In this second week of Advent our emphasis is on the peace of God toward his people. In the Christmas story, an angel visits a group of shepherds who were “watching their flocks by night” and tells them of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem. Then, suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!“ (Luke 2:13-14).
Many people believe the angels proclaimed a general peace to men on earth but in reality they announced peace among those men (and women) whom God had graciously chosen. They announced that God’s sovereign delight rests upon his chosen and declared that with them alone God is well pleased.
In the Scripture, peace is often used as a covenant term describing a cessation of hostilities between God and man. When Man was created he was brought into relationship with God and was at peace with him. Once Man fell into sin, the relationship was broken and a sate of enmity ensued (Romans 8:7). Since then, there is no hope for peace apart from the intervention of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
During the old covenant administration, peace was maintained between Yahweh and his people in anticipation of the Messianic ministry. In other words, it was because of what Jesus would do that God was willing to maintain a state of peace with his people. The sacrifice and ritual of the Mosaic law was designed to remind God’s people that they enjoyed his peace thanks to the coming Mediat or.
In essence, the angels who proclaimed Jesus’ birth told the shepherds that Unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). With the birth of Jesus Christ, the peace between God and his people was finally secure.
It is significant the shepherds, made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child (Luke 2:17). You see, it was not the angels who brought an announcement of peace to men in general, but the shepherds. In the age of the Son of Man, it is the people of God – not angels – who have the responsibility to tell others how they might enjoy peace with their Creator. Certainly not everyone who hears the good news will accept the offer of salvation, but for those who do, they can expect to experience peace that passes understanding. As Paul told the Believers in Philippi, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).
In the new covenant age we are made a new creation in Christ Jesus. The law is written upon our heart and we are enjoined to cultivate the new man so we may manifest Christ to others – so we might manifest peace to others. In this second week of Advent I encourage you to meditate upon the peace you enjoy with God in Jesus. I urge you to ponder the peace of soul this relationship brings you. I exhort you to express the peace of God to those around you.
May your second week of Advent be blessed.