Just as there are two sides to every coin, there are two sides to every story – especially, the Christmas Story! The angels sang in the heavens above: “Peace on earth, good will to men.”(Luke 2:14). Yet out of the mouth of the ‘Prince of Peace’ Himself years later were the words: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth…” (Matthew 10:34).
In all honesty, every human being deep down can agree with the Lord’s words: “I did not come to bring peace but a sword. “For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.’ And a man’s foes will be those of his own household.”(Matthew 10: 34-36).
Many a parent understands these words, and many a daughter, and many a son who has made room in their lives and their heart for Him. When one finally can see that He is who He says He is, and makes the choice to ‘follow after Him’ – oh yes, they know all about the sword.
And we can all agree that even our ‘flesh’ cries out and screams when the choice is made to be ‘lead in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake’. It’s hard to ‘die to self’! There’s a lot of screaming that goes on inside when we finally decide to control our tongue, or control our appetites, to make the choice to be merciful, to choose to give someone ‘grace’ even though they don’t deserve it! Don’t we all understand the ‘sword’ that Jesus is talking about? “I did not come to bring peace but a sword…”
Crazy – but this is consistent even with the Christmas Story! Yes, the angels sang their song of peace, but King Herod was ‘exceedingly wroth’ (KJV) about a new King of the Jews, and the death of Him was his plan! The Prince of peace was born and now comes a sword: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according tot he time which he had determined from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16, NKJV).
There was much weeping: “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.” (Jer. 31:15).
And for this reason, the lack of peace, many don’t believe in the Prince of Peace. Christmas comes, and Christmas goes, but for many…life brings a sword. What can be said of all of this?
The Prince of Peace has spoken. He brings words of comfort. You’ve got to look at both sides of the coin! You’ve got to see both sides of the story! Jesus Himself has told us: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
We suffer the sword, we suffer trouble- yes, even after receiving the Prince of Peace in our hearts and in our lives – But there is a big difference ‘in Him!’ He doesn’t leave us ‘orphans’, He doesn’t leave us at all! In fact He draws ever near as we draw near to Him. We don’t have a monologue with God, no, He speaks plain and simple, (OK, not always easy to take, but plain and simple nonetheless,) in a dialogue: “Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…” (John 15:20). But weep no more…
“Why shouldn’t I weep? This is not good news like I thought? What else do we do with a theme like: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children…”etc, etc? That’s why I don’t read the Bible. There is no peace on earth!” These might be your very thoughts – BUT THUS SAITH THE LORD! Hear this, don’t grow weary, don’t rely on your own understanding, hear the word of the LORD:
“Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, And they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the LORD, That your children shall come back to their own border.” (Jer. 31:16,17).
Thus saith the LORD: “Stop your crying! Don’t let the tears fall anymore. Yes, I say with My own voice, “Your work will be rewarded.” Can you hear Me speak words of peace to you? Be of good cheer, I have overcome.” (The words of God in my paraphrase).“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Thus saith the Lord, Jesus, no paraphrase, clear and simple, John 14:1.
The other side of the coin, the other side of the story, bears repeating: “Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD…”(Jer. 31:16). “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me!” (John 14:1), exclamation point, mine!) With each new day, may we make the choice to ‘believe also in Him!’
Do I hear an “AMEN?”