4th Sunday Advent lesson, originally published December of 2011.
In Luke 2 the sky was filled with the heavenly host proclaiming the gospel of peace to a few lowly shepherds. Last week, Joy, was about the shepherds. They found the baby as the angels had said, and went out of Bethlehem rejoicing and praising God. This week we celebrate Peace and light the Angels’ Candle.
Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. The Kingdom of God is coming, and in the Gospels Jesus says is now here. But during his natural lifetime the work was unfinished. In this New Testament age the coming Kingdom is already but not yet. At his first appearing (advent) Jesus explains that he brings division. In Matther 10:24 he tells his followers “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
The Advent season teaches two lessons. One is that God was faithful and just concerning his promises to send the Messiah. We read the prophecies of Isaiah, Micah and others then witness the birth in Matthew and Luke. We see the faith demonstrated by Joseph and Mary. The other lesson is to realize God will be just as faithful concerning the second coming of Jesus. Salvation’s work has been completed, and Jesus sits at the right hand of God. He will not be a baby in a manger next time, but will come in victory and power. He will be King of kings, Lord of lords, and truly the prince of peace. For believers, it is a peace he purchased with his own blood.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:13-22 ESV)