And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:14
Songs have been written about peace at Christmastime and greeting card companies have used the quote to promote wishes for peace to all who receive their card. It’s nice to wish someone we care about a peaceful life but is this what the angels meant when they made this announcement?
If they had just declared ‘peace on earth’, it might have been easier to misconstrue. But the phrase ‘peace among men with whom He is pleased’ changes everything.
This phrase is connected to an event in Jesus’ life when God the Father made a pronouncement of His own. When Jesus was being baptized, His Father’s voice was heard, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” So to whom will peace come? To those with whom the Father is pleased. The conditions for pleasing the Father are to love His Son, to embrace Him as Savior, and to live a life of obedience, just as Jesus did.
For every person who does this, there is peace with God. The birth of Jesus and the mission He came to fulfill made this peace possible because sin was dealt with on Calvary. This sentiment from the angels can not be misconstrued to mean that, in 2016, the world will be a more peaceful place. It won’t. Times here will only prove more perilous until Jesus comes back and the prophecies from scripture continue to play out. While that may sound grim, God’s plan moves along according to God’s timetable, leading us to the day when Jesus will reign on earth and we will enjoy peace – internally and externally – for the first time.
For every one of us who are citizens of heaven today, who have made peace with God through Christ, peace starts now. It reigns in the heart of all those who have asked Jesus to bear the Father’s wrath in our place. That’s what He came to do. A birth in a crude stable setting was to usher in a peace-making mission. So to all of you who are in Christ today, I send a heartfelt greeting. “Rest in the peace of forgiven sins. Rest in the peace that exists between you and the Father. Jesus came to win it for us – and hand it to us on the other side of the cross.”
If you are well pleased with me, it is only because my righteousness was a gift from You, Jesus. Thank you for peace the world does not understand. Amen