Luke chapter 2 tells the most famous account of the birth of Jesus Christ, complete with a manger, angels, and shepherds watching their flocks by night. You know the one. It’s the picture-perfect Christmas card scene where there is peace on earth and mercy mild and a little glowing baby in a manger that people love to celebrate. But the reality is: The world is still filled with turmoil and trouble. So, where’s the peace on earth that Jesus came to bring?
A very common mistake people make in misunderstanding Jesus’ purpose is this: Jesus did not come to bring “peace on earth” and “goodwill toward men” between people. We know that Jesus came to die for our sins, and you certainly are aware that there is no peace across the earth at any given time. Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished this: Peace on earth, between sinful man and holy God, and He took God’s wrath upon Himself, ensuring God’s good will toward mankind, all those who will accept Jesus’ death on the cross as the propitiation for sin. THAT is the Good News that should be on a Christmas card!
Peace on Earth, Amid Wars and Rumors of Wars
The most significant miracle God ever performed on behalf of His people was shedding His Godhood and taking on the likeness of man to experience the human condition and die as the only sinless person to ever live and be punished for the sins of the world. Philippians 2:6-8 (MEV) says that Jesus, “…being in the form of God…emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death.”
In Luke 2:14 the angels worshipped and sang of the birth of the Messiah saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and goodwill toward men.” Now, if that is indeed true, and Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), came to bring peace on earth…then what about when Jesus, Himself, said, “I did not come to come to bring peace, but a sword” in Mark 10:34? Does the Bible contradict itself? NO. Never. So, now what?
God does not define “peace” like we do, and sometimes He’s willing to make war against sin in order to win peace for His people. Romans 16:20 says “…and the God of peace will soon crush Satan under His feet” which seems like a very un-peaceful thing to do! Isaiah wrote that “the punishment of our peace was put upon Him”. (Isaiah 53:5) In God’s reality, punishment leads to peace and crushing your enemies creates peace – the difference is this: It all depends on the enemy you’re fighting! We aren’t waging war against each other- although that is what it often looks like. As Christians, our battles are spiritual. (Ephesians 6:10-18) We don’t have peace on earth because the world doesn’t have Jesus! But you do. Jesus Christ is God’s “peace on earth” and His “goodwill toward men” and you have Him in you, working through you and for you. If there’s going to be peace, the world needs Jesus, but the world needs YOU to show them who He is!
Thought for today: The Prince of Peace Carries Power
Wars and pain and death and evil acts, sickness and trauma will never cease as long as there is sin in the world, but there is peace between God and man once again, the way God intended it to be when He formed man on the sixth day of creation. Isaiah 53:11 says that, “…when He sees all that has been accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied.“ 2 Corinthians 5:21 (MEV) says, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The beauty and magic of the Christmas season, the real reason we sing about “peace on earth” is because the wrath of God for sin was satisfied by the blood shed by His innocent, blameless Son.
Even so, it’s not easy to navigate the areas in life where we experience turmoil because of the fallen condition of sin that has ravaged humanity and sometimes we even become angry and disappointed with God, But remember that when God looks at you, at your worst, in your sin, He sees you through that precious blood of His Son Jesus. THAT is peace! Whatever battles are raging in your life right now, whatever the headlines say, remember that you can have “peace that passes understanding” which will become stronger through the time you spend in worship, where your joy is found. (Psalm 16:11) When was born, the angels were speaking prophetically about what Jesus Christ, the Messiah, had been born to accomplish and the peace He came to bring will sustain you even when the battles rage. (See Philippians 4:8-9)
Strengthen Your Faith in the God of Peace!
- “The Lamb of God, Jesus, is a Lion in Disguise”
- “The Right Hand of the Lord Has Unlimited, Unmatched Power”
- “How Praise Proves the Joy of the Lord is Your Strength”