Summary: God offers PEACE (through Jesus Christ) to world right here, right now!
Luke 2:9-14 says, “the angel of the Lord said unto them, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. The word ‘gospel’ literally means ‘good news’. Our text can be paraphrased ‘I have good news! Unto you is born a Savior! Which shall bring peace on earth!’. The word ‘peace’ is defined as ‘state of calmness, freedom from hostility’. For 2,000 years the world has seen an abundance of hostility; husband against wife, democrat against republican, race against race, nation against nation, and on two occasions, world against world!
Either the promise of peace is the greatest religious hoax of all time, OR many have misunderstood WHAT God intended by that divine proclamation of peace on earth. On one occasion Jesus said (Luke 12:51-53), “I didn’t come to bring peace on earth, but division”. So the peace Jesus came to bring isn’t necessarily an all-encompassing peace. On another occasion Jesus said (John 14:27) ‘My peace I leave with you’. So, to understand the peace Jesus came to give us, we need to understand the peace that Jesus had. I am firmly persuaded to believe that there would truly be WORLD peace if everyone in the WORLD had Jesus’ peace!
There are THREE primary ‘disrupters of calmness’ that Jesus came to restore. I wish to examine them with you.
First, Jesus came to bring PEACE WITH GOD. Isaiah 57:19 says, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, Peace…”. God wants us to enjoy peace, freedom from irritating agitations throughout our lives. However, verse 20 says, “but the wicked are like the troubled sea”. Verse 21 continues, “there is no peace to the wicked”. The Bible tells us that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). When we sin, we don’t have to be taught that we’ve done wrong, we feel it! Our soul becomes agitated because we know some wicked behavior that we chose to do has alienated us from God. THIS is the first and primary peace that Jesus came to restore to fallen man. Ephesians 2: 13-15 says, “in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace”. While Jesus was hanging on the cross to pay the penalty that our sins deserved, Jesus cried to God, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”! God heard Jesus’ cry, and God responds by forgiving the sins of all who are humbled by the inner agitation caused by sin and seek inner peace with God, claiming the blood of Jesus! Remember when Jesus said “I didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword’? Well, if you find peace with God by claiming Jesus as your personal Savior, and try to share him with someone not ready to receive it, you’ll find out for yourself what Jesus meant when he said he would cause even family members to be at odds with each other.
It’s one thing to get peace with God, another to keep it for a lifetime. I know of many who at one time had a wonderful testimony, “I’ve found peace with God”. I also know of many who allowed habitual wickedness to intrude back into their lives and steal away their inner peace with God. How do we keep peace with God? Great question. Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified) says, “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is STAYED on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” We keep peace with God by yielding every part of our lives to the gentle guidance and direction of His holy presence CONTINUALLY througout our lives.
Second, Jesus came to bring PEACE WITH OUR FELLOW MAN. Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men…”. We are ALL very different from each other. We have different personalities, priorities, upbringings, backgrounds, cultures, etc. Our differences make us very vulnerable to be offended by each other. It is very easy to experience hostility from other people. If you don’t believe me, just go out on the highway in the middle of rush hour traffic! God bids us to work hard at avoiding hostilities w/each other. If we want to keep our peace with God, we must work on keeping peace with each other. Colosians 3:13-15 (Amplified) says, “Be gentle and forbearing with one another, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. And LET THE PEACE (soul harmony which comes) from Christ RULE (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” The KEY to having peace with your fellow man is to be EASY to get along with! Until the entire world experiences peace with God for themselves, there WILL BE DIVISION with others. But, make sure inappropriate attitudes and behaviors COME FROM THE OTHER PERSON!