Peace on Earth?
By Jonathan Howes
For me personally, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One of the most fascinating parts of the Christmas story is when the angel appears to the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem. After the angel declares that the Savior has been born, the sky is filled with angels. Some Bible translations say it was the “Armies of Heaven”. According to my research, there were tens of thousands of angels in the sky praising God. And the angels were singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to all those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).”
Why was Jesus born in the manger a little over two thousands years ago? Why did Jesus come to earth? As the angels proclaimed, he came to bring us peace. In fact, the prophet Isaiah says that he will be called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
I think everyone would agree with me that we need God’s peace. We live in a crazy world. We are at war. Nations are fighting against nations. Terrorists are all over the globe plotting to attack innocent people. We have recently experienced terror attacks on American soil. Politicians and Government officials are arguing over what’s best for our nation. They are fighting over best strategies for our national defense, protecting our borders, gun laws, the strength of our military, our responsibility to refugees, immigration and a host of other issues. We live in a very stressful time, and we need God’s peace.
What’s interesting about Luke 2:14 is that God never promises peace on earth or world peace. This verse often gets misquoted. I’ve even seen it written on Christmas cards and sung about in Christmas songs. The Bible verse does not say, “Peace on Earth.” It says, “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests”. This world will never be at peace. Light will always be in conflict with darkness. Good will always battle against evil. We live in a broken, sinful world.
If the verse is not talking about peace on earth, what is it teaching us? It is teaching us that we can have peace with God, eternal peace. This world will never be at peace, but we can experience eternal peace in Heaven (Isaiah 11:6-9; Revelation 21:1-4). And God will give peace to “those on whom his favor rests”. Well, how do we find favor with God? It is through Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Jesus came to restore our broken relationship with God and give us peace with Him. It says in Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and died in our place on the cross. And it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven of our sins and have eternal peace with God.
We may never experience peace on earth, but we can have eternal peace in Heaven through faith in Jesus. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Do you have peace with God? Do you know for sure that you are going to Heaven? If not, let me encourage you today to put your faith in Jesus. He will give you salvation in Heaven and a peace in your heart that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). This is the good news of Jesus that the angel declared to the shepherds on that first Christmas night. “Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:11). I hope and pray that you will experience peace with God for all eternity.
Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road | Loganville, GA 30052 and the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St, Monroe, GA 30655.