I don’t remember my age at the time, probably somewhere between 11 and 13; I only remember the dysfunction all around me. I wasn’t out on the street or even on the school playground, where things sometimes could get ugly. I was in a church. In a “business” meeting. I was far too young to be a voting participant. I don’t remember why the meeting had been called or who was officiating it. I only know it got terribly out of hand and people I had known all my life, the ones I had been taught to call Brother and Sister, were yelling and accusing each other. A lot of people started crying and at some point, I think, praying. All I remember is the yelling.

“And 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, good will toward men’” (Luke 2:13-14 KJV). 

The note in my ESV Bible says a host is a military term and it is “remarkable” that an army is announcing peace. It is also interesting that this group of angels was speaking to a small  group of Jewish shepherds, not the most prominent of Jewish people by any means. Rather the opposite. The host of angels had appeared after an announcement by a single angel that “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” had been born.

“ All of this was pretty spectacular for a humble group of shepherds to absorb, so they agreed to hurry off and see this Baby. ”


All of this was pretty spectacular for a humble group of shepherds to absorb, so they agreed to hurry off and see this Baby. Luke 2:16 tells us they “found Him,” later telling others all they had witnessed. These guys were possibly the first to actually believe that Jesus was Christ the Lord, the promised Messiah. It seems pretty obvious that they understood this Baby was the Peace, and He meant for it to begin in the hearts of men. I imagine that became clear to them in the quietness and simplicity of the moment, after seeking Him, finding Him, and then—seeing Him. 

The Bible doesn’t tell us how their lives changed after that, but surely, they did. One would not be likely to forget such an event, and no doubt having witnessed it together, they formed a sort of new brotherhood, with that Baby being the source of wonder, light, hope, promise as well as salvation to them.

Yet it would be 30 years before the general Jewish population began to hear much about Jesus. And at times, His messages didn’t seem particularly peaceful. “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Luke 12:51). He warned His disciples over and over again, that the world, including His own Jewish people would be against Him, and in turn, them, because they belonged to Him. “In the world you will have tribulation,” He told them shortly before His arrest and crucifixion. “I have told you these things …[so that] in me you may have peace…But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

“ 'I have told you these things …[so that] in me you may have peace…But take heart; I have overcome the world' (John 16:33) ”


The Jews were looking for someone who would free them politically from the Roman Empire and raise their nation to superiority. Most of them missed entirely Who Jesus was. They had no understanding of the peace He preached about. Even His disciples weren’t quite clear when He first said to them, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). They would understand it more fully after His death and resurrection and Pentecost happened. 

His peace would be passed on to those who believed in His name, who professed it. Peace that would pacify hearts, hearts made pure from sin and cleansed by Jesus’ blood. Paul, on a rampage to destroy believers was struck blind by the Light of that Peace and would later write, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

He gives the peace, and He calls us to be peacemakers. A people of peacemakers. A Church of peacemakers. His Bride of peacemakers. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Sons of God,” Jesus said in His sermon on the mountain (Matthew 5:9). In other words, those who are called the Sons of God [by their Father] will be peacemakers. Peace is one of the many fruits that the Spirit works in us that shows we belong to Christ. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” (Galatians 5:22).

But sometimes there is sparring over triviality. We don’t like the way something is done or isn’t done. We find fault with one another. Divisions. Dissension. Like the business meeting I described. Surely this can’t be a people experiencing the amazing peace of Jesus Christ! Not a people who really know Who Jesus is. This sounds more like the “stiff-necked, idolatrous” Israelites of the Old Testament. Based on our behavior, what does the world surmise about our God?

“ Based on our behavior, what does the world surmise about our God? ”


In any case, most of us have played some part from time to time in disturbing the peace. Even if it was no more than partaking in gossip about a brother or sister in Christ. Or loudly making hate-filled speech about a wrong or what one might think is a wrong. Or self-righteously confronting evil with evil. Or arrogantly posting a “you’re so wrong-I’m right” comment on social media. You get the idea. At the time we might not even be aware that what we are doing is wrong. We fail to see what we fail to see, marching forward to the detriment of ourselves, the Church, and the reputation of our God before the world. Disunity is not peaceful, and doesn’t originate from peaceful hearts.

Hear Jesus’ prayer for us shortly before He would give His life for us. He was praying for us in those last moments, and prays it still for His Church:

 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20-23).

As believers, we have new identities. We are no longer the irritable, the angry, the addict, the depressed, the arrogant, the ignorant. Our identities are found in Christ. He in us, we in Him. Old is gone and we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul writes in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” It’s our minds that have to remember and reflect our new identity. It’s hard to break away from the chains of our old thinking habits that basically pleased ourselves and caved to worldly evils.

“ ...the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ”


Later, Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:7, “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Imagine that—God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds and even bless us as we go forward.

“Bless,” Peter writes, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling.” Instead bless, “Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind….”

“Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
 let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:8-11).

The incomprehensible peace of God affects the way we will see our brothers and sisters in Christ. The way we speak to one another. The way we encourage each other to accomplish the good works we are to do. The way we treat one another and our neighbors in the world. The way we hold one another accountable to the Word of God. The compassion and mercy we genuinely show others. None of it is based on how I am treated. It rests on my response to who I now am in Christ Jesus. 

Will we, as members of the Body of Christ, “let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts, to which indeed you were called, in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).

One last promise from Isaiah 26:3—think on it this season as we celebrate Jesus’ birth:

“You keep him in perfect peace

whose mind is stayed on you,

Because he trusts in you.”

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