In this sinful world, we face strife each day, but we can find comfort in the fact that Christ came to save us. Learn more with Phil Rigdon’s reflections on God as the bringer of peace.
How Has the Lord Brought Peace to You?
On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to the United States, ending hostilities between the two nations and bringing World War II to a close. The news was heard all over the world. Well, almost everywhere. Recall that the Japanese Empire was composed of many islands in the Pacific Ocean, some quite small and isolated. Despite the worldwide publication of Japan’s surrender, it was months—even years—before some in the most remote islands heard the news. Imagine the joy of finally hearing the good news! These soldiers could certainly understand Isaiah’s words in our passage for this month: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isaiah 52:7).
The people of Judah enjoyed little good news. For decades, they had been subjugated by the pagan Assyrians. Then the Babylonians invaded and deported Judah’s best and brightest back to Babylon—not much of an improvement. Conflict and domination were Judah’s food and drink. It wasn’t until the coming of the Persians, who routed Babylon, that Judah again had a modicum of peace and their deportees were allowed to return home. This was indeed good news from the mountains.
It is important to note why Judah suffered so. It wasn’t by accident. The Lord had rescued His people from slavery in Egypt and given them His Law at Mount Sinai as He guided them through the desert toward the Promised Land. He warned them repeatedly that calamity would result from disobedience, idol worship in particular. They would not relent, and so the Lord disciplined them through the Assyrians and Babylonians.
7How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the LORD to Zion.
9Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the LORD has comforted His people;
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10The Lord has bared His holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
- The Lord rescued the people of Judah from the Assyrians and Babylonians with a particular purpose in mind, that of the redemption of the world from sin. God preserved Israel that one day Jesus Christ descended from it in His human nature. Read through the passage above and notice all the words we associate with forgiveness of sins: peace, salvation, redeemed. The salvation of Israel would eventually mean the redemption of the world.
- Our Bible passage paints a picture of a messenger running over the mountains to the walls of Jerusalem to bring news of the end of a conflict. We can picture a similar event with a similar message: the angels bringing the message of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds out in the field, where they were keeping watch over their flocks by night. In Luke 2:14, the angels exclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” The angels proclaim peace, the salvation of the Lord. This salvation did not come at the end of a spear but rather at God’s own expense. It came through the perfect life, innocent death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The image recalls a favorite Christmas hymn: “Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”
- Verse 9 notes, “The LORD has comforted His people.” This comfort has its roots in the message of the angels to the shepherds. Comfort came from the fact that God would create peace with the world through Jesus. The comfort of every Christian is knowing that we are at peace with our Creator. God has set aside our sins and has chosen not to remember them. This peace that surpasses all understanding is greater than any angst or torment the world can offer. Since God is at peace with us, He calls us to live at peace with ourselves, to leave go of shame and rumination of sins of the past and hold up the cross to those who would lead us to doubt our salvation.
- As much as someone brought the news of Babylon’s fall to the people of Israel, so a messenger brought the Good News, the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ to you personally. Remember that the Holy Spirit uses the Word and Holy Baptism to create saving faith. Were you brought to the waters of Holy Baptism as a baby or child? Who raised you in the faith? Was there a family member, friend, or pastor who shared Christ with you as an adult?
Teaching Idea: Beautiful Feet
Materials: Colored construction paper, pens or markers, scissors.
Instructions: Have students each choose a piece of construction paper. They stand on the paper and have a partner draw a line around their foot. They cut out the paper foot. Using a pen or marker, they compose a short history of how the Lord brought them to faith through the Word and Holy Baptism, writing their thoughts on their foot. Encourage students to post this beautiful foot in a prominent place or gift it to a person who has been instrumental in their faith.