Week 32: December 4-10
Second Week of Advent: Peace
Today is the beginning of the second week of Advent. Last week we gave a brief history of the celebration of Advent in Christian churches and our devotion focused on the theme of Hope.
Over the next three weeks, we will focus on the remaining themes of Advent: Peace, Joy, and Love.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be uponhis shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Prince of Peace
There is so much packed into this one familiar verse! The prophet Isaiah was writing to the Israelites of the coming birth of God’s promised Messiah. The Jewish nation had been in captivity for centuries at the time of this writing. They were looking forward to a time when they would be delivered from captivity. But, God was actually promising them much more than that. He would send One who would deliver from sin. The name Prince of Peace shows that he would reconcile sinners to God. He gives peace in the hearts and minds of all who would believe in Him.
John 14:27 says, 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. We know that the peace this world can offer through treaties, peace talks, and governmental control is temporary. But the Peace of God isn’t.
Peace with God
The Bible is brimming with passages that speak of our ability to have peace with God through Jesus. Ephesians 2:11-22 is a great passage in which the Apostle Paul describes the human condition both before and after the salvation. Humanity was (by our own sin) separated from Christ… alienated… having no hope. Thankfully God didn’t leave us there. He continues with the truth that in Christ Jesus we are brought near to God by His blood and that He Himself is our peace.
A quote you may have seen on plaques or social media is any number of variations of “Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement. Romans 5:1-5 says, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We must remember that no matter what is going on in the world around us, what tragedy may have happened in our family or community, that our greatest source of peace is the presence of God in our lives. It transcends everything else.
Peace with Others
There are so many verses of Scripture that speak about our ability ---and the command --- to live peaceably with others. Just recently Pastor Dan preached from Hebrews 12:14, Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
It’s an interesting choice of verb, “strive.” It may not always be easy to have a peaceful interaction with everyone we meet.
Romans 12:18 says, If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Again, the wording of the passage is a clue that this isn’t always an easy task. Galatians 5:23-23 reminds us that the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts makes it possible. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Peace in Trouble
You don’t have to look very far to find an example of unrest, physical and emotional pain, grief, and heartache. Just check the weekly prayer requests from our own church body. The trouble will leap off the page. John 16:33 contains a great truth: In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
When Christ was born, Herod tried to have him killed. The religious leaders of the day tried to trap and silence him and when they couldn’t succeed, conspired to have him arrested and tried on bogus charges. When finally a civil court took the life that He willingly laid down, He rose from the grave! Because Christ has overcome, we can take heart. We can survive the storms of life without being overwhelmed by them.
Philippians 4:7 tells us, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is no way to over-emphasize the words “which surpasses all understanding.” Nothing can compare to the sense of peace that comes from deep in the soul of a believer. Trouble will come into our lives, the Lord said it would. But He is always there no matter what the circumstance is. Let us focus on the peace we now have through Christ.
- Pray for gospel opportunities during the Advent season, where we can share the true meaning of Christmas
- Pray for opportunities to help others focus on the peace of Christ in times of difficulty.
Bible Passages for Daily Reading
Sunday – Isaiah 11:1-10
Monday – Zechariah 6:12-13
Tuesday – Micah 5:2-3
Wednesday – Malachi 3:1-6
Thursday – John 1:1-8
Friday – John 1:9-18
Saturday – Mark 1:1-3