The pursuit of world peace is one of the many aspirations of the United Nations:
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
It sounds like a worthy and noble ideal. Except there’s an inbuilt fatal flaw. It is dependent upon every person, tribe and country on earth putting the interests of every other person, tribe or country before their own. In other words, until every human being has peace in their own heart, they’ll be no hope of world peace.
The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that apart from God, this is impossible:
As it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom. 3:10-18)
Sound familiar? Paul could’ve been narrating the evening news. Left to our own devices, the state of the world is utterly hopeless.
That’s where the Good News of the Gospel comes in. Rather than attempting to impose peace on the world through compromised man-made institutions, God’s peace comes through the transformation of the human heart by the One who created us in the first place.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. (Rom. 12:1-2)
Jesus’ promise of peace to His disciples was validated by the fatal wounds He suffered on our behalf. To make sure they (and we) get the connection, He repeated it later with Thomas:
“Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1; cf. John 16:33; Phil. 4:6-7; Col. 3:15)
That is why only Jesus is able to promise world peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Apart from Christ, the best we can expect in this life are fleeting momentary distractions from the incessant pain and struggle endemic in a broken world system. In other words, not true peace at all.
God’s peace is not a temporary emotional state, it’s a permanent state of being – being in relationship with the Prince of Peace. No earthly King, Prime Minister, President or even UN Secretary General will ever be able to bring peace on earth. Anyone who claims to do so will ultimately be unmasked as a liar and deceiver (cf. Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; Rev. 6:1-4; 13:1-10). Only the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is capable of bringing true lasting peace, which He initiated at the cross of Calvary and will culminate when He returns to rule from David’s throne.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Rev, 22:16; cf. Psa. 2; Isa. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-5; Zech. 14:9-11; Matt. 24:36-44; Luke 11:2; Rev. 20:4-6).
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth this Christmas, let’s remember what He has accomplished for us, reflect on what He is doing in us and resolve to let Him work through us as He offers His peace to the whole world.
“Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.'” (John 20:21)
If there’s anything the world needs now more than ever is peace, God’s Peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)
Peace be with you.