And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,Luke 2:13-14
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
A line from a movie: I want peace on earth, good will toward men.
Reply: We’re the United States Government. We don’t do that sort of thing.
The conversation goes on with the final agreement: I’ll see what I can do.
I’m very proud of all four of our sons. They have each served in the United States military, and one is a U.S. Navy officer. We enjoy a great deal of peace here in the western world in great part due to the strong military presence and readiness we maintain around the world.
But armies rise and fall. Peace is all too fleeting. In spite of our defenses, strength, and readiness, the upheaval of war and pestilence is too often upon us. In fact the United States Government doesn’t bring peace on earth, good will toward men. Their necessary role is to subjugate our enemies and force bad characters and evil nations to behave. Peace is more than a secession of war. Peace in the fullest sense is the secession of hostility in the heart. Jesus is called the prince of peace because he is the one who brings these hostilities to an end.
Thirty years after his birth, Jesus has some interesting and challenging things to say about peace. [See the list of verses below]. He tells repentant sinners to go in peace. He offers peace to the woman who is criticized for sinful lifestyle and immodest display of attention to Jesus (washing his feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair). In the days before his death, he comforts his disciples who might have much to worry about with the promised gift of peace. He announces his resurrection triumph over death at his resurrection with the greeting, “Peace!”
I need this word from Jesus! Because when God speaks, things happen. Jesus’ word of peace is not just a wishful greeting, but a promise founded on his identity as the Son of God and sealed by his resurrection from the grave.
These are troubling days for life in this world. Fears of inflation. The COVID-19 pandemic. Political turmoil. Immigration crises. International power plays. Threats of war.
But this is the world into which Jesus has come. He brings peace. The sword divides those who do not believe his word and promise from those who do. But it is a sword that will be quickly sheathed by a repentant cry of faith. So I will read these verses to bolster my repentant cry of faith. How about you?
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matthew 10:34
And [Jesus] said to [the woman who touched his garment], “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” – Mark 5:34
Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. – Mark 9:50
And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Luke 7:50
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 20:19-21
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” – John 20:26