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Archive for October, 2009

A Nobel Prize for the Prince of Peace?

This morning America awakened to the news that President Barack Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize. Many people, including representatives from the White House, were surprised by the announcement. A question was immediately asked, by those on both the right and the left: has the President really earned such a prestigious honor? This conversation will doubtless continue throughout the next several days, as President Obama takes his place in the historic pantheon of Nobel laureates. Indeed, he now stands in illustrious company. Former Nobel winners include Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, and Teddy Roosevelt. Some certainly deserved the prize; others did not.

As I pondered this milestone today, my thoughts turned to another man of peace, one whose arrival was not triumphal, one whose life was not glamorous, and one whose death was celebrated by many. Why is it that Jesus of Nazareth was rejected by the world He came to save? Why is it that He never garnered the applause of men, or the international stardom that comes with a Nobel Prize?

The Bible clearly identifies peace as an important part of Jesus’ ministry: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5.1). Here the Bible speaks of reconciliation, not between bitter rivals, or warring tribes, but between man and God. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5.9-10).

According to the Bible, mankind is at war with a just and holy God (James 4.4). Because we fall short of God’s standard of perfection, the Bible calls us sinners. We are people who are at war with God, sinners who are evil in the very core of our being. This sin nature sets us at odds with our Creator and places us into a constant state of rebellion.

This is why Jesus came. This is why Jesus died. Only through Christ’s death and resurrection can we experience peace with God. On the cross He bore the penalty for our sin, in order to satisfy the just demands of God’s law (2 Corinthians 5.21). His sacrificial death, when accepted by faith, bridges the gap between men and God. Because Jesus “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1.19), we can spend an eternity in Heaven.

This accomplishment surpasses anything ever achieved by any Nobel laureate, even for the best of the bunch. Yet Jesus has never been awarded a medal. He has never been acclaimed by all the world. And He has never been a television star. Yet Jesus does not need any of these things. The Bible teaches that one day Jesus Christ will return to the planet earth to establish His eternal kingdom (Revelation 19-22).

On that day, the paparazzi will be overwhelmed, and the Nobel committee will be speechless. For they will stand before God in the flesh, the One whose death and life reconciles men to God. The Bible calls Jesus the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9.6). He is better than any Nobel laureate, for He will one day bring lasting peace to this earth. This peace will be based upon His terrible death upon the cross in our behalf. Truly, this is an accomplishment deserving of our respect. We dare not trivialize it with an award. Instead, we should bow the knee before our Creator and Lord, the Prince of Peace.

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