Jesus Christ: Peace for the Whole World

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, December 9, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As I sit here to write this post, the world is waking up to the news that President George H. W. Bush has passed away. That isn’t shocking news for anyone as he was 94 years old and his health has been failing for quite a while now, not to mention the fact that his dear wife passed away earlier this year. What IS surprising to me, not just right now but every time a high-profile political figure passes away, is the fast manner in which the news outlets jump right from their agenda-driven, political attacks of the opposing side to the peaceful, unifying remembrance of the individual’s service. Yesterday, every single time I turned on a certain media outlet on the TV in my home, there were negative opinions and attacks on our current president. I’m sure if I had turned on another one, it would’ve been relentless support of our leaders and negative opinions or attacks on those who oppose our president. Yet, just before I went to bed last night, all of sudden, both were doing the same thing - fondly remembering #41.

If we are Christians and seek to obey the word of God that has been inspired by the Creator himself right into the pens of his earliest followers, then we have an obligation to live for peace when and where possible. This was a common theme of the Apostle Paul’s teachings. In Romans 12:18 he writes, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Notice that he does not say to live at peace with only those who are peaceful toward you or who agree with you on important issues. Just a short time later in his same letter, Paul again writes, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). From these verses, it is clear that we are not just to TALK about peace or to desperately desire it; we are to DO whatever is necessary and within our power to attain peace.

I don’t remember much about 41’s time in office as I was just a youngster then, but I do know that he is the last president we had who did not serve two terms, as he was defeated by Bill Clinton in the 1992 election. This morning, a letter written from President Bush to President Clinton on the day of the Presidential Inauguration in January 1993 was posted to social media. You can see it on Facebook here. The letter is full of encouragement and it ends with Bush telling Clinton, “You will be our president when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well. Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you. Good luck." This is an example of doing something that leads to peace. Compare it to what we see now. Our current president still rubs his opponents’ noses in it that he won, and they still discourage him and seek his impeachment at every turn. It’s easy to look at what is happening in our country and world and wonder how we will ever achieve peace again. In reality, our Lord and Savior is both the way to peace and the reason it’s not likely anytime soon.

In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophesied that a son would be given and that he would be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). This title of Jesus as “prince of peace” is a direct contrast to the devil. John Milton referred to Satan as the “prince of darkness." Ephesians 2:2 refers to him as “the prince of the power of the air." In other words, he is the ruler over the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The devil has a plan to work evil, dissension, and hatred amongst believers, yet peace can be found by looking to Jesus as our authority. Satan is the authority for those who want to be disobedient and who are bent on destructive behaviors. But for those who are seeking peace, we must turn to Jesus. We cannot turn to conservative or liberal politics because while both claim to be in line with the teachings of Jesus, neither actually is. Jesus tells us how to stand for truth and still love those who oppose it by their words and actions.

At the same time, Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." How can this be true of the prince of peace? A look at the context of this verse reminds us that Jesus is sending out his disciples to evangelize the lost sheep of Israel. He tells them that the choice is up to each individual to either acknowledge or disown him before others, and that choice will directly impact whether or not Jesus acknowledges or disowns us before the Father in heaven (vv. 32-33). Because there are some who reject it, there has to be a difference between those who accept Jesus and those who rebel against him. The sword was used to fight, but it was also used to divide things. An example of this would be 1 Kings 3:16-28, when King Solomon asked for a sword because he was going to divide a child in two since two mothers both claimed he was theirs. The sword brought by Jesus is not used to fight or kill but to divide between those who have chosen peace through him and those who continue to live in rebellion. Since we don’t always know who is on what side, we are given the Biblical command to do everything in our power to live in peace with others, even though we know peace isn’t always possible in cases where someone has taken their stand against Christ.

This month, we celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior. When he came 2,000 years ago, the angels appeared and sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The interesting thing about this verse is that there is a qualifier to receive his peace. While it’s offered to everyone, not everyone has it. The heavenly host of angels said the peace is to those “on whom his favor rests." Does God’s peace rest, or stop, on you? Or do you live in rebellion toward him, letting that peace offered to you move on to those who are ready and willing to accept it? Jesus came to the earth not to bring peace between all humans or between political parties, but between sinful human beings and a sinless Creator. He became our sin while we became his righteousness so that we could be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This sacrifice and the peace of God that comes with it are offered FOR the whole world, but not everyone has accepted or will accept it. Those who already have are responsible to live at peace with everyone as much as it depends on them, even those who hurt or oppose them. We need to be the ones to set the example of peaceful living in the midst of a politically-charged and hate-filled climate. For those who don’t have that peace, maybe this is the year. Maybe today is the day. Nothing can separate you from the peace that God offers you except your own rebellion and refusal to let it rest on you. It doesn’t matter how far you feel you are from God or how long you’ve been living apart from him. You’re never more than one step away. Take that step today and receive the peace that only comes through Jesus Christ.

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