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Did Jesus Really Bring Peace on Earth?

One of the most quoted passages in scripture in the King James Version for Christmas cards is this;

"Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” - Luke 2:14

Peace on Earth! But I doubt there's been a day since Jesus' birth where anyplace on this earth, war and violence is not taking place. So where is this peace prophesied by the angels to the shepherds?

One clue can be found in the NIV translation of Luke 2:14

"Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” - Luke 2:14

The last line reads "on whom his favor rests". The Greek word for peace is "eiríni" and in this case, it speaks to a sense of inner peace or harmony. Most theologians believe this passage speaks of a peace not around us but within us. This isn't a promise of external peace, or calm but of internal stability and flourishing. But for whom? To whom is this inner piece promised?

Skip ahead about 70 years. Paul is writing to the new churches helping them better understand the true message of the gospel. When he wrote to the Ephesians he was writing to a largely Gentile audience. They were having trouble forming a church community with the Jewish converts. Paul reminded them Jesus has broken down the divide between God's "chosen" people and the "unchosen" Gentiles. In this passage, we begin to see an even clearer explanation of this present peace.

"Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 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."

-Ephesians 2:12-17

Only people who have peace within themselves can truly bring peace to those around them. Can you and I really make this world, our world more peaceful? Yes. This Christmas and New Year's Day as you gather with your family, encourage a discussion around this topic. Personalize it by asking this question of them and of yourself. "How, or to whom does Jesus want me to bring peace this year?"

It may be you, or they have friends who are not believers. Have they heard from you the gospel and of the peace within that God desires for them?

Perhaps you have friends no longer speaking to each other, or to you. What can you do to bring peace?

Perhaps you have a father, mother, or someone else who was unkind to you and with whom you are not at peace.

Are there people at your church who are speaking against the leadership behind their backs? Could the Holy Spirit be appointing you bring peace to your church by speaking to the about it with gentleness and kindness. This isn't a problem to be left for your church leaders to address. As an "Ambassador of Christ" being a peacemaker is one of your assignments.

"Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God."

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