Focal Passage: Romans 12:14-21
Peace is a topic that the Bible makes no bones about addressing. Those who wrote the portions of the Old Testament we know as history mention it with what can only be described as a sense of yearning. Prophets talk about its coming. Even in specific reference to those parts of scripture which foretold and tell of the Christmas narrative there is the mention — the not so casual mention — of peace. In his prophecy, Isaiah spoke of a “Prince of Peace.” And in the most familiar of all the scriptural words of the season, Luke has the angel telling shepherds of peace on earth and good will toward men. A quick scan of any reputable concordance of any good biblical translation or paraphrase will find the word peace in some form or another more than 400 times.
Paul had no shortage of things to say about peace. He makes what almost looks like a summary statement on the subject in the center of the focal passage for this lesson: Rom. 12:18.
“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
The interesting thing to me is that Paul puts the “burden” for peace on us. He says to do everything we can to live in peace with our fellow man. His words “so far as it depends on you” seem to suggest that it is our responsibility to do everything within our power to make peace, instead of just hoping things will go peacefully. Of course Jesus’ words confirm this when He preached in the Sermon on the Mount that, “blessed are the peace makers.” There is a slight nuance here we will do well not to miss. Peace or “living peaceably” with our fellow man is not a call to being passive. Quite the contrary, we are called to make peace, to do something to cause it to happen. We should be asking ourselves, especially as we celebrate it during advent, what we are doing to bring peace.