Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peace on Earth




Scripture

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
(John 13:34 NASB)
“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
(John 13:35 NASB)

Observation

The other day I was struck by particular portion of the Christmas story. The heavenly host comes and visits the shepherds and this is what they say:

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
 and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

In a nutshell this is the ushering in of a new era where the greatest commandment will be foundational for all. Love God -- "Glory to God in the highest" -- and love your neighbor "peace on earth." The heavenly host was announcing it that very evening.

Fast forward about thirty three years and we find Jesus visiting with his disciples on the night when He is going to be arrested. He reiterates the second portion of this command -- "and on earth peace among those whom he favors." Jesus just happens to say it this way -- "love one another." That certainly says it, doesn't it? How do we have peace on earth without loving one another?

Application

I spent much of the day yesterday on airplanes. When I travel I often pray and ask the Lord to allow me to be open to His divine promptings of meetings with individuals along the way. Standing in line for the lavatory a gentleman began talking to me - -just making small talk. Where had I been -- what was I doing? He'd been in South Africa for a funeral. Somehow he was a bit bored with the long flight and thought a discussion about religion would be nice so after getting out of the lavatory he tracked me down for quite a lengthy conversation. While being raised Roman Catholic he really did not have any personal faith. He was disturbed by the state of the world around him and wanted to know that if God were really real, wouldn't He have decided that enough was enough and it was time to simply intervene in the world and call a halt to all evil. Why would God just not step in and do something?

I countered with the fact that God is doing something and is actively engaged in changing the world, because God lives in us, His followers and we are God intervening in the world. He kept telling me that there were a billion Roman Catholics in the world and yet it's not changing anything. But here's the question -- it's not about religion, but about being Christ in the world. Truly if all of those who claim to be Christians would "love one another" -- there would be "peace on earth!" I think that is our challenge this Christmas season, and all year round. The cry for the future was spoken by the heavenly host. Jesus kept reiterating it with His followers. Today, we are to be Christ to our world, loving one another bringing His peace.

I challenged this man to think about his faith in a different way.  What did he have to offer God.  He said he was very wealthy.  So, I asked him what he might be able to do with his wealth to help bring "peace on earth."  We discussed what Bill Gates and his wife do with their money.  He went away a bit quiet and I hope that he may have been challenged about his personal responsibility to bring peace to earth.  So, this Christmas season, may we all ask God to help us to love one another and help to usher in that "peace on earth" with the same hopeful optimism that the heavenly host revealed that night so long ago. 

Prayer

Lord, I pray for Your love and Your peace to cover this world! Amen.

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