The first Hebrew word is the standard word for "ruler, chief, head person", and, of course, the word for "peace" as everyone should know (or guess) is shalom. The word, however, is a little more interesting than you might think. It means most literally "safe". It references being well, happy, friendly. You see, we are at peace when we are safe, well, happy.
Thus, Christ is the prince -- the Son born to the throne -- of peace. He is the author of peace. He is the provider of safety. He is the reason to be happy. Or "blessed", as it is so often stated in Scripture.
This title, "Prince of Peace", is particularly helpful in our day (although I don't suppose it has been any less so in prior days). When life around might not look "safe", when times aren't so "happy", when we don't really see a reason for "peace", we can know that we serve the Prince of peace. It is "the peace that passes understanding".
He is the Prince of Peace first by His position as possessing all authority. While you and I may question the character and wisdom and good intentions of those in immediate authority, the truth is that Jesus told us that "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me" (Matt 28:18). As genuine Prince, then, He has all authority, and as Prince of Peace, His authority provides the ultimate safety in an unsafe world.
He is Prince of Peace most importantly in His death and resurrection.
Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility (Eph 2:13-16).He is our peace. He doesn't merely provide it. He is it. He broke down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile and between God and Man. Because of our Prince of Peace, God is able to cease hostilities with His creation on account of sin.
Peace is no small issue in Scripture. Jesus is "the king of peace" (Heb 7:2). Peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). We are not to worry about anything, but pray about everything with thanksgiving so that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ (Phil 4:6-7). We know that, "since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 5:1), that "to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom 8:6), and that "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom 14:17). We are commanded, in fact, to make peace a guiding principle in our hearts (Col 3:15). Peter tells us "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:10-11).
Peace is a pretty big deal. It's is a major component of the Christian life. It is rooted in the peace we have with God. It is our guiding principle, our calling (Col 3:15), a prime directive. Paul prays, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way" (2 Thess 3:16). So, in a world that is not at peace among a people who are not at peace in an economic and political climate that is not one of peace, we have the Prince of Peace, the ultimate source, the ruler of peace -- as good as it can possibly be. On the edge of the new year, I echo Paul's prayer:
Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way.