21 Dec To the hearts that are aching for peace on earth
First century Israel was a land ruled by the oppressive dictatorship of Herod the Great. The poor were oppressed while the rich prospered. Rev. John P. Meier, author of “A Marginal Jew,” shares in his landmark study of the historical Jesus, “The whole concept of civil rights did not exist…If Herod wanted to do away with you, he could slit the throat of anybody he wanted.“
In the midst of this achingly oppressive political scene, the Prince of Peace was born.
God could have chosen somewhere safer for his Son to be born. He did not.
Instead, He chose to manifest Himself to a land torn by violence and pain, narrowly escaping a genocide of Jewish boys two years and younger.
Why Christ Came
As Jesus grew from child to carpenter to spiritual leader among His people, those around Him ached with questions and hopes: “Could He be the Messiah? Will He be the One to deliver our people from oppression?“
Jesus disappointed many of His people. He did not come to force a fleeting earthly peace; instead he came to BE our peace. He did not come to save his people from Roman rule; He came to save their souls. He did not come to set up a temporary kingdom with a temporary throne wearing a temporal crown.
He came instead to bear witness of an everlasting kingdom that is independent from and untouched by the kingdoms of this world.
Before Jesus was sentenced to be crucified, Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews? To which Jesus responded, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Peace for a Troubled World
As we observe the deep hurt and often polarizing division among our countrymen or shift our gaze across the world to the pain of the Syrian people, our hearts ache for a solution – someone to right the world’s wrongs. But our earthly leaders will always, always disappoint. No matter how much they work to bring change (and have the power to do great good to those they serve) they cannot solve all the world’s problems because they will never, ever have the power to defeat sin and evil.
To these cries, the Prince of Peace comes once again with the only lasting solution to the world’s problems:
The truth is, we can only bring peace to others when we find peace with God. We can only find peace with God through Christ: “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:12-14)
This God-child who was unafraid to come – wet and defenseless – into our deeply broken and dark world – is still bringing His light to the darkest places on our earth today.
This is great news for hearts who long for peace. He is willing and ready to heal our broken hearts and mend our fractured relationships.
This Christmas, put all your hope and faith in the one who said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart – I have overcome the world.”