Today we continue our season of Advent, which is the season of preparation for Christmas. Our theme this year is “The Rescue.” Although the light of Christ is shining in the world today, the world is still a very dark place and will get darker according to the Bible as we near the end of the age. But, it’s at the height of the darkness, when we the people of God most need rescuing, that Jesus Christ will come again and rescue us.
The Christ Candle and the Candle of Hope have already been lit. Today we light the Candle of Peace and take our Scripture from Matthew 10:34-39, which are the words of Jesus:
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Today we light the CANDLE OF PEACE. Jesus Christ is the promised Prince of Peace, but that peace will come in two stages. Through Jesus’ first coming, He has brought peace to the heart of every person who will surrender his or her life to Jesus. Every person here can have peace with God through Jesus. That’s first stage of peace.
However, while inward peace may reign in our hearts, outwardly there is still much sin and hate, war and disharmony. In fact, Jesus tells us here in Matthew that we should expect an increase in peacelessness because of Jesus. Darkness hates the light and wants to snuff it out. Therefore, the devil and those in his darkness are coming for us because we are connected to Jesus. Family may disown us. Friends may turn their backs on us. Our enemies may increase a hundredfold all because we follow Jesus. Outward peace in the world may become very sparse.
But Jesus is better than family. Jesus is better than friends. Jesus is greater than the enemies of our faith. And one day soon, Jesus is coming to rescue us and will spread the peace with God we now have in hearts to the outermost corners of the planet. When Jesus comes again, He will finally bring that second stage of peace—world peace.
And so we light the Candle of Peace this morning and say to you, “Merry Christmas!” and “Maranatha!” “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
(Light the 2nd purple candle)