What does it mean when someone says, “Let there be peace on earth”? Is the expectation that there will be no wars? Does it mean there will not be any conflict between individuals? Or, is it referencing an attitude of the heart? More specifically, does the phrase reference not just the outward lack of malice and violence, but a calming inner attitude and respect for others that makes unleashing violence on another human being simply out of the question?
What does it mean when we say Jesus is the Prince of Peace? The Old Testament reference to the coming Messiah is tied to the New Testament Gospel promise that when this Messiah, the Prince of Peace, comes it will result in “peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased”. Obviously, the connotation is that it is a good thing, but exactly what will it look like?
Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the “Pax Romana” or Roman Peace. It was a time of extraordinary tranquility throughout the known world imposed by a strong military presence. The messengers of God in Luke’s Gospel described a peace of mind and soul far deeper and more lasting than even the astonishing multiple century peace extended by the Roman government. The peace that only Jesus can bring is total well-being, not just the absence of exterior hostility.
The Prince of Peace restores relationships between sinful humans and their holy Creator through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord. The ensuing peace is not just the absence of bad things, but the addition of good.
Christ promised peace to those who followed him, but he warned them that in this life not all conflict would cease. In fact, following Christ inevitably would lead to conflict because it involves opposition to Satan and his work.
Consequently, the peace on earth yearned for and talked about especially at Christmas is received through faith in Christ. It begins in the heart as a result of a restored relationship with God and spreads to the world around each Christ follower. However, conflict between good and evil will not cease until the Second Coming of Christ when the final battle between God and Satan transpires.
Total peace on earth cannot be accomplished by human effort alone. Nor is it possible without reconciliation with God through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Complete peace will be accomplished on God’s time table not as the result of human deal making. However, it can begin with you and I then spread via our co-operation with the reconciling power of the Holy Spirit.