The Peace of Jesus
During this time of year, we often hear talk of Peace. Nations war against nation and peoples against peoples. Worse, wars rage within us as people find themselves battling even against themselves. So there is a true yearning for Peace. This yearning is addressed when the angel announces the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds in the fields.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:8-14
Notice that peace only comes after the birth of Christ. Verse 11 tells us “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Only then do the angels announce, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” The order is significant. We cannot have peace on earth without Jesus having been born first because true peace can only come through Jesus.
The Way to Peace
This announcement tells us that this peace is for those with whom He is pleased. So this peace does not come to all. It comes only to those who please God. So how do we please God?
By receiving Jesus :
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
Being a bond-servant of Christ is to receive Him for salvation and to give your life to serve him. When we do this, we are not pleasing men but God.
for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. – Ephesians 5:8-10
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – Colossians 1:10
And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16
It is by our obedience to do His work that we are pleasing to Him.
Sharing the gospel with others:
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
When we know the Gospel and receive it, we are given a significant trust: that we will share what we know and what we have experienced with others. Doing so will never please men, but will please God.
I will praise the name of God with song
And magnify Him with thanksgiving.
And it will please the Lord better than an ox
Or a young bull with horns and hoofs. – Psalm 69:30-31
Because of the final sacrifice of Jesus, any other sacrifice will never suffice. Yet, praising the name of God with song and magnifying Him with thanksgiving will please Him more than anything else we can offer.
Above all, Faith is necessary to please God
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6
No matter what we do, if we do not do it with faith, it is impossible for us to please Him. We must believe who He is before anything we do can be considered pleasing to Him. Receiving a drawing with the scribble “I love you” from a child who does not know you means little. Receiving the same drawing with the same scribble from your own child who knows everything about you means everything.
Jesus vs. The World
It is important to understand that there are two types of peace. There is the peace of the world and the peace of Christ:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” – John 14:27
As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples, he tells them that they don’t have to be anxious because he is leaving his peace with them. But he makes sure they know it is not the same kind of peace as the world desires.
The world’s peace is a peace based on the things of the world: lack of war, lack of problems in the world, lack of want. Typically, we expect to attain the peace of the world when we obtain the things of the world.
The peace of Jesus, on the other hand, is based on eternal things: everlasting life, a home with the Father and the Son, eternity of love and joy. Does this sound delusional? The reality is, the peace of the world is an unrealistic peace. When it happens, it is temporary and it will never be long-lasting. It is a pipe-dream.
The peace of Jesus is real. It is readily available. Anyone who knows him has it. They cannot be shaken. If you do not have this peace, the only way to gain it is by growing your relationship with Jesus. Prayer is the conduit for accomplishing this.
Prayer, Peace and His Presence
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
We do not have to be anxious about anything. Instead, we can pray with thanksgiving in our hearts and we will receive the peace that surpasses all understanding. People will not be able to comprehend why we have this peace. It is not logical in the world’s eye. The world can only see with their physical eyes and those tell them that you should not have peace since you have to go through all the same things that they do. However, their eyes also tell them that you do have this peace and it confounds them. Peace is something we get when we grow our relationship with Jesus through prayer.
However, what is even better than receiving the peace of God is to receive the God of Peace.
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9
We can have the God of peace with us if we do these things which are mentioned in Philippians 4:8: Think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. By keeping our minds pure, we allow God into our presence.
The announcement of the angels 2,000 years ago is true. Once Jesus was born as a man, the earth can now have peace. It is not the peace of the world, but the peace of Jesus. We receive this by receiving Christ and growing our relationship with him through prayer. The closer we are to him, the greater our peace. And when our relationship with him becomes so great, the world will look at us and our peace will be incomprehensible to them. What a witness we become when we display the peace of Jesus to the world.