Did Jesus come to bring peace on earth?The prophet Isaiah prophesied Jesus' birth hundreds of years before it happened. Among other names, Isaiah calls Him Prince of Peace: "his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). The night that Jesus was born, the angels appeared to the shepherds in the field and proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14). The arrival of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, did bring peace to the world, but what type of peace did Jesus come to bring?
In our modern world, it is common to hear talk along the lines of saying that Jesus came to bring peace on earth in reference to world peace, or peace in families and communities. The truth of the matter is, we still live in a fallen world that is ruled by sin—and will be until Jesus returns to establish a heavenly kingdom here on earth (Micah 4:1–5; Isaiah 2:4). If people don't realize this, it can become a source of doubt. They may even claim that Jesus is not God because, they say, if He were, there would be no more wars or conflicts, etc. But that is a misunderstanding.
In reality, the process of being at peace with God means that sometimes we will be in conflict with others. Jesus warned His disciples about this in Matthew 10:34–36: "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 a person's enemies will be those of his own household." Jesus was warning the disciples about the costs of following Him and of the persecution they would face (see also John 15:17–20; 16:33). Jesus did come to bring peace on earth, but equating that with world peace or a lack of interpersonal conflict is not completely correct.
The primary peace that Jesus came to bring is peace between mankind and God. Before Christ, we were enemies of God, trapped in our own sins. While we were still sinners, Jesus sacrificed Himself for the sake of our reconciliation with God (Romans 5:10). When we put our faith in Jesus as Lord, we are made right with God: "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Jesus did come to bring us peace—eternal peace.
When we submit to the lordship of the Prince of Peace, the eternal peace that Jesus brings will be present within us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit whom He sends to all who put their faith in Him. Paul instructs us as believers to "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15). When we are submitted to Jesus as Lord and allow the Holy Spirit to rule in our hearts, we are then truly at peace: "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6–7; see also John 14:27).
The peace of God doesn't just enable us to be at rest internally—it also empowers us to walk in love and be at peace with others. We become more forgiving, more generous, and more compassionate in our relationships. We are also more self-aware of our own mistakes and quick to repent and ask for forgiveness. In fact, making efforts for interpersonal peace is a mark of a true believer: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18).
We can have peace in our hearts and live at peace with others because we have been reconciled to God through Jesus and are empowered by the Holy Spirit. We will face persecution and difficulties, but the peace of God can still prevail in the midst of them. One day, when Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom on earth, there will be true world peace.
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