The way of peace that began with the Christmas story
“The way of peace that began with the Christmas story”
When December rolls around each year, the most wonderful time of the year is especially exciting for us Christians. We know that this is a short, but blessed time when everyone has to notice the celebration of the Christ child coming to the earth as a baby, Jesus of Nazareth.
Each year Christians pray that the Lord of the harvest would be able to enlighten many peoples’ understanding during this season, and help them decide to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord. At the same time, we are painfully aware that most will blare through the holiday, oblivious to the great salvation that is available to each person through one simple prayer.
Each year I return to the book of Luke that has such an amazing description of the birth of our Savior, and I read it again to see what subtle nuance of the Christmas story I may gain. Of course we remember the primary story of the Angel Gabriel first coming to Zacharias, the future father of John the Baptist and then to Mary, the future mother of Jesus.
In the encounter with Zacharias it is interesting to note that Zacharias doubted the words of Gabriel that God had answered his prayer and that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son. Also that their son would be a great prophet who would prepare the way of the Lord. Gabriel told Zacharias that he would be mute and unable to speak until the child was born because he doubted his word. A person of faith would understand that this was a faith proposition from God, and no words of doubt and unbelief would be allowed to mess things up.
Then when Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus, she simply asked how it would be done, since she had not yet consummated her marriage to Joseph. According to the customs that would not be done until after their wedding feast. No one had ever heard of someone having a child without an earthly father before. Zacharias and Elizabeth were going to conceive in the normal way after the Lord healed Elizabeth. It is understandable that Mary was simply curious as to how this would happen, but she was not doubting that the word of the angel was indeed the Word of God.
Gabriel’s answer in Luke 1:35 is the absolute core of the whole Gospel. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” Here Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come on her, and that the power of the Highest, God the Father, would overshadow her, manifesting human flesh created by God. This is exactly the same way that He created the first man, Adam. Now this incorruptible seed in Mary would mature and be born, and become known as the Son of God.
Up until this time, the triune God, one God manifest as three persons, was know as the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit. From this point on, God would be known as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Gabriel finished his words to Mary by saying, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” The word nothing in this passage is a variation of the root word “rhema” which is the Greek word for “spoken word”, but here it is in the negative meaning “no word.” Gabriel was saying, “No Word that God speaks will be impossible.” Mary’s response was, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” Hearing Mary’s answer of faith, Gabriel departed, knowing that the message had been delivered and received by faith.
We can only assume that right then and there, that which the Angel Gabriel described and what Mary agreed to in faith, took place. The Holy Spirit came upon her, the power of the Father overshadowed her, and Jesus the Son of the Living God was conceived in her womb.
As the marvelous Christmas story progresses, we find a wonderful thing happened after John the Baptist is born. Zacharias was healed of his inability to speak in order to name his son. Then suddenly he began to prophecy to the new born infant about his role in preparing the way of the Lord. In Luke 1:76 he said, “And you, child will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways.” Then in verses 78 and 79, he describes this Holy One, the Lord as, “This Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
This part of the story was that nuance that I was looking for. Notice that the Lord Jesus would not guide our feet to the way of peace, but “guide our feet unto the way of peace.” You see, peace is not a destination that we are striving to reach at some illusive time in the future. Peace is the way wherein we walk all the days of our lives as the children of God.
We did not just gain peace with God when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God was never at war with us; we simply thought before we knew Him that He was angry with us. We assumed and feared that judgment was certainly headed our way. No, God loved us even when we made ourselves His enemy. The peace that we gained was not peace with God; it literally was the peace of God. God downloaded into us His peace, His love, His acceptance, His absolute delight with us as His children when we were born again.
This is the way of peace that Jesus came to deliver to us. He had to destroy the works of the devil that kept us blinded from the love that God the Father had for us. That is what the Apostle John told us in 1 John 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
I like asking Christians if they believe that Jesus was successful in accomplishing His purposes in coming to earth. Did He really destroy the works of the devil? Remember that John also described Him in John 1:14 saying, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Yes, Jesus fully destroyed the works of the devil for everyone who will believe. But His great victory is of no effect for those who refuse to believe. Faith in Jesus is a choice.
If you have never prayed the “Believers” prayer before, I invite you do so today, and gain the peace that passes all understanding that is available with the new birth in Christ. Simply say this to our Father in Heaven: “Heavenly Father, I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus Christ from the dead after He purchased the redemption of every human soul through His sacrifice; it was that miraculous exchange of His righteousness for our unrighteousness; and I now confess Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Jesus, come into my heart and be my Redeemer and my Master, so that I can live for You all of my earthly life, and with You all of my eternal life in Heaven. Amen.”
Welcome to the family of God!
Dr. Doug Wingate, President and Founder of Life Christian University
410 E. Chapman Rd. Lutz, FL 33549, P.O. Box 272360 Tampa, FL 33688