Peace on Earth

When Christ was born, the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).  Many believe that the Christ would come with the intent of establishing universal peace among the nations of the world.  In fact, modern Jews reject Jesus as Messiah, partly because human conflict continued after His life and death.  The website Judaism 101 observes that Olam Ha-Ba (the World to Come, or Messianic Age) “will be characterized by the peaceful co-existence of all people (Isaiah 2:4).  Hatred, intolerance and war will cease to exist.”

Clearly Messiah was to bring peace.  Isaiah wrote, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  But what kind of peace did God intend to establish through His Christ?  As with any such study, we should allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves.

Ethnic Reconciliation – Paul offered an excellent discourse on this subject in Ephesians chapter 2.  He spoke of Jews and non-Jews when he said that Christ is our peace, “who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall” (v. 14).  Considering there is now neither Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3:28), any racial or ethnic distinctions are meaningless among Christians.

Reconciliation to God – Again in Ephesians 2, Paul emphasized that the sacrifice of  Christ enabled peace between man and God.  Verses 16-18 say that Jesus reconciled both Jew and Gentile “in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”  Cessation of human hostility would be wonderful, but in their preoccupation with the carnal and temporal, many overlook the true purpose of the coming of Messiah; making peace between a man and his God so they can dwell together eternally.

Peace among Christ’s disciples – The mantra for all Christians is clear: “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3).  Romans 12:18 admonishes us, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Peace exists on earth to the extent that men choose to live by the precepts of Christ.

Peace of the heart – Philippians 4:7 says that “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The surrounding verses hold the keys to this profound peace of mind:  Complete trust in God and constantly looking to Him for the things we need; gratitude for the myriad of blessings He bestows; recognizing the power of positive thinking (v. 8).

Christ came to bring peace and He succeeded marvelously.  He united peoples of all the nations in one body, His church, and gave them peace with the Father through His cross.  He taught us the principles that make for peace and showed us what a peaceful life looks like.  By demonstrating love for and trust in the Father, He showed us the keys to peace of mind that the world simply cannot comprehend.  Don’t you want that peace in your life?  Only Jesus the Christ can provide it.