The Peace Only Jesus Brings
“Ever since He came there’s been nothing but wars and more wars.”
“If He was the Messiah, where is the peace?”
So go the arguments. Some even view the angel’s declaration, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Lk. 2:14), as hollow. But to those of us who know Him personally, no words could be truer.
When Jesus first came to Israel, He preached that the Messianic Kingdom was at hand (Mk. 1:15). But the Jewish leadership rejected Him as Messiah, and the Kingdom’s arrival was postponed. Had they accepted Him, the Kingdom would have been realized; and the world would have known peace. Fortunately, He will return again to establish His Kingdom; and the earth will experience true, universal peace (Rev. 19:5–6).
Modern Judaism emphasizes living for the olam ha zeh, meaning “this world.” Biblical faith offers us the opportunity to have a unique relationship and personal peace with God. Through the death and resurrection of Messiah Jesus (as prophesied in Isaiah 53:10–12), peace with God is now possible: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). The admonishment is to approach God in prayer and receive peace through Jesus, “through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand” (v. 2).
This world system cannot comprehend the inner peace He supplies. God tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6–7).
It’s so easy to blame God when troubles come. But, in part, worldly trials and tumults are a result of human sin. The good news is that Jesus promised, “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” (Jn. 16:33).
A rabbi once declared the ideal structure of the world rests on three foundational principles: truth, justice, and peace (Mishnah Aboth 1.18). He based his views on Zechariah 8:16: “These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbor; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace.”
These ideals have never been fully achieved. Many in both the Jewish and Bible-believing communities anticipate them in the olam ha ba, meaning “the world to come.” Christians know this time to be when Jesus returns and establishes global peace. Although the coming Kingdom on Earth primarily involves Israel, the entire world will be affected.
A Hasidic rabbi once said, “Peace without truth is a false peace.” In the Kingdom, the world will honor the true God of Israel:
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lᴏʀᴅ, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ from Jerusalem. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lᴏʀᴅ alone shall be exalted in that day (Isa. 2:3, 11).
It has been said in Judaism, “In the hour of Messiah’s appearance, the Holy One will don the robe of justice.” In the world to come, knowledge of God will fill the earth (11:9). Even God’s solution to school violence will be implemented: “All your children shall be taught by the Lᴏʀᴅ, and great shall be the peace of your children” (54:13).
Such evil acts as murder, robbery, jealousy, hatred, oppression, and war will all cease: “He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any-more” (2:4; cf. Ps. 46:8–9).
World hunger will end: “Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us” (Ps. 67:6; cf. 72:16).
As part of His universal peace program, all human governments will be torn down: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Dan 2:44; cf. Ps. 2:2–9).
The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness, and many nations will turn to them for spiritual guidance (Isa. 51:11; Zech. 8:23).
There will be no illness, death, or tears (Isa. 25:8; 35:5–6). Even predatory animals will no longer seek prey: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (11:6–7; cf. Hos. 2:18).
The ancient rabbis taught that Israel’s redemption would come through peace (Debarim Rabbah 5, 14). To maintain this redemption anticipation, the Temple priests ended the day with the following prayer: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num. 6:24–26).
Later, in some modern synagogue services, the closing prayer, known as the Sim Shalom, meaning “Grant Peace,” was uttered with much anticipation:
Grant peace, welfare, blessing, grace, lovingkindness, and mercy to us and to all Israel your people. Bless us, O our Father, one and all, with the light of your countenance; for by the light of your countenance you have given us, O Lord our God, a Torah of life, lovingkindness and salvation, blessing, mercy, life, and peace. May it please you to bless your people Israel at all times and in every hour with your peace. Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses his people Israel with peace.
In an ancient rabbinic text it was said that, when Messiah comes, His first message will be “Peace!” Consider: Jesus came the first time to Bethlehem to bring His peace to the world: “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” (Jn. 14:27).
He will come again a second time to Jerusalem and usher in world peace: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isa. 65:17). Jesus did not fail. As the Jewish Union Prayer Book (siddur) says, “Grant us peace, thy most precious gift, O Thou eternal source of peace.”