Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent: last week we looked at choosing joy in the hope we have in Christ. This week we will look at choosing joy in the peace we have with God through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Peace today is seen as a lack of conflict or a state of calmness or quiet. In the Old Testament peace meant more than that, the word we translate as ‘peace’ is Shalom. Shalom was, and is, completeness, soundness, wellness, all of these without lack. In the Greek, the word is Eirene which is the idea of unity and wholeness, much like Shalom.
So now you know what Biblical peace is, but how do you get it? Where is it? And what is the cost?
Travis Tritt: in his early days, before he was a big country music star, played in honky-tonks and violent bars where rednecks and bikers hung out. Mr. Tritt said this, “Just when [bar fights] started getting out of hand, when bikers were reaching for their pool cues and rednecks were heading for the gun rack, I’d start playing ‘Silent Night.’ It could be the middle of July — I didn’t care. Sometimes they’d even start crying, standing there watching me sweat and play Christmas carols.”
Just take a minute and think of what it took to bring peace to a crowd of rowdy, drunken, angry people, “The same simple carol of silent night that brought peace in war with its chorus of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, also brought peace in the middle of a brawl.” The first Christmas carol promised the world that very peace when the heavenly host sang to the shepherds over 2,000 years ago.
Peace is found in the baby born in the manger. He is the Prince of Peace, His is the kingdom of peace and it will have no end. It is in believing that we are brought into His Kingdom and can have peace. Even the reminder of Jesus coming to earth bringing peace, in a Christmas carol, brought the end of a of conflict in a bar room brawl, but we all must choose, choose to have joy in the peace He brings or to conform to the worldly consumerism, division, and isolation that is now taking place. You can have peace right where you are now, right in the middle of this mess, by giving your life to Him.
You see the peace promised by the angels, that the heavenly host sang about is only for those, “on whom His favor rests,” or as the ESV puts it, “with whom He is pleased.” With whom is He pleased? On whom does His favor rest? Not with those of the world, not with unbelievers, not with sinners, not with those in rebellion with God! They are dead in their sin, unjustified.
God’s Word clearly states in Hebrews 11:6 that it is the faithful with whom He is pleased, “But without faith it is impossible to please God…,” so the peace on earth, for us, is eternal as we walk with God.
In Isaiah 9, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness on them has light shined.”
Simon speaks of the light in Luke 2:25-32, the world has been given knowledge of God though Jesus, He has given light to those who sat in darkness, and to those sit in it today, it is He that guides our feet into the way of peace…If we choose to follow.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
In John 1, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
In John 3 Jesus said, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
It is to His disciples that Jesus said, “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.”
So the peace of God is only for those that are His. The peace that the world offers is just a lack of conflict, and while carols of Christmas joy and peace may bring a temporary halt to a bar room brawl or even to war for a night, the joy and peace we sing of are ours forever in Christ!
- Does the Peace of Christ dwell in your heart?
- Do you have peace with God?
Further Reading: Luke 2:14, John 14:27, John 16:33, Romans 8:6, Romans 12:18, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:13, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 1:15-23, Colossians 3:15, Hebrews 12:14, 1 Peter 3:8-11, Psalm 34:14
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government hall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end …Isaiah 9:6-7a