(contd from previous issue)
Eventually, the NT shows the fulfilment of the messianic hope of peace in Jesus Christ (Luke 1.79; 2.14,29). Jesus himself demonstrated the way of peace in his life time.
The OT principle of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” was challenged by him and said, “But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to the other also” (Matt. 5.38). He forbade his disciples the use of sword even at the moment of his impending death at the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26.52ff.). He was prepared to face a violent death himself rather than inflict violence on others. He taught about love saying, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” which was also against the OT principle, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy” (Matt. 5.43). His first word from the cross was of forgiveness for his enemies (Luke 23.34). He also taught his disciples to be at peace with one another (Mark 9.50b). He left peace with his disciples saying, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14.27). The peace that Jesus talked about is a peace that transcends all human understanding not as the world gives.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, may everyone of us remind ourselves the situation of our state where we live in the midst of deteriorating human condition of growing violence and destruction in the forms of terrorism, brutal oppression and killing, violation of human rights, hatred, communal fighting, robbery, corruption, hunger, agitations, kidnappings for ransom, human trafficking, and even self destroying drug addiction and HIV/AIDS. And ask ourselves whether we still can have a hope for peace in our troubled torn state?
Yes! Peace is the essence and centre of Christian life. For “Christ is our Peace, in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death the hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near…” (Eph. 2.14-17). This peace will not be given to us on a silver or golden platters. We have to work for it. We cannot be simply a peace lovers but have to be peacemakers. The peace of Christ must first rule in the hearts of those who seek peace and pursue it (Col.3.15ff.). Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Matt. 5.9).
Yes, dear friends! May the messianic vision of peace in Christ, the stump of Jesse, when “… the wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the young lion and the falling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie together, and lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp…” (Isaiah 11. 6ff.), be now realized in our midst. Amen!