Celebrating the birth of Jesus, “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” (Luke 2:11-14).
When the prophet predicted the coming of Jesus, the messiah, he referred to him as the “prince of peace” and wrote, “of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Peace is valued everywhere among all people through out all periods of history.
- Peace is “one of our greatest needs ever since (near the beginning of our history), we humans broke the harmony of paradise and began to live against our ultimate good. The real human predicament is that inexplicably, irrationally, we all keep living against what’s good for us … we live against God, against each other, and against God’s world” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr.).
Humans are more known for our war than peace.
Extended times of peace are rare and exceptional to human to human history. Our safety and security are threatened by the forces of evil every day. And it’s exceptionally costly to maintain peace.
Why is it necessary to have peace conferences, security councils and peace treaties? The theme of peace has filled our songs and poems.
- John Lennon invited the world to, “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
The absence of peace (shalom) runs like a fault-line through all of human history and through every human heart (listen to this: Fallen from Greatness).
We need a Savior who brings peace – One who comes as the Prince of peace.
We are not at peace with…
- Our bodies – are always threatened by sickness and disease. We diet and exercise because we are not at peace with our bodies.
- Our minds – are threatened by anxiety, depression, evil thoughts and much more.
- Our environment – threatens to destroy us if we don’t respect its powers and our dependency on it. We can have too little or too much rain; too little or too much sun. Destructive environmental forces like storms, droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes, remind us of the absence of peace.
- Our selves – Some people never seem to be able to “get their act together” and we ask, “What’s his problem?” “Oh, he’s got issues,” someone responds. Perhaps, after years of struggling, we will say, “He’s finally at peace with himself.”
- Our relationships – Endless difficulties with family, friends and neighbors. Conflict and hostility; revenge and war, these are constant parts of human history. We lack peace between individuals, races, and nations — the absence of peace is real and often tragic.
Pray for peace
- “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Timothy 2:1).
Reflect deeply on the emphasis on peace
- “Make every effort to live in peace with all men (Hebrews 12:14)
- “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)
- “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,… Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:17-19).
- “Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
- “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving” (James 3:17).
- “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33)
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him” (Romans 15:13).
- “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (II Thess. 3:16).
- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Four dimensions to the Peace Jesus gives
1. Vertical: Peace with God
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1, NLT).
2. Horizontal: Peace between people — even those who are hostile toward each other.
“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. …. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us” (Ephesians 2:14,17-18, NLT).
3. Internal: Peace within
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
- God’s peace conquers our deepest anxieties.
4. Eternal: Peace forever!
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end” (Isaiah 9:6-7, NLT).
Duke University study on peace of mind:
A Duke University study looks at 8 Key factors for building emotional and mental stability (peace of mind), it’s amazing how Scripture speaks to each one.
Check out my audio message: “The Gift of Peace: Four Dimensions”.