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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ

Don Stewart :: Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace on Earth?

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Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace on Earth?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 5

The Gospel according to Luke records that when the angel announced the birth of the baby Jesus, the host of heaven appeared with him and praised God in these familiar words:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

Jesus is also called the “Prince of Peace.” The prophet Isaiah wrote about the child that would be born would be given the title the “Prince of Peace”:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)

The question then arises: Did Jesus come to earth to bring peace? If so, then He failed in His mission because the world has not known peace since His coming. However there are a number of things that need to be said.

1. There Is a Different Reading of the Text

First, it should be noted that the text in Luke reads a little differently in modern versions. The New Living Translation puts it this way,

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors. (Luke 2:14 NLT)

The peace promised is not to every person but rather those whom God favors. Jesus did not come to bring peace to everyone.

Why is there the difference between the reading in the King James Version and the reading in almost every other version? The difference is due to a variation in the Greek text. The King James translators accepted as original a reading that had Christ bringing peace to all humanity. However, based on other Greek manuscripts, most modern translations follow the reading that says Christ came to bring peace upon people in whom God was well-pleased. This is why we find the difference in these translations.

2. He Came to Bring Peace to Believers Only

Jesus has promised peace to believers. He made this clear to His disciples on the night of His betrayal. He said,

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. (John 14:27 HCSB)

The peace of Jesus is not the same as we find in this world system. It is a supernatural peace.

The Apostle Paul wrote of God’s peace:

If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NLT)

God’s peace only comes to God’s people.

3. There Will Not Be Peace for Everyone

The idea of Jesus coming to earth for the purpose of bringing a lasting peace is contrary to His words. Although one of the designations of Jesus is the “Prince of Peace,” His first coming was not for the purpose of bringing peace on earth.

In fact, He was never called by this title during His earthly ministry. Indeed, Jesus made it clear that He did not come to bring peace to the earth. He said,

Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. (Matthew 10:34-36 HCSB)

Jesus specifically said that He came to divide; not to unite.

According to His own words, Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. John records the following dialogue between Jesus and Pontius Pilate:

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37 NKJV)

Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world system. His kingdom will be brought in supernaturally when he returns to the earth.

4. People Must Make a Choice regarding Jesus

The nature of Jesus’ message called for people to make a choice. Rather than uniting humanity, it divided friends and families. It still has that effect today. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are separated from those who do not believe. Thus, His mission was not that of bringing peace but rather bringing the truth of God. This message always divides.

5. There Will Be Universal Peace Someday

One day He will return and establish an everlasting kingdom where peace will be the rule rather than the exception. The prophet Isaiah wrote of the coming day:

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7 NIV)

At some time in the future, Jesus will rule on David’s throne. Until that time the message of Jesus divides those who love God’s truth from those who do not. Therefore, we can rightly conclude that Jesus’ certainly did not come to bring peace to everyone in our world.

Summary – Question 5
Did Jesus Come to Bring Peace on Earth?

When Jesus Christ came to earth the angels announced that there would be peace. Jesus is called the, “Prince of Peace” yet there has been no peace for the world since He came. There are several reasons for this. The can be summed up in this manner.

First, there is a question as to what the angels actually said at the announcement of the birth of Jesus. The reading of the text in the King James translation is not accepted by most modern scholars. Instead of Jesus coming to bring, “Peace, good will toward men” most Bible scholars believe the text should read, “Peace among men, or people, in whom He is well-pleased.”

Thus, the peace which the angels promised was to those who have trusted Him — it is not to everyone. Believers alone can enjoy the peace of God.

Second, Jesus Himself testified that His coming had the result of dividing people not uniting them.

Indeed, the message of Jesus is a message which divides. As the One who brought the truth, His words will divide family. It always has, it always will.

In addition, we find that Jesus told Pontius Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world system. Although He will rule over a “kingdom of peace” it will be supernaturally brought in when He returns.

One day there will indeed be peace on the earth. However, Jesus did not come into our world to bring that peace to everyone at His first coming.

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Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

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Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.