In the second week of this series, we examine the word “peace”. In Luke 2:14, the angelic chorus pronounced, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased”. What did the angels mean when they said “peace on earth”? We often want to feel peace – to experience calm regardless of our circumstances. What we learn from this passage is that to have peace from God, we must first have peace with God.
Humankind has been at war with God from the beginning. The good news of Christmas is that despite mankind’s rejection of God and self-glorification, God came right into the fight and entered the world to bring peace, to reconcile us to Him. At the time of Christ’s birth, the leader of the Roman world was Caesar Augustus, and he serves as a contrasting character to Jesus. Caesar Augustus means “The Great One” and he was treated like a god. We all have a little (or a lot) of Augustus in us – we all want a bit of glory. We want the most likes, the most followers, the most attention. We want to be on the throne of our own lives. The angelic song calls us out of our self-centered ways and urges us to give God all glory. In so doing, we humble ourselves, recognise God as our saviour and redeemer, and are at peace with Him. When we give glory to God, He gives peace to man.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
The way baby Jesus was described to the shepherds, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger, pointed symbolically to the future death and burial of Jesus for our sakes. It is a reminder that we cannot earn peace with God, we can only receive it. God took the initiative to enter into a world at war with Him, to pursue a relationship with a rebellious humanity, and offer peace. There is nothing we can do to earn peace with God, but it will not be given to us until we get off the throne of our own lives and give God all the glory.
THINK ABOUT IT
We tend to think about the peace of God in terms of how we as individuals relate to Him, but the apostle Paul also wrote about His peace in terms of how we relate to one another.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” Ephesians 2:14-18 (NIV)
What might it mean, therefore, to experience the peace of God communally as the church? What is the relationship between this aspect of peace and that we experience as individuals?
In some church settings, we may hear or talk about how the peace we experience as Christian individuals is unique, different from how peace is understood outside the church. Is the peace we experience as a church community in FGA unique?
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” – Luke 2:14 ESV