Monday, December 25, 2006

Peace on Earth

The angel announced, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

This simple statement has the potential for several misconceptions.

The key to understanding this is to remember that it is written in the characteristic Hebrew poetic form of
parallelism. It is composed of two statements (of unequal length).
Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Place: “the highest” — earth

Person: God — men

Characteristic: glory — peace

The angel was proclaiming that this event (the birth of the Messiah) would result in bringing glory to God in “the heavens.” And the result on earth would mean peace for mankind, specifically those upon whom his favor (grace) rests.

But this was not a promise of world-wide peace. In fact, Jesus would later tell his disciples, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

God has much bigger plans than a global truce.

Ever since the Garden, mankind has been estranged from God. And this estrangement spread to all our relationships. We found ourselves estranged from each other. Not only were we at war with each other, but we were also at war with nature itself.

Yet, God was prepared with a plan.

This plan rested in a feeding trough in an obscure village of an unimportant province of the Roman Empire—as a vulnerable baby. In this child resided all the hopes and dreams of mankind (and the Divine Community we call the Trinity).

God and man were reconciled in a single person. And in this person, God’s plan of redemption was fulfilled. And peace became a reality on earth.

But this peace came at a cost.

Only this child could pay the price. And pay he did, in full.

So why is there still conflict and war? Why do modern-day Scrooges exploit others for profit? Why do children become pawns in custody battles?

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to experience this costly peace. It can only be known by repentance and surrender. We’re back to the choice whether to trust God with our happiness, with our future and with our hearts.

If we try to save our lives, we lose everything. Yet if we abandon ourselves to this Messiah, we receive life and hope and peace.

May you experience this peace that is beyond human understanding this Christmas season. And may you allow God to use you as a carrier to infect all those around you.

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”

7 comments:

Nathaniel said...

Yet, God was prepared with a plan.

Darn tootin He was prepared with a plan. Heck, He even had the plan before He created it all. That plan was His reason for creating it and and determining that man should fall...

:D:D:D

Pastor Rod said...

Nathaniel (Adam),

Welcome back.

I knew some of my Calvinist friends would take issue with the way I framed some of this. But you are in a class of your own. You are more honest about what you believe and more loving toward those who disagree with you.

One day we'll find out that both of us had it wrong.

God bless,

Rod

Mark O. Wilson said...

Informal Wesleyan Blogger Breakfast in Orlando. 8:00 a.m. Thursday Morning, Jan 4. Augustine's which is on site at Wyndham. Pricey, at around $14 for breakfast buffet, but includes good company! Would love to have you join us.

Pastor Rod said...

Mark,

Thanks for the invitation. Unfortunately, I will not be in Orlando. I'm leaving the next week for Italy. I'll have to take a rain check.

Rod

jeff franczak said...

Thank you for this post. Sunday afternoon I was sharing your teaching about Luke 2:14 with my aunt. Monday, I checked the blog and found this post with all your “sermon notes”. I was able to print it out and pass it along.

Nathaniel said...

YOU! I want you...email me sometime, I have a proposition *evil laugh*...

Pastor Rod said...

Jeff,

I was great to see you over the holidays. God bless you as you seek to follow his direction in your life.

Rod