TiO 45 – Peace On Earth – Peace for Some
The Main Idea
When we hear the story of the angels declaring “peace on earth” we often think that this is a universal declaration: that all people in all places are to have peace. But it is clear from both observation and from scripture that peace is a commodity that is hard to find. So, what does “peace on earth” mean to us?
Warm Up Questions: (Choose 1 or 2)
Q1: Have you ever been in a war zone? Tell that story.
Q2: What does peace mean to you?
Q3: People say they want “peace and quiet” … how important is that for you?
Dig a Little Deeper
In the ancient world, peace most often came at the end of a sword: there would be peace if you cooperated with the ruling empire which, in the first century, was Rome. But peace for us, the peace that Jesus brought, came in unexpected ways.
Read Luke 2:8-14
The first news of the birth of the Messiah was given to shepherds, not the best or most reliable of journalists.
Q1: Why do you think that the announcement of Jesus’ birth was given first to shepherds?
This passage shows a contrast between the news that is for all people and the news that is only for some.
Q2: What good news was directed at all people?
Q3: What good news was only for some?
Q4: What does this tell us about Jesus mission and the response of people to it?
Peace is a commodity that is hard to find. The message of peace is not universal: Matthew 10:34-39.
These are hard words to hear, especially coming from the mouth of Jesus who is often seen as the ultimate bringer of peace.
Q5: Does Jesus mean to tell us that we are to actively engage in war with our families? If not, what is he saying about peace in our lives and in our relationships with other people?
Todd concluded his message by bringing us back to the source and definition of real peace: not a cessation of war but a reconciliation with God. And he gave us three actions to allow us to have peace in our lives.
- Keep your mind on God: Isaiah 26:3-4
Q6: What is the basis for our peace?
- Receive God’s exclusive peace: John 14:25-27
Q7: How is the peace that Jesus gives different from the peace that the world understands?
- Continue to fight: 1 Timothy 6:12
Q8: What is Paul telling Timothy to fight for?
“The gospel is neither good nor news”: that has been said about what the church today proclaims. Clearly, if our message is the same as the world’s message then the church is irrelevant and the news that Jesus came to proclaim is out of date and unnecessary. But when Jesus talks of peace, when the angels declared peace, and when we tell the good news of peace we are not simply talking about an end to war and an end to conflict. There is something more profound going on.
Q1: When you speak (or think) of peace in your own life, what are you personally looking for?
Q2: One could say that peace comes with a price: what are the prices that we must pay for peace in our lives?
Pray together for peace and for each of you as agents of peace in the world that you touch everyday.
The Depth (for optional study)
In this section we are providing an in-depth look into the scriptures that the message came out of. There are two critical steps in good interpretation of the Bible. First, we try to understand what the author meant when he wrote the words and how that would have been applied by the original audience. Second, we then take the principles that the original author was trying to get across to his audience and we apply those principles to our own lives. You may want to read some of these passages yourself and/or have people in your group read them together.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!”
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for in the Lord God
you have an everlasting rock.
I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.