Christ Jesus – The Prince of Peace – Luke 2:14
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Dec. 23rd, 2018
- In our anticipation and preparation for the celebration of the arrival of Jesus the King in the incarnation, we have been looking to the Christmas story and some of the characters for Biblical principles to prepare our hearts, focus our minds and shape our actions. We have looked at Zachariah and Elizabeth for how we can live as people of hope as we continually seek after God with the desires of our heart. We looked to Joseph the husband of Mary for how we can live in love by being merciful to those who have hurt and betrayed us. We looked to the shepherds to guide us in living as people of joy as we look for God working, find satisfaction in design, and live with intentional gratitude.
- In this last Sunday before Christmas, we are looking to Christ Himself so that we can live as people of peace in a hostile world full of trouble and heartache. In the angelic announcement first heard by the shepherds they said: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14 ESV). God was to be given glory because of His offer of peace with whom He is pleased. We have to ask some questions if we are to understand what this means. First, what is this peace that is being offered? Second, what is the terms of this peace, and third, who are the people that He is pleased with and how do you become one?
- The peace that was announced to the world written in Greek is ei)rh/nheirene (i-ray’-nay), which literally means “join” – to join together. It is the word that describes a harmonious relationship between God and man and a harmonious relationship between men. So, the peace that is being offered is peace with God and peace with each other.
Peace with God
- So why do we need to be “joined” or have a “harmonious” relationship with God? Are we not already at peace with Him? Doesn’t He exist as our cosmic cheerleader rooting for us and helping us be our most “authentic” self or to live our “best life”? The truth is, that all of us have rebelled against God in Adam and live, by nature, hostile to Him. We would rather be the captain of our own ship and do what we want to do and not have to give an accounting to anyone. This is who we are naturally. And naturally, we are under the wrath of God – every one of us. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”. (Rom 1:18-19 ESV) “both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Rom 3:9-12 ESV)(See Rom. 1-3).
- By our nature we are bent toward evil and have violated the law of love given to us by a righteous and perfect and loving God. All of the world is not at peace with God but are at war with Him and therefore are under His wrath (which we rightly deserve).
- Therefore, there needed to be an atonement – a way of peace to put us back into a harmonious relationship with God. But the sacrifices (OT) were only a way to cleanse us from sin and free us from punishment – they were not able to give us a new heart and a new life. All of these things in the OT pointed to the one that would bring final peace between God and mankind. God had to do it himself in becoming man and living as man perfectly and then to give His own life in our place. This gift was what was being announced by the angels, the one who was to bring peace between God and man and to bring peace between mankind.
Col 1:19-20 ESV
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Rom 5:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace with each other
- Since the beginning, after we first rebelled against God, we have then fought against each other. From the first couple blaming others for their sins, to the first brothers for whom one killed the other. Human history is a history of conflict, and anger, and fighting and war. By nature, we really don’t get along well at all.
Gal 3:28-29 ESV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
- We are all one in Christ, regardless of our ethnicity, position, our gender – we are all one in Christ. This is why in the church there should be all types of people – this is the mosaic that Christ is making from all of us.
- And this is how we are to walk with each other:
Eph 4:1-7 ESV
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
- There is far more that unites us than divides us. So walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
Rom 14:17-19 ESV
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
- Pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. This is how we are to live – the church is a new community in Christ. And we are to be people who live in peace with each other and look to build each other up.
- Peace with God and peace with each other through God’s gift of Christ. This is what was announced by the angels, this is what is offered to us in Christ – to those whom He is pleased! So how do we become one in which God is pleased? By receiving and believing in the Son who died that we may be free, who died to take the penalty of sin and death for us, who died to reconcile us to God. Christ is our peace and in Him we have new life and live a life to please Him. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through His one and only son Jesus Christ.
- We celebrate the gift of God at Christmas, we rejoice at the victory of Christ at the resurrection and we live in new life as we wait for Him to return with His reward and make all things new!
John 8:12 ESV
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”