I recently received a call to fulfil a preaching appointment. The theme that I was given to address was, “Peace on earth”. As I thought about the theme, I questioned the idea of peace on earth. Starting with my country Jamaica, I thought about the avalanche of crime and violence that has taken over the landscape in Jamaica. As a preacher of the gospel, a Christian, I listen to the news numb; wondering what to do?
So, my mind came back to the proposition of the theme, “peace on earth”. By extension, it could be saying “peace in Jamaica”; “peace in the USA”; “peace in the Caribbean”. For a while I questioned my ability to address this theme considering my experience of bewilderment when attempting to discover a workable solution to the crime problem we are facing in Jamaica.
As I thought about the theme, I remembered the context that originated the thought—it was the announcement and subsequent singing by the angels who brought the good news of the birth of a Saviour on the Judean hillsides. The angel sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). So, the idea of “peace on earth” is presented as a promise of what the Messiah brings to the world.
I thought about the work of the Messiah, not only in His ministry on earth, but in my own life, and I concluded that amidst the crime and violence in our society, there is peace on earth. If “peace on earth” represents the effects of the Saviour’s work. If “peace on earth” gives evidence of His mission, then, I can say that there is peace in my family.
My wife and I are believers in the Messiah, and we teach our children to reverence Him. We do have conflicts and challenges, but we are able to resolve these conflicts and maintain “peace” in our home. I also thought about the many homes across Jamaica like mine—where people live together in unity and resolve their conflicts in an amicable way, and I confirm the fact that there is “peace on earth”.
There is “peace on earth”, because wherever the gospel of Jesus Christ is given free reign there is peace; there is unity and there is love. Peace on earth is not only evidence of the power of the gospel, but also evidence of the defeat of Satan. Therefore, Satan’s purpose is to work through those who surrender to his control to erase the evidence of his defeat by the multiplicity of crimes and violence.
But Satan will not prevail, because once this world exists, God will not be without a witness. There will be families; there will be people who experience peace with God and peace with their fellowmen. In the days of Noah, it was only one family, but Noah’s family was evidence that there is really no excuse for not having peace on earth.
At this time of year, when the world usually reflects on the birth of the Messiah, I want to remind my fellow Jamaicans that there is “peace on earth”. There is a different way to deal with conflicts than simply using the knife or the gun. As the song writer says, “When there’s no peace on earth there is peace in Christ" (McKenna Hixson, “Peace in Christ”, https://genius.com/Mckenna-hixson-peace-in-christ-lyrics. Accessed December 21, 2021).