Give Peace A Chance

Bible Book: Luke  2
Subject: Peace; Christmas; Prince of Peace

Give Peace A Chance

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor

Luke 2

John Lennon, a member of the famous band The Beatles, wrote and recorded a song entitled Give Peace A Chance in 1969. This was in the midst of the American war effort in Vietnam and became a popular anti-war song. The full departure of the Americans from Vietnam didn’t actually take place till 1975.

The song title from Lennon reminds me of the greatest need humans have. No, it is not simply peace from war but true peace of heart and mind. God offers that through His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, on the night that Jesus was born the angels sang, “Peace on earth.” Indeed, true peace had come in the person of our Lord. Many people today need to discover this peace, a peace found only Christ alone. And some of us who know Him as Lord and Savior need to rediscover the peace that is deposited in our eternal account through our relationship with Christ.

Think about one of the most difficult quesions on earth. In other words, what is the most difficult question for Christians to answer? It is this: If God is loving and good, why is their so much evil, pain and suffering on earth? The greatest question in the world today regarding the existence and nature of God is the presence and reality of suffering. We are in a world of great sorrow, war, hatred, murder, thievery, brutality and chaos. Many ask how these things can exist in a world created by a good and loving God. I believe the scripture I read to you and what it reveals can help us sort this out.

We first must understand love. John tells us in his writings that God is love (John 3:16). He doesn’t say love is god, but that God is love. Love, by its very nature must have a target – some thing or person to love. In other words, love doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A loving God created human beings upon whom He bestowed His love. Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect garden, called the Garden of Eden. There God had fellowship with them and gave them everything they needed. Yet, love itself cannot considered true love if it is received only by force. The only way love can be authentic is if it is accepted willingly by the one loved. We all know this is true. One person loves chocolate cake and another loves coconut cake. Some of us love ALL cake. But love by its nature must present choices. The old joke states that one day Eve was in the Garden of Eden with Adam, and she asked him, “Adam, do you love only me?” Adam looked around for a moment and answered, “Who else?” Well, there was on one else. True love must be tested against another choice - right? Exactly, and it can't be love unless it is tested.

God placed many trees in the Garden of Eden and asked Adam and Eve, out of love for Him and all He had done for them, to abstain from eating of one of those trees. It was a way for those who had received His love to return it, but Adam and Eve rejected God’s love and ate of the forbidden tree. Thus, the bond of love was broken and death, including all the attending sorrows, came upon the earth. This may sound simplistic, but it is true - the sorrows of this earth are a result of mans’ heart. Our love for God is tested and we fail to love Him above all else.

But God’s love was so great that He had determined to provide way to redeem Adam and Eve, and us, from the awful curse we brought on ourselves, and He intended to do this without violating His own holiness

 Now we must understand that God can’t have sin in His presence. Sin has to be punished. You can understand that, I’m sure. If someone tortured and killed your spouse or child, you would not nod your head and say, “Oh, it’s okay, let the person go. I am a loving person and don’t want to see the killer punished.” You would not do that, and you know it. Yet God had a plan and that plan involved sending His own Son to die for our us and thus to redeem us.

The Christmas story is a beautiful love story of God’s love for you and for me. The manger is not a child’s story – it is the story of God seeking to redeem us from a hateful, hurting, and horrible world of our own making.

Look with me at Matthew 2:1-2; 8-11; 16 ...

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him,bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (And look also at verse 16) 16 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 to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”

In our scripture today we see the true nature of sinful creatures. When the Wise Men came to Herod and told him that they sought the King promised in prophecy, Herod had one thought and only one thought. He said to himself, “I must get rid of this child!” You want to see man’s nature without God, look at what Herod did. He sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill all the male children two years of age and younger. That is the world without God. - or better said, that is a world that tries to remove the irremovable God of eternity. That is the world that sees someone walk into a school and shoot dozens of teachers and students. That is the world where a national leader has a reporter who writes negative things about him cut up and tortured to death with a bone saw.

Now, there are some people who say that religion, Christianity in particular, has caused more war and death than any other thing on earth. That is, without question, the most reckless and ignorant statement I’ve ever heard. Let me give you an example of foolish that is.

The greatest cause of suffering on this earth has come from people who denied the existence of God or misused the nature of the true God. Think about it for a moment. Moa Zedong, the dictator and Communist leader of China, inaugurated what he called The Great Leap Forward in 1957. Those who have studied in great detail what Mao did in China from 1957 till his program ended, state that he killed through military force, starvation and prisons more than 35 million people. Let me say that again. Mao, one atheistic, Communist leader, killed 35 to 40 million people to enforce his brand of political life on the people of China. He did it in the name of atheism.

Hitler rose to power in Germany in the late 1920s and remained there till his death by suicide in 1945. During that time, the dictator of Germany purposely murdered more than 6 million Jews. If you include all the people who died because of the World Wide War he began, the total deaths reach 73 million. Yes, I said that correctly – 73 millions deaths. Even if you remove many of those deaths due to war casualties in all nations because of the war he began, he is still directly responsible for more than 45 million deaths. Hitler was a pagan, atheist who thought the Aryan blood was the god of this world and set out to prove it. He took over churches in Germany, taking down crosses and putting Swastikas in their place.

Stalin is another godless, atheist leader who killed millions. After the fall of Communist Russia, the documents revealed terrible numbers of deaths due to Stalin’s Communist rule. Those who study such events tell us that the number of deaths directly attributable to Stalin number around 20 million or more.

Now, I ask you, when did any religion on earth kill millions of people? From 1912 to 1980 we know that atheist leaders led to the death of more than 100 million people – and some place the estimate at 150 million people. This does not take into account the horrible suffering of millions more who lives were ruined, even though they managed to live through the godless rampage brought on by these evil leaders.

Christian people are not perfect by any means, but they don’t go around taking over nations and killing millions of people. The fact is that the only hope this world has is Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace. God sent His Son to live a perfect life in this evil, hateful and murderous world, and you see what the world did with Him when He was here!

So, let me take just five minutes and tell you the problem of the world and the suffering in it. Mankind has three problems that existed in the Garden of Eden and only Jesus can change what happened there.

I. The Human Desire For Power

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be gods. The desire for freedom from God warped their hearts and minds. The whispered voice said, “You can be god,” and they believed it.

The desire of power is part of the rebellious heart of mankind. We don’t want to be subject to anyone or anything. We are born in sin, passed down to us from Adam, and we decide to sin when we reach the age of accountability. We are twice-fold sinners.

The illustrations I gave you earlier of Mao Zedong, Hitler and Stalin, all involve men who were power-mad and power-hungry. Listen to me, I don’t trust any government. The best government on earth is democracy, but I don’t even trust it, much less so socialist, communist, government-controlled society. The corrupt heart of mankind will always lead to the abuse of people. I trust God and God alone. I love people but I trust Jesus!

So, first sorrow and suffering come from the desire for power. But, notice also the problem of …

II. The Human Desire For Possessions

In the Garden of Eden Eve saw that the fruit of the  forbidden tree was good and beautiful, so she took it. Our desire for things that please us has a powerful control over our emotions and judgment. One comedian used to say, “You can’t have everything; after all, where would you put it.” Funny? Yes. But the desire for ownership dominates society. It really isn’t sinful to want some things. God told Adam to take dominion of the earth and subdue it. But, when the desire for things becomes greater than the Creator and Owner of all things, we are in trouble.

I read this week about a prisoner who was released from prison, walked out into the prison parking lot, carjacked a woman and stole her car. He was re-arrested within two hours and was back in prison. How dumb is that! He committed a crime before he got away from the prison parking lot. That is a picture of man’s heart desiring what God doesn’t mean for him to possess.

Now, look at one more problem for mankind…

III. The Human Desire For Pleasure

Eve saw that the fruit was certainly going to be tasty. Which cake do you like best, chocolate cake or coconut cake? Some of you will answer, “Any cake is better than no cake at all.” One of the most profitable businesses on earth today is the diet business. From cool sculpting to exercise equipment to pre-packaged meals, we all deal with the cake problem – especially during these holidays when so much delicious food is placed before us continually.

The sensual pleasures of this world makes us selfish and cause us to use people instead of love people. When one cares only for his own pleasure, the result is that other people become things rather than human beings.


Now, listen carefully. The suffering of the world began with us, not with God. If the Creator had made us robots and caused us to love Him without a personal will, we would have been nothing but kidnapped earthlings. We would be like some poor girl handcuffed to a wall in the basement by an insane person. No! God made you free to choose, and every one of us has chosen sin.

The Bible tells us the following in Matthew 15:53-58 ...

“Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that He departed from there. 54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? 56 And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?’ 57 So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.’ 58 Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Why was it that Jesus could not relieve the sad, painful issues of many people? He could not do so because of their unbelief. That is how sorrow began and that is why it continues.

If we really want to give peace a chance we must come to the “Prince of Peace.” Peace is the greatest human need and there is only one place to obtain it. But, God does not force this peace, forgiveness and eternal purpose upon us. John 3:16 reminds us the God’s love is offered but can be rejected.

Today is the day to give the Prince of Peace His proper place as Lord, and to experience the peace only He can provide.