Peace on earth…?
This past week at the Board of Directors meeting, Bill Bostel brought an insightful devotion that took the listeners through the journey of discovering what is meant in Luke 2 when angels of the Lord visited shepherds and declared to them “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Yet in another place (Matthew 10:24), Jesus declares, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” So which is it? Did Jesus declare peace as stated in Luke 2 or did He come to bring a sword as read in Matthew 10? Is the Bible contradicting itself? Absolutely not!
When reading the Word of God, understanding comes as we examine the translation, context, purpose and audience of what is said. Jesus certainly came to bring peace to all men, however, not all men are willing to accept the peace wrought in Christ. If we look at the fuller, Amplified translation of Luke 2:14, we get a more exact understanding, “Glory to God in the highest (Heaven), and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].” Jesus absolutely came to bring peace to those who have recognized the sinful state they have been born in and through humility, accept the sacrifice and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (men of goodwill on whom God’s favor rests).
It is within this context that we are able to understand Matthew 10:34. Those who continue to reject the Lordship of Christ do not enter into God’s rest nor do they receive the peace He gives. People continue to wield a sword intended to fight against God’s truth, God’s people, and therefore God himself. Jesus indeed brought a sword that separates those bearing Spiritual fruit and seeking the Kingdom of God from those who conflict with Christ’s Lordship. In light of this, we are able to understand the events recently where radical Islamic terrorists murdered individuals in Sydney and Paris. People of all beliefs war because they cannot get what they want and never will due to their rejection of God’s will and His Word (James 4:1-3).
Nations war against nations, terrorists attack those of differing beliefs, political parties fight against each other, families, friends and neighbors continually experience unhealthy divisions and even Christians struggle to be loving. There seems to be no end to the hate we see in the news. The world in general has rejected God’s peace and God’s Savior and carries sword in hand. O’ wretched world we live in…who will deliver us from the sword and ongoing unrest our world marinates in? The Apostle enlightens us in Romans 7:24-25, “I thank God—through Jesus Christ…” When we see a world void of peace…we should be compelled even more to bring the message of peace through Christ to those in such desperate need of Him! When people come to Christ to experience peace with God, He takes away the sword wielded due to hate and sin.
Be blessed and be grateful,