Jesus didn’t come to bring peace to the world.
There. I said it. Now before you cast your religious stones my way and accuse me of blasphemy, please allow me to explain.
It may be simply a matter of terminology, but I think we often confuse the purpose of the coming of the Christ of Christmas. We love the passage in Luke describing Jesus’ birth. The “great company of the heavenly host” accompanying God’s angel told the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14) We often look for peace in this world and are disappointed when life appears anything but peaceful. Don’t confuse that verse to mean that in this world, because Jesus came, there would be peace all around us. That day here on earth may never come. We live in a very mixed up, shattered world where peace is often hard to find.
In fact, during Jesus’ ministry, he told the disciples, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) That doesn’t sound very peaceful, does it? The controversy over Christmas that remains today is that Jesus divides people over opinions of who He is and what He did and can do for the world.
Here’s the bottom line; Jesus didn’t come to bring peace to the world. Jesus came to bring the world Peace. Jesus came to bring the world the One who is Peace. He came to bring peace to the hearts of men that are imprisoned by “sin that so easily entangles.“ (Hebrews 12:1) Jesus came to bring Himself to people who could not reach peace on their own. The peace that came to the world at Christmas is to be found within you, the followers of Christ.
In light of this truth, if you desire to celebrate the real purpose of Christmas, understand that it is through you that the real meaning of Christmas is expressed…as you share the Peace of Christmas…the person of Christ…with others. That peace is expressed as we share Christ’s love with people that feel unloved, forgive those that have injured us, feel joy when our world is falling apart around us or give expecting nothing in return.
There may never be peace in this world, but in this world, we can have Peace. His name is Jesus, born in a manger, but raised to live a perfect life, die on a cross, and introduce the world to real peace…peace that surpasses understanding.
Do you think it is possible to have peace at Christmas apart from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ?