Advent Week 4: He Has Brought Peace
Written by Raphael Mnkandhla, Leaders Collective Church Planter City Church, Williamsport, PA
Read: Luke 2:8-11, Romans 5:1-11.
I love watching battles, especially when enemies negotiate for peace. Did you know that because of sin scripture describes us as enemies of God(Rom 5:10)? Luke 2:8-11 is an announcement of a peace-treaty fully signed by an Almighty King to his undeserving rebel enemies. This news would result in “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…”(Luke 2:14). Appearing to the shepherds, the angel said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you a child is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,”(Luke 2:10–11). Jesus’ birth is still good news because Jesus’ justifying work made peace with God(Rom 5:1). Through our Savior Jesus, dead men are made alive, rebels turned into sons, and hearts ruled by fear of judgment rejoice. “Those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death now have available the Prince of Peace to guide their feet into the way of peace,”(Luke 1:79). At Jesus’ birth all creation celebrated, a symphony never heard since man fell into sin(Rom 3:23). Christmas is a season to praise God because in Christ, hearts that were once full of sin are now filled with his glorious Spirit.
In Israel, shepherds had a bad reputation; they were rebellious, dishonest, and unreliable. Yet it is to them God chose to announce the good news that the long-awaited Messiah had been born. The proclamation of peace begins with those who least deserve it. Luke saturates his gospel with examples of Jesus extending grace to the undeserving who ran from God through outright rebellion(prostitutes and sinners) and those running through self-righteousness(Pharisees)(See Luke 15).
The good news of the gospel is that our Savior King came to seek and save the lost(19:10). He still makes his power known in our churches as we listen to many lives that have been changed by Christ. As you read this take some time to remember people you know who Christ has begun a good work in(Phil 1:6) and praise Him. Let this also move you to pray for those who are far from him, believing that he can save them to the utmost(Heb 7:25).
The responses of the shepherds are impressive. First, they dropped everything and went to Bethlehem, to go and see for themselves. They were eager to see what God had done. I pray that we would respond with haste in obedience to his proclamation of the gospel to us. Second, after seeing Jesus, the shepherds couldn’t keep the good news to themselves, “they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child,”(Luke 2:17). The good news of Jesus that brings peace between God and man leads to peace between men. How ironic how the first testimony of the gospel comes from the most untrustworthy lips of shepherds. What a glorious gospel it is that turns liars and cheats into peacemakers(Mat 5:9), their feet once “ran to evil, and made haste to shed blood,”(Prov 1:16). Now they had “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace,”(Ephesians 6:15). Is the good news of Jesus creating an excitement to watch those around you encounter the grace you have also encountered?
Luke 2:20 is also a display of the transformation the gospel brings. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen..” Lips that used to flow with all kinds of filth now were full of praises to God. An encounter with the good news resulted in witness and worship. It’s striking that we read they “returned” to their daily lives. They returned to the fields and the sheep, to their homes, their wives, and their children. Their home life had not changed, yet beholding Jesus had transformed their hearts. God’s missional strategy is that you live for him in the mundane, that’s where his glory shines brightest.
Prayer: Jesus you are our Prince of Peace. Thank you for reconciling us to God and reconciling us to one another. May you make us instruments of peace to our families, neighbors, and community.