So there's this promise in the Bible, specifically in the book of Isaiah about a coming King and it goes something like this...
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (7) Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." - Isaiah 9:6&7 (emphasis added)
Isaiah tells us of a coming King who is going to be the one we have been waiting for and when describing this King to us, Isaiah says he will be a Prince of Peace!
Now fast forward a few hundred years to the book of Luke where we are told about the birth of Jesus Christ...
"(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 the 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
Peace had arrived! The birth of Jesus meant peace had finally come! The prophecy had been fulfilled!
but... remember we have been studying the book of Matthew this semester and we are finishing the fall semester at chapter 10 so let's pick up our study again at verse 34...
"(34)"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (35) For I have come to turn "a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- (36) a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.""- Matthew 10:34-36
What in the world is going on here?
Eat a snickers Jesus, you get confusing when your hungry.
I mean, didn't all the prophecies just tell us Jesus would bring peace but Jesus himself is telling us peace is exactly what he is not coming to bring?
Now here is where things get good...really good!
The word peace in Hebrew is Shalom and Eirene in the greek. Both these words mean something much more than what we commonly think they do. Most of us define peace as the absence of conflict, but in much of Biblical usage it most simply means completeness, restoration or wholeness. Now let's jump back into our Matthew 10 passage.
When Jesus says "I did not come to bring peace but a sword." he is speaking of division. Jesus says that His name and His message will be divisive. There is no one that remains neutral on the Jesus topic, you're either on one side of the argument or the other. And let's be honest, if you walked into a party right now and declared Jesus as Lord something tells me not everyone is going to stand up and cheer. Jesus is divisive. The Kingdom is divisive.
BUT...we are still told Jesus has come to bring peace, so what do we do with that promise?
You see, Jesus hasn't come to remove conflict from our lives, He has come to bring restoration to our souls.
When man sinned way back in the day in the Garden of Eden something happened, a relationship was broken. Suddenly there was division between Creator God and His creation mankind.
This division was deep, no amount of works, or sacrifices could permanently and completely restore this broken relationship...so begins the longing for one to complete, one to restore, one to make whole again our relationship with God. So began the longing for one who could bring PEACE!
That is exactly what Jesus came to do. Peace is not the absence of conflict, true peace is the presence of the completer, the presence of the restorer, the presence of JESUS!
No matter what persecution or division comes when you put your faith in Jesus Christ you can live at peace knowing the relationship that truly matters is restored and whole again. Though, declaring Jesus as the King may bring persecution to your life your peace can never be taken from you because your true peace lies in the presence of Jesus Christ in your heart!
So this Christmas celebrate the arrival of true peace! Celebrate the arrival of the one who restores your relationship with God the Father! Celebrate the birth of Jesus, It's good news...really good news!