Jesus is God’s Greatest Gift of Peace
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
We are thinking of gifts given to us by God in Christ because of Jesus’ ministry to us, and therefore, because of His incarnation.
The Angels declare: “On earth, peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
Isaiah 9:6 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus has come as the Prince of Peace.
He says in another place: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth, I have come not to bring peace, but a sword. And then He talks about relationship conflicts that His followers will have because of Him.
I bring that last Scripture up to indicate that I know that it is there and it will be dealt with eventually.
And so today, I want us to think about how Jesus is a gift of peace from God to us today.
Let’s start by thinking about peace itself. What does God mean by peace?
- What God Means by Peace
- The Hebrew word is shalom
It really is the blessed life. It is more than the absence of conflict. Peace is living in the Garden of Eden. After the fall of man from the Garden, peace is God caring for the needs of His people who are living in harmony with His plans and purposes for their lives.
Numbers 6: 22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
24 “‘“The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
- Covenant promises in the Old Testament
4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
- God will provide for your needs.
7 The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
- God promises to protect you!
9 The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.
- God will make you His people.
This relates to identity and purpose. Our purpose and identity in life is to live as God’s people. We are to reflect His character in our lives.
- Grace and Peace to you
Note in the Aaronic blessing “be gracious to you… and give you peace.”
Paul’s address in all of his letters. Grace: God establishing a relationship with us based upon Jesus’ redeeming death and Resurrection and our choice to trust and follow Him.
Peace is the resulting quality of life. Jesus says in John 10:
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
So, we are given peace in life as a gift because of Jesus. What then are the reasons that we don’t experience peace?
- The Source of Our Conflicts
- Sin in early Genesis
- Adam and Eve and the curse: Conflict in marriage relationships: Desire for the Husband, He will rule over you.
- Enmity between Eve’s offspring and the serpent (Reflected very vividly in Revelation 12
- Cain kills Abel
- Lamech is murderous and proud
- God destroys the earth
- Ham does not respect the image of God in Noah
- Babel seeks to replace God with their own technology and cooperative intelligence. And then God gives Abraham the very things that Babel sought.
- Our own frailty
Conflicts come when we are needy.
They come from being sick.
They come from being tired.
They come from being disappointed and frustrated.
They come from being fearful.
They come from being insecure.
They come from other relationships.
- Evil behind evil
As long as there is a source of evil, there will be a problem of evil and conflict as a result.
Enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
We wrestle not with flesh and blood (does this sound peaceful?)
III. Jesus is the Prince of Peace
- He restores our peace with God
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 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 without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
I am the way and the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.
Jesus is exclusive, but more than that, Jesus is our opportunity!
- Jesus makes a way to God!
- Jesus is the truth about God!
- Jesus provides us with the life of God!
- The peace of God is for everyone who believes
Peace on earth good will toward men on whom His favor rests.
Everyone is a broad term. Who believes is a narrowing qualifier.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.
Jesus split the veil in the temple.
- What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
- You recognize your need of peace. You are thirsty. (This never goes away.)
- You understand that Jesus has come to give you peace. He gives water.
- You trust in Him by following His way to God