During our church carol service last month, celebrating Jesus coming to earth, our vicar shared some profound and sobering facts. He said that for the thousands of years of mankind, since God created Adam and Eve, there’s only been approximately 297 years of world peace. The money spent on all the wars there have been is the equivalent of a band of solid gold around the circumference of the whole earth several metres deep. And the lives lost in all those wars is equivalent to half today’s world population. Sobering facts indeed.
And, if that wasn’t enough evidence of how much we need the Prince of Peace here on earth, since then we’ve seen a succession of shocking reminders, with the cruel, cold-blooded murder of 132 schoolchildren and 9 adults in Pakistan, the unprovoked shooting of people innocently drinking coffee in an Australian street café, and the killing of 17 people in a series of terrorist attacks in France.
As Christians we pray for the devastatingly bereft families and friends of those whose lives have been snuffed out so brutally and suddenly. Yet, even as we are praying, doubt and confusion can so easily creep into our hearts. On the one hand we look at the horrific pictures in the daily news reports, wondering what’s coming next and struggling not to lose all hope for this world. On the other hand we know that Jesus came as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He said, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’ (John 14:27). So we know there is hope; and not just the wonderful hope for when Jesus comes again, which we know He surely will. But there’s also hope of peace here on earth today – for all those willing to turn to Jesus in repentance and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour.
We have an enemy who wants to pull us down into hopelessness and make us give up praying. It’s so important that we resist him. We must stand against him with the absolute truth in the Word of God that, ‘He himself (Jesus) is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ (Ephesians 2:14). Our Lord Jesus is the author of peace (see 1 Corinthians 14:33), ‘the chastisement for our peace was upon Him’ (Isaiah 53:5) – and He took the punishment for sin. His blood was shed, so that the way is truly opened up for mankind to be reconciled, and at peace, with Father God, and with one another.
For those who do receive His forgiveness and grace for their sin, whether it’s past or present sin, and for those who apply the work of the cross and His grace in every circumstance, there’s an amazing, continuous discovery of more and more of His incredible love. There’s the impartation of more and more of His peace. His is the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15) and the fruit of His Spirit is peace (Galatians 5:22).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the true and certain hope we have in You. Today we pray for peace and healing where there’s war, violence and bloodshed. We pray for the families of the Pakistani school-children killed in the terrorist attack before Christmas, the families of those killed in the siege at the café in Sydney and in the most recent attacks in France. In their grief may many turn to You for comfort, and receive Your love and peace in their hearts. Lord, bring confusion to the plans of those who hate truth and love violence. Create panic amongst Your enemy and the enemy of Your people, and make them turn and run. We pray that Your truth will prevail and many will come to You in true repentance to receive Your forgiveness and mercy, and know Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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