While the world lived in the midst of a peace built by power, God manifested his plan to build world peace by his personal presence.
“…and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them until it came and stood over where the young child was…and coming into the house they saw the young child…and fell down and worshiped Him…” Gospel of Matthew Ch.2
On the church calendar, the celebration of Christmas has now given way to the season of Epiphany. The infant Christ announced to shepherds by angels has become the young Christ manifested to the nations by the star. Epiphany means “manifestation”.
And just who is being made manifest? The one whom the prophets foretold. The one who will be called Wonderful; Counselor; the mighty God, the everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace. The one whose government and reign of peace will have no end.
When this Prince was born, the gospel writer Luke tells us that Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome. He was arguably the greatest ruler Rome would ever see. His leadership ushered in the period known as Pax Romana, the Peace of Rome. One historian referred to him as Savior of the world. In so much as his power extended across western civilization, Augustus achieved, at least for the time he reigned, the most elusive of human hopes; world peace.
“World Peace”. Can the world today achieve it? Is it possible to bring that phrase from the most cliché of beauty pageant answers to a fully realized possession of the human race? The message of the Bible is a resounding yes. God’s Peace is here. And in God’s time, his peace will become the default state of a world made new. But unlike Augustus, the peace God brings will not be achieved by might or by power, but by His Spirit.
On US Navy aircraft carriers, a tradition going back many decades is the flight deck formation. The photo above shows sailors aboard the USS Independence forming the words “Power for Peace”.
For me the photo captures the essence of the world’s strategy for peace. It says that it takes power for peace to come. It takes the exercise of military, political, economic power and the rule of law. That was Caesar Augustus’ strategy.
Some say world peace may come when all around the world, people become empowered by better education, motivated by the better angels of an enlightened nature. Some say it will take the power of a near-perfect system of global justice. Some place hope in the power of evolution, eventually producing a human race less violent, less grasping, more generous, more kind. Among those few who think world peace is possible, those are the cards to be played.
Or we may be people who haven’t given world peace much thought because we’re just trying to gain some peace inside our own homes or even in our own minds. But ironically, we employ the same worldly strategy. We think we’ll have peace when we have the power to make more money or have more authority. Peace will come as we are empowered with better knowledge and improved attitudes. We think we will have peace when we have the power to change our circumstances. In some way, we hope to be like Caesar Augustus.
But the bible reveals a wholly different plan. In the arrival of Christ, God manifests his peace through a Person. And his peace comes to us not through worldly power, but through that Person’s presence in our hearts. Through Jesus’ perfect life, his atoning death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, God has built his strategy for world peace. And it will succeed. All over the world right now, millions of hearts have the indwelling presence of the Prince of Peace. They know the peace that comes through faith in Jesus. And from that bedrock of peace, they offer peace to others.
Jesus told his disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” If you have peace with God through faith in Christ, you are just such a child. Let me invite you live from that peace and seek it. Pursue peaceful ways. Pray for God to show you the different ways you can manifest the Prince of Peace in your life, at your work, and in your family and relationships. God’s peace can come to your world.
3 thoughts on “PEACE”
Wonderful piece of peace, peace that only comes through the Prince of Peace. I thank God that the Peace that passes all understanding has been revealed to me, to us through Jesus
We keep looking to elected officials or world leaders to bring us peace. Only Christ alive in our hearts will bring peace; therefore, until WE fulfill the great commission and make disciples… showing others how to have this Christ in their hearts there will never be true peace. Great article again Mike!
Just read your blog. Great explanation of how we can have real peace only through Christ living in our hearts. Thanks Mike…I look forward to reading more!