"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Some versions read, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!” and others, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased!" So what does this really mean? Is this as simple as it might sound? To put it in context, it is part of what the shepherds heard from the angels rejoicing and sharing the news of Jesus’ birth.
Later in the life of Jesus, when ministering, He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). He said this when He was explaining how relationships would become divided, when one would choose to follow Him, and additionally that if anyone loved anyone or anything more than Him, that they were not worthy of following Him. So what did the angels mean on the holy night of the birth of Christ our Lord?
Has there been peace on earth since His glorious birth? Yes, but not the kind of peace as in a lack of wars or peace among groups that did not get along. The angels were praising God and rejoicing about the birth of Jesus and sharing the news and joy with mankind. God was making a way for us. Through the coming of Jesus Christ and God’s plan, God can have peace and union with man, and man can have peace and union with God. This is the incredible peace given to us to rejoice about. This is why the angels were gloriously thrilled. Luke 2:14 really means, Glory to God in the highest and peace to those on earth to whom He is showing His kindness, favor, and purpose (for redemption). This comes from the original word, eudokias. Close to four thousand years ago, God chose the Hebrews to be His people, and through them, He showed the way to Him to the world. Through Moses He gave us the Law. And now in the fulfillment of time, God was sending us Grace in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son.
On a night full of stress and hard circumstances, Jesus was born and as one of us. It has been said that the swaddling clothes and the manger were all instruments of the stable, but not just any stable. This stable was near the fields where the sheep used in temple ministry were kept. Jesus came to us as a lamb and when He died, He died as a lamb. It was prophesied of in Isaiah 53:7,
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”
Emanuel means God with us. What a glorious day when God sent His only son, to become one of us and live amongst us, even with the hard purpose of taking our sins for our salvation, and so that we could become the children of God.
And for those who choose Him, Jesus not only brings the opportunity for peace between man and God, but a peace beyond understanding,
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” - John 14:27
May you have peace with your Creator and Savior today, and know the peace that is only found in Jesus Christ, today and always,
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.