Summary: Some have broken relationships...there may be unforgiveness or resentment... you may be harboring hurts or disappointments. It's time to let the peace of God take away those chains and set you free
CAN THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH?
Many of you have already made preparations for Christmas...decorating, shopping, plans for visiting, etc. I would like to look to God's Word in an attempt to prepare us spiritually for this holiday season. I want to begin today by looking first of all at Luke 2:8 14 (READ)
2,000 years ago an angel announced the birth of Christ...and immediately a heavenly host appeared with the angel and ended their visitation with the words, "Peace on earth, good will to all upon whom God's favor rests." Peace on earth...those are beautiful words...words we would all love to have come true. But let me ask you...where is that peace on earth? Where can we find it?
The angels announced "Peace on earth"...but those words didn't stop the bombs that were dropped on Pearl Harbor...or those that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They didn't stop people from being put in concentration camps in WWII...or others from being imprisoned and brutalized in Vietnam...Iraq...etc. Where is this peace?
I've seen the horrors of war in the Persian Gulf. I've unloaded the wounded from helicopters and buses. I've hooked up the refrigerated trailers that served as morgues. And like many around the world I wonder...where is this peace on earth?
There is a true story I read about a retired couple who was so alarmed by the threat of nuclear war that they did a study of all the inhabited places on the earth. Their goal was to determine where in the world would be the place to be least likely affected by a nuclear war...a place of safety and security.
They studied and traveled...Finally they found the place. That next Christmas they sent their pastor a card from their new home...in the Falkland Islands. Shortly after that their "paradise" was turned into a war zone by Great Britain and Argentina. Peace on earth?
What could these words possibly mean in a world where war has been a fact of life before and also after the birth of Christ when these words were proclaimed? This morning I'd like to take a look at what those words "Peace on Earth" really mean...to see if we can understand the truth that was proclaimed on that wonderful night so long ago.
Now, in the time of Jesus there was what was called Pax Romana...the peace of Rome. The Roman Empire claimed that its rule had brought peace to the world. But what kind of peace was it? The Jews of that time didn't think too much of this great peace because it was a peace built on terror...intimidation...and military force.
It was a peace that required all the resources of the mighty Roman army to maintain. And for most who were alive at that time, it was anything but peaceful. Just the fact that the people constantly wanted to rid themselves of the yoke of Roman rule indicates that it was something that was imposed on them...not something they felt and enjoyed.
And what has changed in the past 2,000 years? Look where we are today. It's pretty ironic that most people today also believe that real peace can only exist under some type of military force or superiority. We went to Bosnia to force people to live in peace. But real peace cannot be imposed...it cannot be forced on people or on a nation.
Still, I think we get caught up in this idea that military might is the answer to the problems of peace in the world. And yet the probability of war is more real and more frightening than ever.
I'm 44 years old and do you realize that for nearly half of my entire lifetime our nation has been involved in either declared war or major military conflict where men and women have fought and died. So what in the world were those angels speaking of when they sang of peace on earth and good will to men? Is it possible?
Yes, it is possible...but sadly enough, most of the world will never experience that true, lasting, liberating peace and good will to men that the angels spoke of. It's known to just a minority of the world's population, in spite of the fact that it is available to all.
Real peace comes only to those who follow the One who is called the Prince of Peace. In John 14 we find Jesus gathered with His disciples in the Upper Room...knowing that the cross was looming before Him...knowing that death was certain. Look with me to those words He spoke....(READ 14:27)
Can there be peace on earth? Yes. There is a peace that Christ offers...but it's one that is far different from anything the world has to offer...and for that matter for them to understand. What is the peace that Jesus gives? Well, it's not a cabin in the mountains or a peaceful little cottage by the ocean away from all the troubles and problems of the world.