Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
Peace on Earth and Good Will To Men the Angels Sing!
This is the challenge of Peace that comes from Jesus.
But did Jesus really come to bring Peace?
That has always been a hard question.
We can simply turn on the news, check online or look around us to know very quickly that there is not Peace on Earth, not in our lifetime and certainly not in the past 2,000 years. We even wonder if things have gotten a lot less peaceful since Jesus was here?!
But maybe we need to address the question, what do we mean by Peace first because we might have some different ideas on that one.
Is it geopolitical/social peace where the hearts of humanity are turned towards the good and the benefit of their neighbor ? If not peace, grace received through the mercy of God’s people and through God’s good creation that is still good even though it is broken by sin.
But Jesus does not force us into this peace where we look to the benefit of others first, it would require taking away every single scrap of our freedom to do that. We would not have any choice, we would not be us and we would not be free to love either. So unless sin is completely taken away, people will still act sinful towards each other.
Or often there is a thing called false peace when people just pretend that nothing is wrong when everything is wrong. You ever hear someone say, “they’re just trying to keep the peace” That’s usually what that means, but is that peace? We use this false peace for many reasons. Sometimes we’re scared of what will happen if we break the peace, we’re scared of the repercussions. Sometimes we’re comfortable where we are at, even if it’s not a good situation and it seems easier to keep the peace then to move forward. Easier maybe, but usually not better. When we try to just keep this false peace, sure their might be less conflict on the outside but we usually die on the inside and it robs of an opportunity to show real love and forgiveness and maybe to receive those things, if not in the situation then from God and from the people who do love us.
But often we include God in this “keeping the peace.” If I don’t think about faith, or the church where God’s words and commands are proclaimed or about my own actions that go against God’s law, if I don’t bother God then God won’t bother me and we can all just get along in our separate corners and leave each other alone. But that isn’t peace with God, that’s simply ignoring the problem of a life that goes astray from God’s saving grace. Because when we cover ourselves in these illusions then we try to ignore the reality that broken and sinful thoughts, words and actions coming from us are done against God directly. Wages of sin is death, eternal separation from God, sin is like committing treason against the God who created you and goes against the way set for us to live that leads to eternal life. That is not keeping the peace, that is ignoring the problem, like a patient ignoring a serious diagnosis that has a good treatment because it is easier to simply not think about it.
So, did Jesus come to bring Peace… no, not this false peace. No Jesus came to shake things up and wake us up to our need, to draw a line in the sand that has to be acknowledged one way or the other so we couldn’t ignore it anymore. In the division and the fire, reveal our sin for the damning and killing things that they are. That is part of why the cross of Jesus is called a scandal, because it is exclusive. It says there is a problem but there is also a solution to that problem and that solution is only found at the cross. That is why the cross causes division, 3 against to 2 in a family, mother against son, husband against wife, because many choose to remain with the illness and just pretend it isn’t there. But ignoring the problem won’t help anyone, the problem will only keep killing you. Here is the solution, it is at the cross, it is no where else but at the cross, this is the only treatment that truly heals the wounded soul.
Everything else is a bandaid and a bandaid just doesn’t cut it.
Seeing the cure, in faith repent, turn to God and receive Peace,that is forgiveness for our treason against God and healing, not a band aid, but healing for what is killing us, so much healing that even though we die we live eternally. That is what Jesus came to give you and me at the healing place called the cross, Jesus came to give you Peace with God.
Then, as you have received the healing and the forgiveness and the peace that comes from Jesus with God. You can be at Peace with yourself, knowing you are forgiven and made whole even though you were dying. You once we’re an enemy of God but in Jesus you are a friend of God. This peace, surprisingly doesn’t come from looking at yourself, doing self help or even being a better person (though that does seem to come with the package) instead it comes from looking to God and in faith believing that what God says about you is true. That you are healed, forgiven, made whole and at peace because God says so. Then we become God’s peace bearers to our world.
Have you ever seen someone who choose not to fight. I have, it was a crazy kind of situation. This other guy was in my friend’s face, calling him all sorts of names and even shoved him in the chest over a misunderstanding. My friend simply grabbed his jacket and we left, after all that.
Or when someone cuts you off the road and then they start swearing at you and doing all sorts of inappropriate hand signals. But you don’t respond in kind and you let the guy or gal move along.
Or when you are called all sorts of name for the sake of Jesus Christ, when you are insulted and called foolish, when you lose friends and even family won’t speak to you anymore for the sake of Jesus. You still keep them in your daily prayers and offer them love and help when needed.
Why? Because you already have peace with God and are received peace within yourself. You’ve been to the cross and seen Jesus killed so what is killing you can be healed. You don’t have to be at war even though many may make war with you but because you have peace with God you are a bearer of that Peace to a world at war so that by the grace of God others may receive that peace that only comes from the cross as well.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing. Peace on Earth and Good Will To Men the Angels Sing!