Peace? On earth?
As shepherds huddle around the crackling light of the evening campfire, they keep watch over their resting flock. The fire’s embers cast a glow on the men’s worn faces, while their backs are hidden by the veil of night.
Suddenly, the black velvet night sky glistens with a brilliant light surrounding the men as an angel of the Lord appears before them. And they were, well, they were terrified.
But the angel says, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10 NKJV)
A special declaration, a never-before-seen-or-heard event. The angel brought good tidings, which in Greek means to announce good news, especially the gospel. The Greek word is euggelizo.
And what is it equal to in English? Evangelize! According to Johnson’s and Walker’s Dictionaries (1830), evangelize means to instruct in the Gospel or the law of Jesus.
This angel was the very first evangelist! Bringing a message designed to cheer those who received it. Great joy! Megas chara! Intense joy, gladness, delight, and cheerfulness.
After the angel’s proclamation, the veil of darkness ripped open to display the brilliance of an angelic host, a multitude of celestial choralists, heaven’s vast army of messengers, singing praises in unison and harmony to God…
“Glory to God in the highest. On earth, peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV)
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that peace is “either among men pleasure produced by salvation, or God’s pleasure in men…men in whom God is well pleased, (i. e. not a particular class of men (viz. believers), but the whole race, contemplated as blessed in Christ’s birth).”
The angel said “on earth.” On means a relation of distribution, as over, upon, at, etc.
“Goodwill toward men.” Goodwill is defined as delight, pleasure, satisfaction, that which pleases. It comes from two other words: good and to think, by implication, to seem. Sometimes, it is translated as good pleasure. Toward means as a relation of rest, as in, on, at, with, by, or among.
A few Bible versions give us a peek inside the last portion of verse 14…
* “…on earth peace, good pleasure in men.” Darby
* “…on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” ESV
* “…on earth let there be peace to the people who please God.” ICB
* “…on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.” Amp
It seems it’s not peace on earth between nations, but peace on earth as it resides within the hearts of those who welcome the Prince of Peace. Therefore, there is peace between man and God.
What did Jesus say? “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34 NKJV) And “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
Those reconciled with God through Jesus will have peace with God, because the Prince of Peace resides in their hearts.
Oh, that my heart would grow three sizes to give the Lord more room to extend His peace!
Peace? On earth? Yes, in me and through me. In you and through you. In and through all hearts offered as mangers for the Babe of Peace.
The most blessed of Christmases to you…Lynn