.
From the start, King Herod will see Jesus as a rival for the throne. Feeling threatened and with no name, no physical description, no birthdate, he will order the murder of all little boys under the age of two. Herod will try to kill them all. Red flags up regarding his mental state and so much blood on his hands.
King Herod doesn’t care about the pain he will cause others so long as he is the only one who can be called king.
I imagine Herod beating his chest, shouting at his servants, “I am king! Do you hear me? I am king!” He is mumbling under his breath. “I am destined to rule and some little baby is not going to ruin my reign!” Herod will see Jesus as his competition. Seeing red, Herod will want Jesus dead.
Jesus will be on Herod’s “Most Wanted” list. But the prophet Isaiah has a list of his own, which includes “Prince of Peace.” It was foretold long before Herod and the pronouncement stands today. Eugene Peterson translates Jesus’s title “Prince of Wholeness” in The Message. He continues, “His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings” (9.7, MSG).
What a way to reign, not by dividing and conquering nor divvying up the land and its resources for the wealthy elite. Instead, Jesus will rule by way of bringing all things and people together. The Prince of Peace will come to unite and to make us whole. Jesus will come as a member of the family, not of the ruling class.
He will come as a baby, crying out for help. God vulnerable and dependent but not on servants but parents and later siblings. Hands out not fingers pointing or giving directives, his little hands will wrap around fingers. A little baby who is defenseless, Jesus will come in peace.
May the peace of Christ rule our hearts and make us whole. Amen.