Peace On Earth

Twas the season to be jolly.  With Christmas in the rear view mirror, now what?

Jesus Christ, “the Prince of Peace,” knowing His followers would be aliens in an antagonistic society said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto 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)

At His birth an angelic messenger said, “Peace on earth, good will toward men…”  Cynics scoffed at such an idea. Mockery is still made of the idea. 

Misanthropists delight to say it has been nearly 2,000 years and this promise hasn’t been realized.

Henry W. Longfellow penned the words that sum up the concept held by many:

“I heard the bells on Christmas day 
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth good-will to men.

“And in despair I bowed my head:
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

True, hate is strong. Read it in the headlines of international news. Observe the daily local news reports of lives taken. Observe it in our schools where students have so much going for them, yet, they show disregard for one another and inflict physical, emotional, and psychological pain on each other.

In despair we might agree, “There is no peace on earth!”

A Biblical perspective seems to have swept across Longfellow’s thoughts as he continued to write:

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor does He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will toward men!”

It is to people in the antagonistic environment where hate is strong that Christ said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

This angelic message is misunderstood to be a prophecy of peace. Instead it is a prescription for peace. Only when taken does it work.

There is an acid soil in which a sweet fruit grows. In Galatians 5:22 “the fruit of the Spirit” is noted. First, to be mentioned is “love,” followed by “joy,” and third is “peace.”

These virtuous fruit have their source in the Lord. They are sustained and maintained only by Him. These are not human achievements. They are the product of the work of the Holy Spirit in human lives.

Christ said, “My peace I give to you…” It is a gift that is ours because of Christ’s  atonement, not our attainment. 

Christ said it is “My peace” and I “give” it. It isn’t like that which the world offers. The world offers what it cannot give, the world cannot take away the peace Jesus offers.

Like any prescription, it has to be taken to be effective. Commit to the Lord and take His offer of peace.