“The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!” (Psalm 128:5-6 ESV)
The psalmist calls out a threefold blessing. He prays that, throughout their lives, God’s people might see the prosperity of Jerusalem. He asks that they would live to see their children and grandchildren and, we would hope, see them grow in grace and faith. Finally, he asks that God would grant peace to His people. Yet these are things that God’s people may not know during this earthly life. Jerusalem, even though its name means “city of peace,” did not always know peace. The city was repeatedly destroyed by enemy armies. The lives of faithful believers can be cut short by illness or violence. They may not live long enough to see their children’s children. The people of God have not always enjoyed the blessing of peace. Still today Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith in Jesus.
God sent His only Son into the world to bring the blessings for which the inspired psalmist prays. The Prince of Peace would come to rule in justice and righteousness and “of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7a ESV). The Savior was born in Bethlehem as an angel proclaimed the good news of His birth to shepherds and a multitude of the heavenly host rejoiced: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14 ESV). Yet peace would be brought about only because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, would know no peace for Himself. He was rejected by many of the people He came to save. His enemies continuously tried to entrap Him with His own teachings. The religious leaders plotted against Jesus and sought to destroy Him. Finally, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and condemned to death. Just outside of Jerusalem, the city of peace, the Prince of Peace was lifted up on a cross.
Jesus told His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). On the third day after His death, Jesus rose from the dead, overcoming all that the world had brought against Him, overcoming the powers of sin, death, and Satan. In this world we will have tribulation, but the crucified and risen Savior promises us His peace. The peace that Jesus brings does not depend on the absence of trouble, illness, or death. The peace that Jesus brings depends always and only on Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Through faith in Jesus our sins are forgiven, and we are reconciled to God, “so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7 ESV). We are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem and, with our children’s children and countless generations that came before us, we will one day enjoy the blessings of eternal peace in our Savior’s presence.
Prayer: Prince of Peace, grant to me Your peace at all times and in all circumstances. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Can you think of instances in modern times where Jerusalem has experienced violence?
2. Why do you think Jesus was born in Bethlehem and not in some wealthy home in Jerusalem?
3. What does being a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem mean to you?