The world would be such a better place, if only ____.
If that person would just _____, then things would be ok.
If ____ gets elected, the world would be a better place.
We all desperately search for and attempt to bring about “peace,” as defined by us individually. Some of your answers to the above little pop quiz might in fact make life and the world a better place, but that’s not the point. The reality is that there are endless opinions on those answers, and many of them are the opposite of yours (to which you say “well, if that person would just see things my way, then the world would be a better place”.) And the reason is that we all want peace, harmony and love. We are designed for that from the very beginning and spend our whole lives trying to make it back to Eden. But we do it by trying to rebuild Eden here, in this broken world among broken people. It is absolutely true that we are called to be agents of love and peace in this world, fighting for the oppressed and against darkness. But we do this not in an attempt to make heaven here and now but as an act of love spilling over from the just righteousness of our God who cares for His creation. And though we are called to be agents of peace, every worldly step forward will be temporary (though we are still called to do it).
And this is why Jesus came as the Immanuel, God With Us. He came to bring actual, perfect, eternal peace to all of creation firstly by bringing peace between us and God. Sin is our treasonous attempt to overthrow our King as we declare ourselves Lord of All. So Jesus came as a Child King from Nazareth so that, in his death, all the just-judgement that stems from our Peacelessness has been paid. How ironic that the sign that hung above Jesus’ head on the cross (“INRI”) said “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”…which mimics Luke’s account of Jesus birth:
Luke 1:26-27 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.
Jesus came full circle, from Heaven to Nazareth as the Ultimate King in the line of David to bring his people back home into perfect Eden-Shalom, into peace and rest, which motivates us and even empowers us to Live-Eden now.
Clearly this doesn’t mean that life in the here and now is easy and “feels” peaceful. Life can be really hard, but the Great War is OVER. Jesus has made a peace-treaty on our behalf. In this world we will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)!
Dig Deeper: The Bible Project is an excellent resource for young and seasoned people to engage and learn about Scripture and it’s application to real life. This link will take you to 4 Advent videos that unpack the Hebrew and/or Greek words for Peace, Hope, Joy and Love…the 4 Sundays of Advent.