One of my favorite illustrations is about a young boy who wanted his father’s attention. He repeatedly approached his father begging him to play ball. His father was in a bad mood and was working intensely on a project that was already overdue. To get the boy out of his hair, he grabbed a magazine, opened it up to a picture of the world, ripped it out, and tore it into many pieces. The father then gave it to the boy with some scotch tape. He sent him to his room saying, “When you get the picture back together, we will play.” In a short time the boy emerged from his room with the picture of the world taped together. The father was amazed and asked the boy, “How were you able to do that so fast?” The boy answered, “I was having a hard time when I discovered there was a picture of Jesus on the back. I knew if I had Jesus right, the world would be put back together.”
This is a time of the year where we sing songs of peace on earth, good will to men, and about the coming of the Prince of Peace. We know the Bible says that Jesus came to bring peace and joy to the world, but when we look around, that is not what we see. We are living in a broken world that is torn apart by sin. There is injustice, prejudice, hatred, and resentment which all poison the hearts of those who harbor these negative emotions. What does it mean that Jesus came to bring peace on earth?
We need to remember that the world is considered the kingdom of Satan and he is tearing it into many little pieces. In John chapter 18 Jesus proclaims, “My kingdom is not of this world.” The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom within the hearts of men. This is a concept that helps us understand that Jesus’ mission is to reconcile us to God. He came to mend what had been torn apart and show us how to put our broken lives back together. Peace and joy are something we all try to find, but when left to our own devices, it is impossible to achieve. We need to realize that our self-centered practices and solutions won’t work. God is the only one who can give true peace and restore our broken hearts and repair this fragmented world. We must remove prejudice, hatred, and resentment and surrender our hearts to Jesus. Being full of joy and having peace in our life is a process. We have surrendered our life to God, but we keep trying to wade through the mess of our past mistakes in order to make sense of it. The only way to have peace is to put our past, our present, and our future worries at the foot of the cross and start over. The pieces will come together and we will have peace when we get Jesus right.