Light Shining in the Darkness
Luke 2:10-14; Col 1:19-20
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:10-14)
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col 1:19-20)
What is Christmas about? Everyone believes it is “Peace on earth”. But is it?
When Jesus was born, he was born to bring “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” according to the passage. But what is this peace? I want us to see from this passage what it IS NOT and what it IS.
What it is not:
1. It is NOT world peace.
There is tremendous bloodshed and war everywhere- so where is the peace? If you were to look at world history, you would think that “peace on earth” was a failure.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his famous poem, “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” after visiting his oldest son in the hospital during the Civil War:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
The Crimean War was one of the bloodiest wars in European history, and yet it was started as a result of a disagreement between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church over jurisdiction of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the church that commemorates the very site where the angels sang “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”
And yet, Jesus never claimed that His coming would bring about world peace. In fact, he once said the opposite:
7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. (Mark 2:7-8)
Even in the end time, there will be no peace on earth.
2. It is NOT emotional peace.
People think that when they get Jesus, they get poise. When Christ comes into your life, people will get mad at you, people will not understand you. There is a sense in which life in Christ brings a peace in your life. The Bible teaches about this kind of peace. But, the kind of peace the angels sang about was not emotional peace. Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble…”
When people believe they are to always have emotional peace, it feels like something is spiritually wrong when they are troubled. But that is not what the Bible means here by peace.
What it is:
1. It IS peace between God and us.
When the Bible says, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward man,” it doesn’t mean world peace or emotional peace, it means peace between man and God. It is a cosmic judicial peace that has been brought about as a result of the redemptive work of the Son of God. Martin Luther got it right:
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
God takes your heart and turns it from stone into flesh. He breaks down the barrier wall of contempt and brings us into a right relationship with God. He who knew no sin becomes sin so that we might be reconciled to Him.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col 1:19)
For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10)
Why did God come to earth and take on human flesh? To reconcile us. To end the war.
You can’t get more reconciled than this. You can’t get more peace than this.
It is peace with God that is absolute and perfect. It is not subject to degrees. It is absolutely perfect.
2. It IS the peace all of us are seeking.
Our biggest need is not information, politics, or psychology; our biggest need is reconciliation. Our sin has put as at war with God and although we may not realize it, that enmity with God is the greatest problem in our lives. Nothing can be peaceful in us and with us until we are made whole by the peace that is brought about by a right relationship with God brought about by the gospel.
- What do most people think about when they hear, “Peace on earth, good will to man”?
- What does the Bible actually mean by that statement?
- How does a person find this kind of peace?
- How is Christ’s peace a light shining in the darkness?
- Do you agree with the statement that all men and women are looking for some kind of peace? Why or why not?
- How is Jesus the solution to our deepest problem?