Summary: The sermon examines the Peace the Prince brings in light of the War with Iraq.
Is the Prince of Peace against war? Jesus said, according to John 14:27, “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” What does this word peace mean? Does it mean what the war protestors say, “Jesus wouldn’t drop bombs on Iraq?” Does it mean there should never be a war if we are Christians or that we should never kill?
Peace- from the Hebrew Shalom- is not the peace that comes from the end of a war, or even the cessation of gunfire. But shalom is the peace that comes from Jehovah in time of war.
In the Greek- the word means pretty much the same thing, it has a connotation of rest and contentment when one is harmonized with God. It means undisturbed peace, a spiritual peace even when one is under fire by forces like the Iraqi Republican Guard!
The world’s view of peace is different than the Christian view because we as Christians have a different source of that peace than what the world has.
The world believes that peace comes from control, people of the world believe that if they can control the circumstances around them, if they can control the people around them, if they can control their things and other peoples things this control will bring peace. Jesus says, my peace is different; my peace comes to you regardless of your situation if you will allow it.
Should we as Christians sit back and enjoy the good life as people in the world who may be different than us are oppressed, tortured, starved, gassed to death and terrorized?
On my last trip to seminary in March, I was leaving Grayson to travel to Louisville, which is about a two and a half hour ride, and I was listening to the radio. The host was interviewing the husband of an Iraqi couple and their view about the impending war. Now listen brothers and sisters to what the husband said, “Life here is terrible, really we have no life, little comfort and much pain and suffering.” “The war brings us hope of freedom, even if it causes our own death.” In other words their lives were so miserable that death would be an acceptable option. That concept was driven home to me when I was a young boy and people were leaving Cuba on anything that would float in spite of the fact that they would probably not survive the 90-mile trip to Florida. Why? Simply because they were living in what seemed to be Hell to them, death would be better from their perspective than to continue living in their current situation.
Do we as Christians have a responsibility to help oppressed people? Are we to stand against evil?
I call your attention to a couple of passages that spoke to me and I hope they speak to you as well. Isa 1:16-17 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
In Genesis 14 we read about these warring kings who attack Sodom and Gomorrah, they terrorized the people took their stuff and they took Lot. When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and routed them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his nephew Lot with his goods, and the women and the people (. Gen 14:14-16).
Now I ask that you to pay close attention to this next event because it is very significant to the war we find ourselves involved in today as a nation as it relates to the moral issues of what should we do and how God feels about rescue operations.
Isn’t that what we are doing in Iraq is liberating people who belong to God from an evil tyrannical regime?
Abram runs into a king named Melchizedek. Many scholars agree that this Melchizedek is a picture of an incarnate Christ and some go so far as to argue that he was Jesus. The writer of Hebrews says, “and what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life” (Heb 7:15-16). The priest in Hebrews is Jesus and Melchizedek is aligned with Jesus.