I woke up one Saturday afternoon after a refreshing hour-long nap. As I prepared to go shoot hoops with my friends at the local YMCA, I decided to turn on the T.V. and catch the headlines of the 5.00pm news. “Our top story…,” the reporter started, “…there are reports out of Iraq that the war is completely over and all insurgents are laying down their weapons.” While I was still trying to contain this new development, the reporter continued, “In other news, the war between Chechnya and Russia is over and the battle between Sudanese rebels and their government has come to a complete halt.” Stunned, I quickly flipped the station to confirm these recent developments and on the next station and what I saw was even more shocking. There was a huge crowd in the streets of New York City of people of all different races and nations celebrating something. Suddenly, I heard a blaring noise from the radio and it was my alarm clocking going off.
As a child growing up in a city known for its violence, I am sure there were times I wondered or should have at least wondered what the world will be like with total peace and harmony. No murders, violence, hate crimes, divorces, cheating, stealing, judgments or sin. Sounds like a utopia, a perfect world. But is asking for world peace really too much to ask for? After all, the bible does promise us world peace. While announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds in Luke 2, a multitude (or as we put it, a bunch) of angels praised God saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill towards mankind.” That declaration of peace must have stunned those shepherds. They had grown up in a time that saw a lot of kingdoms including their fall violently to the Romans. A state of peace and goodwill towards mankind would have meant the end of all bloodshed.
In the world today, there are several groups of people and organizations who have devoted themselves to the promotion of World Peace. November 17 has even been declared, World Peace Day. Type the phrase “World Peace” in Google and you get back over 18 million web pages that have some reference to the concept. Presidents and world leaders have sworn to promote peace around the world using their influence and authority and yet with all these emphasis on supporting this concept, to a majority of people, situations continue to get worse and worse. Turn on the nightly news and it doesn’t take long to figure out that we as humans have failed to reach that goal.
Believe it or not, there was a time in history where there was genuine world peace. There was peace in the world when Adam and Eve were created and served God with all their mind, soul and strength. Peace existed in the world before selfishness and the quest to be like God led to their disobedience. From then on, the world has been anything but peaceful. Paul in writing to the church in Rome tells them that it was by Adam’s disobedience that we were all made sinners. So what about that promise those “Bethlehem” angels made on behalf of God? That promise still stands. In that same letter to the Romans, Paul also reminded them that by Jesus obeying God to die for our sins we are made righteous.
Peace comes only through righteousness and righteousness only through Christ and thus Peace only through Christ. Just before the promise of peace to all mankind by those “Bethlehem” angels, there was a condition. That’s right, the fine print. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David is a savior who is Christ the Lord.” Until Christ becomes Lord and savior in every life, the quest of any organization or individual to attain world peace will remain futile. The bottom line is that Christ is the solution for peace and any other prescription for world peace is really nothing but a world tease.