BIBLE READING: Luke 2:8-14 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David ! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find the baby wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven- praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased".
This is a section of scripture that is familiar to us especially during the Christmas season. But many people look at the turmoil in the world today and say 'where is the peace'? People misunderstand this scripture to say that Jesus was bringing 'peace on earth'. Jesus himself said in Matthew 10:34-36 - "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; your worst enemies will be the members of your own family." That doesn't sound like Jesus came to bring peace ON the earth, does it?
The peace the angels were singing about was peace BETWEEN God and man. Prior to Jesus there was no means for forgiveness of sin. Man had to sacrifice animals over and over, and still there was no way for the people to actually feel forgiven. The blood of the animals was inadequate. Jesus coming was going to be God's way of bringing peace between God and man once again. The is the peace that God intended when he created Adam and Eve and they walked and talked with him in the coolness of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had a relationship of peace with God and God's plan was to restore this. Jesus was sent here with a mission and the mission had begun. Jesus would be the means for peace on earth once again between man and God.
Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that- in union with him - we might share the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21