“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” -Mark 1:11
Read Mark 1:9-11
I am Jewish. Not long after I met Jesus I made friends with the rabbi of a nearby synagogue. One day he said, “I don’t understand why you believe in Jesus. Jesus can’t be the Messiah. Messiah will bring peace. Look at the world. Jesus did not bring peace.” I understood. Someone who suffered and died was not what I expected in the Messiah. But that is exactly who Jesus is, and that is how Jesus brings peace.
In Mark 1 God proclaims that Jesus is his son, that he is pleased with Jesus. God is pleased with his son who was poor, homeless and who suffered and died for us. Jesus is bringing God’s peace. The peace he brings grows out of love, not violence. Rooted in love, Jesus brings a peace that does not merely end war and injustice. It builds wholeness, a complete world, as God intended. He brings peace with God. Through that peace, we begin to experience peace within ourselves and can work toward peace with others. Jesus has promised that when he returns that peace will be complete, filling all of creation.
Sometimes it is hard to see the peace Jesus brings. When we look at our world and see increased division, war and disaster, it does not look like peace. Christmas reminds us that God’s son became human and lived among us. It reminds us that he brings us peace. It reminds us that he will return and complete the process of bringing the peace to all creation.
Jesus, open our eyes and hearts to see you in the times of pain as well as the times of joy.
David Bruce Rose, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marriage & Family Therapy, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary