Lk 2:14 —14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Most people agree that the world is in turmoil. People are fearful and anxious, not only concerned for their own life but for the lives of their children and grandchildren.
We all desire peace. Yet, there are different forms of peace. Which would you desire most? There is peace as in the absence of war. There is peace as in an inner peace. There is also peace as in wholeness/wellness. This wholeness comes from no longer being broken or less than what your Creator has made you to be. This peace speaks of a person’s restoration towards completeness and the proper functioning of oneself.
In this Scripture verse above from Luke’s Gospel, peace is bestowed by God upon those on whom His favour rests.
This peace is the one last mentioned above. It is a peace which brings lasting change and wholeness to a person. It not only includes the present but also gives hope for the future where God’s peace will ultimately mean wholeness of body and soul in a resurrection from the dead to everlasting life.
This peace is not able to be bought and is not able to be attained by human effort.
The problem for humanity is that, although we all desire this type of peace, we seek it in every which way, except God’s way.
In the time when Jesus appeared on earth, there were groups that sought peace in different ways.
The Zealots were a quasi-terrorist group that sought to murder and disrupt Roman rule the best they could. The result they were desiring was that the Romans would leave Palestine and God’s kingdom rule could be exercised and there would be peace.
Then there were the Pharisees. These people sought to achieve their peace by expanding on God’s law with oral traditions and the like. If God’s law was kept with the help of their traditions, then God would usher in a glorious age of peace.
Another group were the Sadducees. These lent more towards rituals and temple procedures as a way of appeasing God. Little is known of them but they, like the others, were not able to attain the peace they so desired.
Finally, after seeing that all these groups were unable to obtain peace, we meet Jesus.
The Scripture reference quoted above is in the context of the birth of Christ.
In contrast to all human effort, the birth of Christ is God’s way of granting humanity the peace that lasts forever.
While this is a gift and good news, like all Christmas presents, the content of the gift is not yours until you receive it and open it.
Jesus Christ and faith in Him comes not from your effort but from your surrender. Human stubbornness has always been a barrier to receiving Christ and going God’s way
The world will remain in turmoil, but the peace that lasts forever, can belong “to those on whom His favor rests” and these are the ones who put their faith in Jesus Christ and follow in His ways.
Pastor David McAllan