Peace on Earth
by Robert Morris
“Congratulations, Robert. It’s a healthy boy. You’re a father.”
The doctor charged with delivering our first son was looking at me with a big smile on his face and holding a greasy, wriggling, crying, little thing still attached to my wife by an umbilical cord.
In a moment already overflowing with joy, wonder, relief, and exhaustion, the implications of one word entered my ears, broke through my cluttered mind, and triggered an earthquake in my heart.
That moment drew an invisible line through the timeline of my life. On one side of that line I had been many things—a son, a friend, a student (a poor one!), a sinner, and a husband. On the other side, I was a father, and nothing would ever change that. From that moment forward, even if I lived to be 120, I would never, ever not be a dad.
What a difference a word can make. Two little syllables can change your life and set you on a whole new path. One solitary word can transform not only how you see yourself but how you see everything else.
How much more significant is it when that word comes from God Himself? God spoke and the whole universe came into existence. But our wonderful heavenly Father doesn’t ordinarily speak in an audible voice. Throughout most of redemptive history, He has spoken through people.
When God speaks through an individual, and He frequently does, we call that a prophecy or a prophetic word. The Bible is filled with them. Throughout the Scriptures God delivered a word to announce His will, His plans, or His heart. And because He is good, His will, plans, and heart are always good. Always redemptive.
So, it shouldn’t surprise us to discover that God spoke prophetically through people when it came to bringing about the most important event of all in His grand plan to redeem a big world filled with fallen and broken people. That event was the birth of His only begotten Son, Jesus.
Having finally glimpsed Israel’s Messiah, a joyful Simeon announced that he could “depart in peace.” Peace is a word that permeates the Christmas story.
When Zacharias, filled with the Holy Spirit, began to prophesy on the day of his miracle son’s circumcision, he closed his long prophetic message by declaring that the Messiah was coming “To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). The angelic announcement to the shepherds included the prophetic blessing, “peace on earth.” In Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah who would be born of a virgin, we learn that one of His names will be Prince of Peace (see Isaiah 9:6).
That’s the amazing thing about these seven words of Christmas, they all interconnect and overlap. Several of the prophecies talked about redemption. Simeon’s prophecy mentioned salvation. Several mention blessing or being blessed. Most of them produce joy in the speaker or the hearers. Taken together, these seven words are the true heart of the Christmas story because they represent the heart of God for you and me.
Something else strikes me when I step back and look at these stories as a whole. Those involved in giving and receiving these words are a remarkably diverse group. The fact that Anna was at least 105 and Simeon was 112 tells me that no one is ever too old to be used by God. And that Mary was but a teenage girl from a small country town reveals that you’re never too young or uncredentialed to be God’s instrument to change the world.
Some of these words were given by angels but some came through ordinary people just like you and me. Some came to individuals like Mary and Joseph, but others came to groups like the shepherds. Of those six individuals, three were men (Zacharias, Joseph, and Simeon) and three were women (Anna, Mary, and Elizabeth).
What does this tell us? That God is no respecter of persons! There is no discrimination under the rule of King Jesus. No elite level for certain groups only. In fact, the Word says that in Christ, there is no such thing as male or female, Jew or Gentile. Rich and poor; city and country; those with multiple academic degrees and those who have only graduated from the school of hard knocks—all can receive words from God. All can deliver words from God, too. The ground truly is level at the foot of the cross.
All this is possible only because Jesus came. He came to set right everything in the world that got twisted and broken in the Fall. He came to reconcile us to God. He came to calm the raging storms of fear and shame in our souls. He came to bring us peace. So…
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:15, NLT)
Robert Morris is the founding lead senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 71,000 active attendees. His television program is aired in over 190 countries, and his radio program, Worship & the Word with Pastor Robert, airs in more than 1,800 radio markets across America. He serves as chancellor of The King’s University and is the bestselling author of numerous books, including The Blessed Life, Frequency, Beyond Blessed, and Take the Day Off.
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