Our eighth Advent reading is Isaiah 9:1-7. (Click the link to open the passage in a new window).
In my cultural context, “peace” often means “personal peace” or “inward peace”. A state of contentment.
But in Isaiah 9 we see a much broader understanding of peace. The peace that comes when oppression is ended (verse 4).
Some commentators note the linguistic connections between this passage and Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Of course they felt happy to be freed from slavery in Egypt! But why? Because objectively, their oppression had been ended by God’s deliverance.
Yet Isaiah also looks forward to a future deliverer. The Prince of Peace. A ruler. “The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end” (verse 7).
So… what is the nature of his dominion?
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). It is a kingdom that casts out demons (Matthew 12:28). It is a kingdom that calls people to repentance and acceptance of the gospel (Mark 1:14-15). Paul taught it is a matter of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Jeremy Treat explains it this way, “The kingdom is God’s reign through God’s people over God’s place.” And the reformer John Calvin said, “We must make the invisible kingdom visible in our midst.”
We are walking in a great darkness. Just read the news. Just like the people of Isaiah’s day. Yet we also have seen a great light. Unlike Isaiah’s audience, we know the light of the world.
As we light our Advent candles this year, let’s ask ourselves: how will his light shine in the darkness?
How has Christ brought peace to this world?
During Advent, how can you bring Christ’s peace to the world?
You are encouraged to share other reflections on these passages.
You can find this week’s Advent 2021 readings here: