Every Christmas, millions gather on Christmas Eve to remember the birth of Christ. They relax to the serene image of a child in straw, a gorgeous star lighting up the stable, and the harmonious choir of angels proclaiming the come Messiah. We rest in their message that Jesus has come to bring peace on Earth. We revel in the thought of the Prince of Peace removing the hatred and war, bringing end to violence, and initiating world peace.
But what if we are wrong? What if that isn’t why He came?
Here is the message of the angels as they sang before the fear-stricken shepherds:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.”
Matthew clearly states the reason for Jesus’ first coming. Chapter 9 states that Christ came to call sinners to repentance and then in chapter 18 says, “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Luke records Jesus reading from the prophet Isaiah as the prophecy’s fulfillment. He states it is He that has come to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, give sight to the blind, and set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Wars. Murder. Oppression. These were only the symptoms of the true problem. It wasn’t that men were not at peace with one another. It was that men were not at peace with God Himself. Sin from the very beginning created a war far more intense than bombs, tanks, and guns. This was Creator vs. creation. God vs. man. Spirit of the Living One vs. the fallen spirits of mankind. And without reconciliation in this relationship, peace between man would not be possible. The sin in each human being striving for self-preservation and exaltation, would ultimately destroy all that God created as good.
So God came down. Emmanuel. With his eyes fixed on the cross, He became sin so we could know peace. A relationship with God that was once impossible, now open for all who’d believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus stated very clearly a reason that He did NOT come in Matthew 10:
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on Earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father,and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
We are commanded to be at peace with all people if at all possible. But if the gospel is being readily preached in your life, the Spirit working through you as His servant, and you living in complete obedience, you will NOT be at peace with all people. Because of some people’s hatred towards Jesus Christ, they also hate those who follow Him.
Some will see our good works and come to know the Christ we serve as well. Then they too will experience the peace of no longer being at war with God.
But too often we don’t talk about God because we don’t want to hurt a relationship. We don’t want to sever family ties by being outspoken about our faith. But Jesus continued in Matthew 10 with this:
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
So, yes, we have peace. Jesus came and brought to us a spiritual peace unknown to us before. But what if Jesus is calling you and me to preach His truth even at risk of causing rifts in relationships?
Do we love Him more?