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Peace and Messiah


Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34). This was in contrast to the popular understanding of the role of the Messiah. The prophets had predicted a peaceful and joyful world under the leadership of the Messiah upon his arrival. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be a “Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful” (Isa 9:5-6). When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a multitude of heavenly hosts with the angel of the Lord praised God, saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Lk 2:13-14).

However, the peace that Jesus brought differed from the understanding of worldly peace. At the Last Supper, Jesus clarified the difference. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you” (Jn 14:27). We Christians gain “peace with God” through the sacrifice of Jesus and their faith in him (Rom 5:1). Hence, the peace of Christ is not a lack of war or conflict, but our reconciliation and loving relationship with God. Jesus will establish the kingdom with everlasting peace, as the prophets foretold, only at his second coming. Thus, Jesus corrected the misunderstanding of the apostles on Messianic peace.

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