(Not the Stephen King Novel by the same name)
This weekend is the 4 week of Advent and we are supposed to celebrate PEACE. PEACE, does the world understand PEACE? Does the Christ follower understand peace? When you think of peace, it often strikes up the idea of tranquility. Some attribute peace as quiet. Some attribute peace as calm. Some even attribute peace with unity. But PEACE is quite possibly NONE of those things!
Matthew 10:34-39 New Living Translation
34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.
35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’[a]
37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
Luke 12:49-53 New Living Translation
49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
53 ‘Father will be divided against son and son against father;
mother against daughter and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’[a]”
Sword, Division, and Peace?
The Sword = The Word of God
Division = The Thinking of mankind
Peace = Misery
What??? Peace can mean misery??? Turn with me to Micah 7: 1-10:
Micah 7:1-10 New Living Translation
7 How miserable I am!
I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest
who can find nothing to eat.
Not a cluster of grapes or a single early fig
can be found to satisfy my hunger.
2 The godly people have all disappeared;
not one honest person is left on the earth.
They are all murderers,
setting traps even for their own brothers.
3 Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil!
Officials and judges alike demand bribes.
The people with influence get what they want,
and together they scheme to twist justice.
4 Even the best of them is like a brier;
the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns.
But your judgment day is coming swiftly now.
Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion.
5 Don’t trust anyone—
not your best friend or even your wife!
6 For the son despises his father.
The daughter defies her mother.
The daughter-in-law defies her mother-in-law.
Your enemies are right in your own household!
7 As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
and my God will certainly hear me.
8 Do not gloat over me, my enemies!
For though I fall, I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
9 I will be patient as the Lord punishes me,
for I have sinned against him.
But after that, he will take up my case
and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies.
The Lord will bring me into the light,
and I will see his righteousness.
10 Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side.
They will be ashamed that they taunted me, saying,
“So where is the Lord—
that God of yours?”
With my own eyes I will see their downfall;
they will be trampled like mud in the streets.
Verses 1-4: No fruit, nothing to harvest, therefore judgement
Verses 5-7: Human behavior of divisive behaviors, gossipers, slanderers, defies, selfish ambitions, the enemies are in the house.
Verses 8-10: You will be mocked, you will have consequences for your actions, however, God will forgive, even when mankind will not.
Commentators recognize that there are both personal attributes as well as ideas that are associated by those who are Israel, God’s chosen. We recognize that there is a transition between the Israel recognized in Micah’s day, to the New Israel that we currently celebrate, as God, through the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus, has grafted in the whole world who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Israel is not a nation with borders, it is humanity.
While we sing songs of peace on earth, good will towards man, that is the gift of God, Jesus. If Jesus is peace, we must recognize that his ministry brought much misery to him personally. Mocked, slandered, falsely accused as being a liar, arrested under false pretenses, fighting against an established Jewish religion that could not even recognize the God they claimed to both speak for and serve for. He was grieved by every encounter; he was a man full of sorrow. The world recognized him not. He was led to slaughter like a common animal. He even was not at peace with his Father’s plan and the devil knew it! However, he did not bend his will away from his Father. Jesus did what we were powerless to do ourselves, he lived in a world purely so that we could have peace, peace in Heaven with him!