Last Sunday, September 24, 2017, an armed man walked up to and into a house of worship in Antioch, Tennessee and opened fire. One person died in the parking lot and multiple others were wounded. One week later a gunman opened fire on a audience gathered for a country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The reports coming out this morning about this latest shooting are that 50 lives were lost. My heart breaks.
My heart breaks
I turn to scripture and I read about Jesus and peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79)
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14) (or peace and good will toward men)
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He came to this world to bring us to peace. That was what the prophets and the forerunner (John) told us. The angels sang of peace toward men. Jesus promised a peace like the world cannot give. Where is that peace?
Maybe that last passage gives us a hint – not as the world gives. Maybe, just maybe, the world CANNOT give us peace.
Just a couple of chapters later John records Jesus saying these words, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
In the world you will have tribulation . . .
Because of that Paul encourages Christians, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18) We must work toward peace, but there is only so much we can do.
What can we do?
- Remember this world is not our home. Our citizenship, our forever home is in heaven. (Philippians 3:4-21).
- Remember to bring peace to the world by sharing the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 2:14). The world cannot know peace if it does not truly know Jesus.
- Remember to pray (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Pray that our laws and our societies will do their best to provide us a peaceful and quiet life.