1. OUR WORLD:
It is really wonderful to see how God created this beautiful world. The crimson sun-rise between the mountains, the orange sun-set beyond the blue skies, the torrent rivers, the emerald green valleys, the whispering seas, the ice capped mountains turned crimson white, the fascinating glory of flora and fauna….they all manifest the splendid glory of God. When God created the world, He must have created it for man. He put the man in it to SUBDUE , REPLENISH and GUARD it from all kinds of exploitations. But it is perhaps the man who is more responsible in devastating her beauty and glory polluting her body by adultery and stains of blood.
Neil Armstrong, the first American astronaut who landed on the moon said,
“When you go to space, look back to earth and say, how beautiful the earth is like a small ball in space! “ But someone had said it,
“Someday, somebody may give a Big Kick and the ball may get lost somewhere in space forever giving out a BIG BANG sound.”
We cannot rule out this speculation in the light of the present day global imbroglio. The truth is that the world we live in is now a world of Conflict—a conflict between nations and between civilizations. Samuel Huntington, the great statesman rightly calls it, “a clash of civilizations” rhetorically. We are living in a fast changing world which we call “civilizations”-a civilization with an advancement of learning science and technology. Man has become superman and the technology he uses is a super technology. Despite this fact, the man of this world seems to be grappling with widespread political and social tension.
“What is life” “But how long?”
“What is the future of our humanity?”
“Will we see the end of our humanity?”
“Will we see the end of what we call civilization?”
When God created the man, he must have created him to rule the whole earth with peace and prosperity, with love and justice and with good will and tolerance. But it seems peace is dying out. We are now living in a world of panicky each and every moment. Instead of peace, we can see here,
The Holocaust of war and terrorism,
The Holocaust of political and social unrest,
The Holocaust of drug abuse,
The Holocaust of diseases like Aids,
The Holocaust of child trafficking,
The Holocaust of religious fanaticism, etc.
These Holocausts are more dangerous and destructive than the Holocaust of natural calamity like tsunami—more deadly perhaps than the killer earthquake. They destroy peace, good will and fraternity among men and among nations.
2. THE VIRUS CALLED SIN :
Truly speaking , our world is surrounded by uncertainty, morally decayed society affected by a deadly virus called “SIN”. Crime and violence, drugs and sex, political and social turmoil seem to be the order of the day. The environment around us is not at all conducive to live a godly life which defies our moral integrity, peace and fraternity, good will and public relations. We can imagine the universality of sin and its terrible impact in human life through our experiences.
“ All the sorrow, all the bitterness, all the violence, tragedy, heartache, and shame of man’s history are summed up in that one little word “SIN”- it isn’t a popular word, it certainly isn’t a fashionable word any more but it’s terribly true one !” says Dr. Billy Graham.
These are all true in our human life. The way of saying is that it is because of sin that we suffer and experience these things in our day today life.
Why do we suffer?
Why do we suffer sickness?
Why do we not have perfect happiness despite our money or wealth?
Why violence is increasing day by day?
Why do people take the means of violence for peace?
Why are the human beings more prone to do evil rather than good?
Why does there seem to be want of love, peace, tolerance, sympathy, understanding in our society?
The Bible teaches us about the total depravity of man. The total depravity refers to the corruption or pollution of human nature, i.e., the pervasiveness of evil in man .
Gen 6:5 declares the state of man in these words-
“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Gen.8:21 also says-
“For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
This is true of all times. Why did Cain murder Abel?
The Bible answers,
“Because his own actions were evil.” IJn3:12
The same verse also says, He “belonged to the evil.”
Jude 12 speaks of “the way of Cain” which has become the way of the world today. In other words,”the way of the world is the way of Cain.”
When we look around the world what do we see?
Violence! Hatred! Enmity! Wars! Ruthless killing! Selfishness! Adultery! Wickedness!
These are obviously the outward expression of the inwardness of man’s state, i.e., SIN. Yes, Cain had murdered Abel because his heart was evil. The present state of man is obviously the result of one dreadful thing, i.e., SIN.
Jesus teaches us that sin originates in or inmost hearts. We first break the law of God I our inmost heart (Mt 16:18). When we commit a certain sin, it means that we
have become slave to Satan ,because , sin is Satanic. Satan is deceptive, enticing ,lying, tormenting and destructive a spirit (IPet 5:8).
It is because of this sin that we do not experience the real peace of God. It is because of this sin that we do not find peace in the world of man today.
But peace seems to be the most needed element in the present day world situation. It is the clarion call of every nation, every society, every family and every man and woman. How precisely true is this preoccupation with man since the beginning of mans creation- at all times, all places, for all people!
3. What is peace?
(1)The Webster Dictionary has given the concept of peace as-
“A state of tranquility of mind”
“Freedom from disgusting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
The Longman’s Dictionary puts it this way-
“Quiet and restful conditions with nothing to worry.”
“A state of freedom from disorder within a country.”
“Freedom from war.”
“Freedom from worry.”
From the above point of view we can redefine peace as-
“Freedom not only from external forces like, war, violence, injustices, sicknesses, all kinds of inhuman activities, etc, but also a freedom from fear, oppression of thoughts or hectic emotions, depressions, afflictions and any other such psychosis to save our body and mind and the society as well.”
(2) The Biblical Concept of Peace:
“Peace” is gift of God.
“The Lord…..give you peace.” Num 6:26
The root word for ‘peace’ in Hebrew is “Shalom”. The simple and general idea of the word is "well-being”. However the word is used to give a wider range of meaning. It implies the wholeness of well-being of health (body), mind (soul) and the spirit of an individual. It also speaks of the well-being of the whole land where he lives. The meaning goes deeper as we look at Judges 6:23 and 24. The angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon and spoke to him,
“Peace be to you, do not be afraid, you are not going to die.”v23
Gideon built an alter for the Lord and called the place “Yahweh Salem”- which means, “The Lord is Peace”. V24. This is a striking definition. Here ‘Peace’ is identified with the Lord Himself. Peace is seen here as WHOLENESS OF GOD. “Wholeness of God” means the WHOLENESS OF HIS BEING, the WHOLENESS OF HIS PRESENCE, the WHOLENESS OF HIS SALVATION or the WHOLENESS OF HIS GRACE.
‘Peace be to you’- for Gideon would mean the very presence of God to have fellowship with him for which he needed not to be afraid even of death.
It is God’s peace, i.e., God’s presence, that which enables us to maintain peace of mind even in the midst of death , trouble, persecution , fear, sickness, affliction, and any other such situation that may prevail. Peace is not a worldly thing that we can inherit it through worldly things like, money, wealth, or pleasure. Peace is spiritual as God is a Spirit. Peace originates from God.
4. God as the Peace-maker:
The word is “Shiloh” which means “Peace-Maker”, “the Rest Giver”, or “the Giver of Peace”. Gen. 49:10; Mic 5:5; Num. 6:26
God is indeed our Peace-Maker. God is designated as-
“God of Peace” in Heb 13 13:20; Ph 4:9
“God of Love and Peace,” IICor 13:11
He gives us the “Perfect peace”, Is 26:3
“Great peace” has they which love His law. Ps 119:165
Our God is a God who makes peace with people by sending His own Son to die on the cross and give us eternal life .Eph 2:15
5. Messiah as the Peace-Maker:
The word ‘Shiloh’ also refers to the promised Messiah, the Christ. He is called the “Prince of Peace” Is. 9:6
“He will be their peace” Mic. 5:5
He is called the “King of Salem,” which means, the “King of Peace.” Heb 7:2
6. Jesus Christ as the Peace-Maker:
In the N.T., Jesus Christ is regarded as our peace. ”He is our peace” Heb 2:14; see Rom 5:1. His birth on earth is full of peace and good will. “….on earth peace, good will toward men.” Lk 2:14. He is indeed our peace-maker. He gave away His own life to make peace with us. “So making peace…” Eph 2:15 also Col 1:20. The King of Salem mentioned in Heb.7:2 refers to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our real King of Peace. He is our Giver of Peace.
“Peace, I leave with you, my peace….I give unto you: not as the world giveth……Let not your heart be troubled. “ Jn 14:27. He is indeed our “Lord of Peace.” Paul says, “Now may the Lord of Peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” IIThess 3:16. Every time Jesus appeared to his disciples, He said to them,
“Peace be to you” Jn 20:19,21,26. Jesus might have meant to say that “Peace Himself has come to you. Therefore, you need not live in fear or anxiety.” This is exactly what God had said to Gideon.
The Legacy of Peace of Christ has been deposited in the heart of the believers. The inner tranquility of mind and heart rested in Christ will not be shaken by the tribulation in this evil world. Jn 16:33. The Peace engraved in our hearts is not temporal but a peace which is eternal. IIThess 3:16
It is Jesus only who can give you the real peace and rest to your soul .He is our Shiloh, the rest giver. He said,” Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt 11:28,29
7. The Holy Spirit as the Peace-Maker:
The Holy Spirit, i.e., the Spirit of Christ is also a Peace-Maker in this Church dispensation. He comforts our troubled hearts. The other name of the Holy Spirit is the Comforter. Jn 14:16, 26; 16:7. Peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gal 5:21. The Holy Spirit is the source of our real joy and happiness. He is described as the rivers of water flowing out of you and me. Jn 7:37, 38, 39; 4:15
8. The Children of God as the Peace-Maker:
The Children of God are also called to be the Peace-Maker. “Blessed are the peace-maker…”Mt 5:9. It is therefore, the children of God should work and pray for peace among all sections of the people in the country. Jer 29:7; Jn 3:18; ITim 2:2.
“Peace-Makers who show in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. Jas 3:18
As messengers of peace, the children of God are appointed to blow the trumpet of peace in these last days in all the world- peace among nations, peace among tribes, peace among various ethnic groups, peace in the family and peace also in the personal life. As peace-Maker they are appointed to reconcile man to God and also people to people in this existing world. It is a great responsibility entrusted to the children of God by Our Lord Jesus Christ to reach all the people groups around the world. On the mount Galilee after His resurrection and before He was ascended to heaven our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to His eleven disciples and commanded them,
“Go ye therefore, make disciples of all nations and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Holy Ghost…” Mt 16:15, 16.
This commandment is known as the Great Commission. This Great Commission refers to the need of evangelization among every sect or group of people in all the world irrespective of black and white, small and great, civilized or uncivilized. The emphasis is exceedingly great in reaching every individual. For the Bible says,
“….non should perish but have everlasting life.” Jn 3:16
Evangelization means preaching of the gospel of Christ. The gospel of Christ means the gospel of joy. It can bring joy to our sorrow stricken hearts. It means the gospel of love; the gospel of peace as Christ Himself is the Prince of peace (Is 9:6). It also means the gospel of salvation, the gospel of eternal life and the gospel of reconciliation. If these are the characteristics of the gospel of Christ, then it brings joy, peace and good will rather than the conflicts and frustrations; it brings love and reconciliation rather than divisions, intolerance and hatred among men. The children of God therefore, are not only the messengers of eternal life but they are also the messengers of peace, love, joy and tolerance to reconcile people to people. Jesus has called His children “the Light of the world”.
As shinning Light, it is the prime time that we give ourselves for the effusion of peace and love of Jesus to all people in the whole world.
The Lord we have believed is a Lord of peace.
The gospel we have received is a gospel of peace.
Freely, freely we have received,
Freely we give.