“Peace on earth!” The angels sang it on that first Christmas day, and today it still rings out especially at Christmas time. “Prince of Peace” is one of Jesus’ titles (Isaiah 9:6).
But what kind of peace is meant, and how can it be accomplished?
The Free Dictionary gives five senses of “peace”:
1. The absence of war or other hostilities.
2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities: negotiated the peace.
3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations: roommates living in peace with each other.
4. Public security and order: was arrested for disturbing the peace.
5. Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind.
The cheap imitation—what the world offers:
· The Roman empire accomplished their “Pax Romana” through brute force.
· In the 1960’s, the hippie movement arose, touting “peace” with their famous “peace sign” as a demonstration against the violence of war. But has this brought peace on earth?
· Since 1981, an annual “International Peace Day” is observed each September 21 with the goal of stopping war and violence through solidarity and joint action. Obviously it hasn’t come anywhere near to reaching that goal.
Peace treaties are made and then break down because of human nature. The same is true of reconciliation between races and family members. We need outside help!
Genuine peace—what God offers:
Concerning harmonious relations (sense 3 above) Jesus said, “I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” His coming and the truth He brings have sparked opposition from those who do not believe in him, beginning with Herod right to the present time.
The peace Jesus brings is first reconciliation between God and man. As the carol says, “God and sinners reconciled.” He has also reconciled warring groups of humanity to each other as they submit to God (Ephesians 2:14-18). The other senses of peace follow as a result.
Those who are reconciled with God have peace of heart which calms worry and fear (John 14:27), and they work for peace with other people (Matthew. 5:9).
Jesus’ peaceful reign over the world –with the end of all violence and war–will begin when he has defeated all his enemies at a future time. Then he will truly reign justly as the Prince of Peace in every sense, and “Peace on Earth” will finally come to full fruition! (Isaiah 11:1-10)
Have you received God’s gift of forgiveness and reconciliation though Jesus, the Prince of Peace?