Summary: The heavenly host declared peace. 1. Peace with God 2. Peace within ourselves 3. Peace with others
The Message of Christmas: Peace
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10
Last week we looked at the joy that is in Christmas. The declaration of the angel said, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people". Christmas can be a time of joy if we remember the purpose and plan of God at the birth of Jesus. Joy is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now we are going to turn our attention to the peace that the herald angels brought to us. Did you notice that there is no longer one angel or group of angels? The peace of God is proclaimed by the heavenly hosts. All of them proclaim praise to God and the peace that is brought to us through Jesus Christ.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14
"Peace? Yea right!" I am not sure about you, but there must be some misunderstanding. As I type up the message people are preparing funeral services for kids gunned down in church this last weekend. Two of those killed were preparing to go out and tell others about Jesus. Our soldiers are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to secure the peace for others. Closer to home people were killed not last week but last night.
A fellow pastor sent me pictures of the live nativity scene portrayed in their town parade. Mary and Joseph, a young couple with what looked like their baby lying in a manger, sat on the float. My friend was next to the camel. I assumed he played a wise man. They brought the scriptures to life.
There was another man who earnestly tried to make the scriptures come to life. No, I am not talking about a nativity scene with live animals like my friends church. He chose a passage that many in this room know from the book of Isaiah. It says in 11:6,
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
He finally got a wolf and lamb and put them in the backyard to begin this scripture’s visual presentation. The problem he lamented was that he had to throw a new lamb in the backyard each day. Peace in this world is to the point that the lion or wolf will lay with the lamb. So what did the herald angels mean when they proclaimed peace?
The King James Version says, "Peace to all men". We also find the same phrase in verse 10 referring to joy instead of peace. We know that this is not the case by reading or watching the news. Just as we know all people do not have joy, we know that all do not have peace in their life.
The proper translation is, "Peace to men on who God’s favor rests." There is a vast difference between the two. God’s peace is only available to people on whom His favor rests. Are you/we in God’s favor? How do we know His favor rests on us?
If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, a personal relationship, then you have the availability of peace because it is through Him, and only Him, that peace is available. Isaiah 53:5 says,
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Ephesians 2:14 says,
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
And we find in these passages and others the peace that God has for us is only available through the person of Jesus Christ. We cannot find peace anywhere else no matter how hard we try. It is one reason our world is in the shape it is in today.
Those who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord are not only at war with God and others but themselves as well. Jesus is the solution to our quest for peace. He is the one who brings peace and it is His message of peace the heavenly hosts heralded.