From His advent to His ascension Jesus offers the blessing of Peace.
The angels appeared to the shepherds, announcing the birth of the Messiah – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)
After His crucifixion and resurrection Christ appeared to His disciples with a greeting – “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19, 21, 26)
The disciples were very troubled by the events of the past few days. Their friend and leader had been killed; they were in hiding, afraid that their lives were in jeopardy also. Jesus calmed them with His presence and His promise of peace. The shepherds were afraid at the sight of the hosts of angels announcing Christ’ birth.
“PEACE” – I can’t think of a more appropriate greeting for today. If we’ve ever needed peace on earth, we need it now. The purpose of the coming of Jesus is to bring peace – peace between God and mankind, and man to man.
With the unrest and strife occurring in the streets of American cities today, the lyrics to Peace Be To These Streets by Graham Kendricks (No More Walls album) are fitting for our Christmas prayers:
In the name of Jesus
Peace be to these streets
In the name of Jesus
Walk here Lord
Draw near Lord
Pass through these streets today
Bring healing, forgiveness
Here let your living waters flow
We all have seen the bumper sticker that reads, “No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace”.
Understand this, those who don’t know Christ will not know nor enjoy His peace. In fact, Jesus once said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” (Luke 12:51) Jesus was speaking of the necessity of choosing Him. So the only way to have peace is to know Jesus; not just as a newborn baby, but as the resurrected Lord and King.
Those who do know Christ have this promise, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
Peace be upon the earth, peace be to our streets, peace be upon you and your family this Christmas.
Bishop Walter F. Harvey