Text: The Psalms of Ascent | Listen to Message
Longing for Peace in The Midst of Conflict
The desire for peace is one of the most universal longings of the human heart. Most of us want goodwill instead of violence, tranquility rather than turmoil. But the peace and quiet we seek can prove to be quite elusive in the real world, which is filled with conflict on a global, local, and personal scale. Furthermore, even if we could escape the agitations that press in from the outside, we would still find ourselves agitated from within.
When it comes to peace, there is significant dissonance between what we expect and what we experience.
So how does the advent of Jesus – the Prince of Peace – speak to this?
First, it’s important to note that Jesus did not impose peace from the outside in. He didn’t force peace by destroying evil, violent people. He didn’t raise an army and crush Israel’s enemies – as many Jews expected the Messiah to do.
What Jesus did do is offer inside-out peace that comes from knowing your sins have been forgiven. And, incredibly, he offered that peace through the blood of his cross – through the most unjust act of violence the world has ever known. On that horrible day, he voluntarily made himself the object of God’s wrath and the world’s hatred, so that by his grace we could escape both, forever.
Finally, Jesus promised to come again to put an end to all conflict and to establish his peace forever. In that day, evil and violence will be no more and nothing will jeopardize the peace of those who love Christ.
As those who live in “the in-between time” – between the First and Second Advents – we must learn to look backward in faith and forward in hope. We have peace with God now through our Lord Jesus Christ. And one day we will rest in his perfect shalom forever.