In 1987, while on a trip to the Bible Lands, a Christian Arab friend said in earnest, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Of course, this is a quotation from Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” This reminder from my friend that day made that verse come alive for me, and I’ve never forgotten it.
I wonder how many Christians take this admonition seriously? With Jerusalem in the recent news, it stands as another reminder to really pray for the peace of this ancient city. Jerusalem needs peace now, though for now it will be imperfect peace. Ultimately, peace will come when Jesus comes to reign on earth.
Both Christ’s first coming and His second coming are referenced in Isaiah 9:6-7. The great Christmas text highlighted in Handel’s Messiah says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” There is only one prince of peace—Jesus. Then the next verse continues the theme of peace, “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Peace is coming to Jerusalem! This torn city will be healed. The presence of the Prince of Peace Himself will bring the peace so desperately needed. Ultimately, Jesus the Messiah will bring this peace to Jerusalem. As Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem once, so He will walk them again. As truly as He came once—the cause for which we celebrate Christmas—He is surely coming again.
May we focus on the Prince of Peace, and let a view of Him motivate us to pray in faith for the peace of Jerusalem!
John Van Gelderen