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Where is Peace on Earth?

Posted on December 5, 2021

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Where is Peace on Earth?

Malachi 3:1-4

Psalm 34:11-22

Philippians 1:3-11

Luke 1:68-79

These past few years have been years of trial, pain, suffering, and hatred across our country. There have been deaths due to illness, deaths due to murder, and death’s due to poor decisions. Just in the past week we have seen a gentleman in an SUV plow through a Christmas parade killing and injuring many in his path. We have seen a student shooting up a school killing 4 kids and leaving several in critical condition. In November of 2020 a gentleman named David Nelson under the influence of several mixed drinks while hunting, rear ended a Minnesota pastor and his wife at 70 mph in a 30 mph zone. The impact killed the pastor and injured his wife. We only have to turn on the news at any given time and see tragedy after tragedy taking place all over the world. The sad thing is that these tragedies last so very little time as a subject to the media and the world and they are then long forgotten even though the impact has yet to go away. The earthquake in Haiti is a perfect example. The event lasted maybe a total of 48 hours in the news but it is now a thing of the past to our media and our world today. However, there are still many suffering through the impact of this event and are no where near to being recovered from the event. All of this begs the question. Where is peace on earth?

There is one verse in the song that we opened with today that just really captured my attention. “And in despair I bowed my head ‘There is no peace on Earth,’ I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.” I can sometimes really relate to that verse and the more we see people’s freedoms taken away and the more we see people mistreated or even persecuted it seems that this verse rings true. This was definitely true for the world before Jesus was born as well. Israel was under control of the Romans and the religious leaders were no help to those really needing peace either. Instead, they put more burdens upon the people. However, as our first advent candle represents, they had a hope that was found in the scriptures according to the prophets. Malachi foretells of a messenger who will come to prepare the way of the Lord for the Lord will come to his temple. Malachi says that this messiah will come to clean house as so to speak. He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will purify the people like silver and gold. The way that gold and silver are purified and refined is they are heated up to a red liquid state and because they are dense metals, all of the impurities in them raise to the top and when they are cooled the impurities can be easily removed and what remains is a pure state of silver or gold. This is kind of what Jesus our Lord comes and does in our lives. He brings all of our sin our into the open and then takes it away from us so that we are left pure.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians he was in a place where he should feel no peace, no light, and no happiness. However, as he writes to them it appears that he is full of Joy every time he thinks and prays for the church in Philippi. He is thankful for their partnership in the gospel since the beginning up to this moment that he is writing this letter. He says he will feel this way whether he is in chains or out defending and confirming the gospel message. Despite Paul’s predicament he is still at peace even though he is in a place where there should be no peace.

The question then is how can there be such peace on earth and good will toward men when we can look out into the world and see all of this hate, anger, and pain just as the stories I shared with you at the beginning of this message? Who can find peace with all of this destruction going on in this world? Who can find peace when loved ones are suffering from illness? Who can find peace when the fear of covid and all of its variants are moving about through the world? The song continues, “Then rang the bells more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on Earth, good will to men.” Zechariah sings in Luke 1:68-79, “Praise be to the Lord, The God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” A child was born to bring us peace on Earth.

The story goes on with this pastor from Minnesota who was killed by this drunk driver. Just last month was the driver’s final arraignment in court. There would finally be justice delivered for the decisions of this man who caused the death of a beloved pastor, husband, and father. However, the unexpected happened in that court room. The judge sentenced the driver to 3 years in prison for vehicular homicide. However, this was not the end of the story. After the hearing the pastor’s widow, daughter, and son walked up to the driver and hugged him. “They told him they forgave him and would be praying for him and his family. They stressed that he needed to forgive himself.” One church member said, “We have been forgiven so much; how could we not forgive you.” The son and daughter told him, “As hard as it was at first, we want you to know that we have been praying for you for the past year because we know your life has been impacted by the biggest mistake of your life.”

This family could have just walked out of the courtroom and said nothing. They could have gone on with continued grief, anger, and pain. However, there would be no peace in their lives or in the life of the driver. However, they chose to forgive because Christ has forgiven them of their own sins. Because of this forgiveness there can now be peace in their world for all of eternity.

Jesus brings peace on earth and good will toward men. As we anticipate our savior in this advent season and this second week that represents peace to come, we acknowledge that He is our peace. Without Jesus there is no peace. And we anticipate his return in which he will bring true peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. And we can listen to the bells ringing peace on earth. We can hear the choir singing peace on earth. I pray that this Christmas and advent season that you find the true peace on Earth and that you will seek this peace just as this family in Minnesota did when they forgave the many who killed their beloved husband and father. This is where Peace on Earth is found, in love and forgiveness.