Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
One day far in the future, when you are old and gray and you look back at your life, what do you think your greatest accomplishments will be? What do you want them to be?
The familiar Christmas passage above reveals the two great accomplishments of Jesus’ arrival: glory in heaven and peace on earth. Last week we considered how Jesus' birth and life brought God glory in heaven. (You can read that post here.) This week we will consider how it brought peace on the earth.
Peace can mean general well-being and harmony. But when peace comes, it also implies the existence of a time when there was a lack of peace. It suggests that there was strife and discord that has now been ended by peace. This is most certainly true of us in relation to God.
Colossians 1:21 teaches us that until men turn to Christ, they are His enemies. This is not because God has set Himself against us, but because we have set ourselves against God. Every single one of us from our earliest days on this earth has chosen to rebel against God and His commands. We have all chosen to reject His rightful kingship authority in our lives and live under our own authority. We reject the true king and set ourselves up in His place. This puts us at odds not only with God but also with other men. They want to be king and so do we. Not everyone can be in charge, and not everyone can be right. So we war with each other.
Jesus’ arrival introduces peace into this discord in two ways. First, Jesus puts men at peace with God through His death on the cross: Colossians 1:20 says that through Jesus God has reconciled all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Second, Jesus puts men at peace with each other also by His death on the cross. Ephesians 2:14-17 says this of the peace that Jesus brings between the Jew and Gentile: "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility."
Surely, Jesus is the Prince of Peace who brings peace on earth. How about you? Is your life marked by peace? Have you asked Jesus to set you right with God? If not, there is no better time than Christmas to surrender your life to Him. (For more information on accepting Christ as your Savior, see "The Gospel in a Nutshell" at the bottom of this post.) Or maybe you are at peace with God but not with those around you. Christmas is a wonderful time to make peace with that family member you are at odds with. You don’t need to wait for them to apologize to make peace. Jesus certainly didn't! Perhaps you are at peace with our Father in heaven and with men, but you know others who are not at peace with God. Follow Jesus’ example by sharing Him and the good news of His death and resurrection with them this Christmas.
Be a peacemaker this Christmas and spread the peace of God wherever you go. Merry Christmas!
For further reading...
- Ephesians 2- Read this wonderful passage that covers much of the same material as this post.
- Colossians 1:15-23- "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior."
- Matthew 5:9- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Matthew 1:18-2:23 & Luke 1:1-2:40- Check out the full Christmas story!
The Gospel in a nutshell: If you are unfamiliar with what the gospel is, here it is in a shortened form. We are all sinners. Every one of us has sinned against God. We have rejected His way and gone our own way. We have all rebelled against the one true King. Our sin deserves punishment. In fact, so great a sin against so great a God deserves Hell. But God, because of His great love for us, wanted to offer us forgiving grace. For God to be just, our sin had to be punished though. So God in His wisdom took the punishment for our sin on Himself in Jesus. Jesus died to pay the price for your sins and mine and then He rose from the dead, breaking the power of sin over us. He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for those who believe in Him. So that now those who place their faith in Him can be forgiven and spend eternity in Heaven with their Savior. If you would like to do that today, here is what you need to do.
- B- Believe that Jesus is God's Son, that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin, and that He was raised from the dead (Romans 6:23 and 5:8).
- C- Confess Jesus as Lord of your life. Turn from sin (from living life your way) and commit to live your life for God (Romans 10:9 - "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.").
You can also check out this post: "What does Jesus' death have to do with me?"