Read Luke 2:8-14.
Every other time in the Bible that we see a group of angels singing, they are in the throne room of God. But here in Luke, an entire group of angels comes to witness and proclaim divinity being born as a human baby.
And in verse 14, the angels proclaim peace over those with whom God is pleased.
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom - the Greek word is eirene - and it’s way more than the absence of conflict. It is not just the absence of bad. It’s the presence of everything good that is supposed to exist in all our relationships with God, ourselves and others.
(Check out this 4 minute video for a more in-depth explanation of the word Shalom; This could be great to watch as a family or a LifeGroup and discuss!)
In Luke, when the angels declare peace on earth, they mean way more than just internal, personal peace. Jesus’ advent is going to impact the global fabric of the world - broken shalom at a macro level.
The reality of macro level broken shalom is the backdrop for a prophecy in Isaiah 9:2-7:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
The solution for peace on earth is actually government—but a totally different kind of government. A sinless one. One that can change sinful hearts. One that can restore shalom completely in all our relationships, with God, ourselves and others. The promises in Isaiah are powerful because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is going to bring exactly that kind of government.
The angels proclaiming Jesus’ birth in Luke 2 are the beginning of His peace invasion.
God has promised that there will be no end to the spread of Jesus kingdom and peaceful reign. And wherever it spreads, it’s taking shalom with it.
We don’t have to wonder if that will happen, just when it will happen. We are like shepherds in a field, watching our flocks by night, smiling and just waiting on the clouds to part. We know that as surely as the angels broke through and announced the good news of Jesus the first time, He will surely come again and finish what He started.
And in case you have any doubt how committed God is about restoring shalom in all of creation, the cross is the proof. In the cross, the Prince of Peace took all of the world’s brokenness and sin onto Himself. And then He didn’t stay dead. God’s Spirit rose God’s Son and Jesus has conquered death and the grave.
So now until King Jesus returns to usher in His kingdom of peace once and for all, we long for His return and we live for it. We are called to be peacemakers—to join God in increasing his governance to people and systems and communities that are broken and in need of shalom.
Because we’ve been given peace through the blood of the Prince of Peace, we’re now looking for every opportunity to bring His kingdom of peace on earth. All seven of our Serve the City partners are precisely about this. The challenge this week is for all members of Midtown Family to give an average of $20 to our Serve the City partnerships. You can give online here. You can also sign up to serve here.