by Dr. Samuel Lee   11/13/1995     0 reads




                  GLORY TO GOD, PEACE TO MEN

Luke 2:14

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on

  whom his favor rests."

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May God bless you to live a

life of faith in 1997. May God increase your faith so that you may be a

blessing to others as well as to all peoples of the whole world. The

historian and evangelist Luke says that Jesus' coming is glory to God

and peace to men. Let's think about why the birth of Jesus is glory to

God and peace to men.

First, the birth of Jesus is historical.

After the Fall, God made a world salvation plan. God also made a

promise to save men from their sins. Even though it was a primitive

gospel, it was God's promise to send a Savior to save men from their

sins. Genesis 3:15 says, "And I will put enmity between you and the

woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head,

and you will strike his heel." In this verse, "he" indicates Jesus the

Messiah. In order to proceed with his world salvation plan, God chose

Abraham, who was 75 years old. God gave him a promise, "I will make you

into a great nation...and all peoples on earth will be blessed through

you" (Ge 12:2b, 3b). God helped him to overcome his fatalism because of

his "no son" problem. God also helped him for a long, long 25 years

until he loved God and believed in the promise of God. Then Abraham

became the first ancestor of faith.

After Abraham, God chose David, because he was a man after God's own

heart (Ac 13:22). In short, he was a shepherd-like king. To him, God

promised that "your house and your kingdom will endure forever before

me..." (2Sa 7:16b). God's promise to David reveals his foresight of the

Messianic kingdom through Jesus. Isaiah 11:1 pictures more vividly

Jesus' coming to this world. It says, "A shoot will come up from the

stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." In the course

of fulfilling his world salvation purpose, three times of fourteen

generations had elapsed (Mt 1:17). Finally God sent his one and only

Son according to his promise. Of course, God may have wanted to send

someone else. But there was no one who was sinless.  So God could not

but send his one and only Son into this world. The fact that God sent

his one and only Son reminds us of John 3:16. It says, "For God so

loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever

believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." In obedience

to God's plan, to come to this world Jesus had to renounce his glory,

power and his kingdom, even his righteousness as God. We call this the

incarnation of God. John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and made his

dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and

Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus' coming

to this world is full of grace and truth. Jesus' coming to this world

teaches us that he is truly humble and sacrificial. Jesus was also

obedient to God. As God had promised, he sent his one and only Son into

this world. Therefore, the birth of Jesus is not a man-made story; it

is a historical fact. We must believe that the birth of Jesus is

historical, and that our God is faithful in keeping his promise.

Second a baby in a manger.

At last Jesus, the promised Messiah, came to this world. But he was

born in the stable of an animal and placed in a manger. The scene of

his birth looks pathetic. Luke, the historian and evangelist comments

on it, "because there was no room for them in the inn" (Lk 2:7b).

Isaiah the prophet foresaw the baby in a manger. He was overwhelmed by

God's decision to send his one and only Son in that way and cried

sorrowfully, "Who has believed our message..." (Isa 53:1). It was too

sorrowful news. Oh! Who can believe this?  Oh! Who can believe this


Seemingly, Jesus in a manger looks too fatalistic. Jesus was born in

this way so that he could show men how to overcome their fatalism. In

Korea 35 years ago, there were too many fatalistic people due to their

national situation, beggar mentality, inferiority complex, feudalism

and poverty. Most Korean people thought that Americans were angels and

that Koreans were born to be sorrowful. Once I was worn out in the

course of helping students one by one to overcome their fatalism. I

asked Reverend Mother Barry, "Are there many fatalistic people in

America, too?" "No, never. There are no fatalistic people in America,"

answered she. I was greatly astonished and envied Americans. When I

came to America, to my surprise, America was full of fatalistic people.

A beautiful girl was crying all the time since her mother left her

behind and disappeared. But through one-to-one Bible study the heavenly

sunlight smeared into her soul. Since then, her weeping decreased

remarkably. When she married a man of God, she never cries. Instead,

she smiles quietly and beautifully. One boy who is now 28 years old

attended a college for six years but still could not finish the

freshman year course work.  Thus he became sarcastic and very

fatalistic about his prospect of marriage.  Many American students are

fatalistic because of their laziness and their immoral desires. This is

the reason Jesus came to this world in the most fatalistic way; he came

to save people from their fatalism and give them new lives.

Third, Jesus gives men salvation from sin.

After World War II, America was the richest country. America had had

a Christian heritage. Americans' tacit motto was, "In God We Trust."

God blessed America abundantly. But these Americans did not maintain

God's blessing. In addition, America adopted pragmatism, thinking that

they would be even more prosperous. In the past, America offered

foreign students scholarships, tutors, even allowances, and helped them

until most of them obtained Ph.D.s. But now the American government

charges foreign students 300% more tuition. So America should be more

prosperous. But it is not, because they lost God's blessing since they

distanced themselves from God and began to love money. America has been

distressed because of the astronomical foreign debt. Because of this,

most people work and study at the same time. Some people work two jobs.

In America, for the sake of their survival, people have not much time

to think about the truth that men are both body and soul. Most of them

are weary and tired. Naturally they seek the fleeting pleasures of sin

to soothe their tired bodies. They are too busy to think about being

both body and soul. As a result, America's Christian heritage has

almost disappeared, while anti-Christian forces are growing day by


When we study the Bible, we learn that God made man both with the

dust of the ground and with God's life (Ge 2:7). Therefore, man's

physical body is mortal. If one dies, his body goes back to the dust of

the ground. But one's immortal soul, which is God's life in us, goes

back to God's house and lives there forever. When we study the Gospels,

we find that what Jesus did was heal the sick and preach the gospel;

especially he proclaimed the kingdom of God. In his healing ministry,

Jesus was a comfort to the sorrowful.  Once Jesus saw a widowed woman

tottering after her only son's coffin. Jesus wiped the widow's tears by

raising the dead son. Jesus was eyes to the blind.  Once Jesus was

passing by Jericho. A blind beggar cried out, "Son of David, have mercy

on me!" (Mk 10:48) Then Jesus opened his eyes. Thus he gave him a new

life. Jesus was a physician to men with leprosy. Once Jesus saw ten men

with leprosy. Jesus healed them and made them whole (Lk 17:14).

Especially Jesus was a man of saving grace to those who are sitting in

the shadow of death. Here "the shadow of death" means the power of


How did God solve man's sin problem? God made his one and only Son

shed his holy blood on the cross to cleanse the sin-sick blood of

mankind. John the Baptist came as the forerunner of Jesus. John knew

why Jesus came to this world. When Jesus was coming toward him, he said

to his disciples, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the

world!" (Jn 1:29) Even John, who had the spirit and power of Elijah,

could not but cry when he thought about Jesus' suffering, crucifixion,

and shedding his blood on the cross. St. John was once a selfish man.

But in Jesus he became a child of God. John saw that Jesus shed his

holy blood for his sins. John described Jesus as the atoning sacrifice

(1Jn 2:2). Those who believe in him receive salvation from their sins.

John 5:24 says, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and

believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he

has crossed over from death to life."

Fourth, Jesus gives men eternal life.

There are many people who think that death is the end of

everything.  But it is not true. When we have eternal life by believing

in the Son, mysteriously we feel life and power in our souls. When we

have eternal life by believing in the Son, mysteriously we are filled

with the love of God and his grace. When Dr. James Rabchuk went to see

his father-in-law candidate, he asked Dr. Jim, "Do you know how to

duck?" "No problem," said Dr. Jim.  Then he said, "Okay, no problem."

But Dr. Jim does not have to duck to escape from flying dishes, because

Mrs. Rabchuk is happy all the time since she has eternal life in the


If we have no eternal life in the Son, our lives are limited to this

world.  Those who have no eternal life are under the shadow of death.

When we do not have eternal life, we have no true meaning of life.

There was a renowned professor. He studied hard. He lived a decent

life. One day he left his family and society. He survived more than ten

years on one dollar a day. Recently he was known as the "Unabomber."

His problem was that he had no eternal life in the Son. Men are selfish

because of their sins. Selfish people have no fear of God in their

hearts. They think only about themselves. Selfish people do not have

eternal life. They want money and the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Biblically speaking, they are not citizens of America; they are

citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah.

You know very well about Franz Kafka's novels (1883-1924). This is

one of the stories from his novels. After being discharged from his

army duty, Gregor Samsa got a job. He supported his family with his

pay. His parents and his younger brother and younger sister enjoyed

family security. One day Gregor was transformed into a most ugly,

monstrous bug. Then all the family members had to work. All the family

members were distressed because of the neighbor's complaints about his

monstrous crying noise day and night. The family members agreed to send

him away for their life security. Gregor had to leave his home. Soon he

died of sorrow and starvation. This story well describes the

selfishness of mankind. But God did not abandon us. He found a way. It

was to send his one and only Son to provide the way of salvation for

all mankind.

There was a man named Cain. One day his sin-sickness stirred him

up.  Then he killed his lovely younger brother in the field by hitting

him hard. But Jesus is the only one who can save men from their sins.

On the other hand, those who have eternal life through the Son's

death and resurrection can live in this world with a living hope in the

kingdom of God. Peter, the teacher of human beings, said, "For, 'All

men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the

field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord

stands forever'" (1Pe 1:24). This verse means that those who do not

have eternal life in the Son are like grass and their glory is like the

flowers of the field. A Christian who was martyred in 1720 said, "Those

who have no eternal life are like a piece of wood, and after death is

hell." Jesus died for our sins to give us eternal life. Jesus rose

again from the dead to give us the living hope in the kingdom of God.

When we have no eternal life in the Son, we become the prisoners of

death. But when we have eternal life in the Son, we have a living hope

in the kingdom of God.  While on earth, we work hard and love each

other as our Lord Jesus Christ loved us. May God give you eternal life

when you believe in the Son.

Fifth, Glory to God, peace to men.

Luke 2:14 is the conclusion of the story of the birth of Jesus. Why

is the birth of Jesus glory to God? Here "glory" means revealing. By

the birth of Jesus, God revealed his love to the whole world. God also

taught us how to live for the glory of God through Jesus. We must live

for somebody or something as long as we live on the earth. One

chemistry professor did not marry in order to study chemistry well and

become a recipient of the Nobel Prize. But it did not work as he had

wished. So he became a lonely caveman.  In truth he is a godless man.

But one woman Ph.D. was invited by a renowned university as a

professor. She did not accept the offer in order to serve the flock of

God's sheep in Chicago. She is happy because she has eternal life in

her and her joy is overflowing. God made man to live for the glory of

God. Otherwise, man cannot find the meaning of life.

The birth of Jesus is peace to men. Worldly peace is costly and

temporal. In the 1940 American presidential campaign, Wendell Wilkie

predicted the coming of one world in which there would be no more wars.

But to our dismay, we find that ever since there have been forty wars,

big and small, around the world. But those who have eternal life in

Jesus have peace with God. They are no more enemies with God. They are

no more enemies with their wives and uncles. As Jesus gave a new

commandment, we must love one another fervently. We help each other

sacrificially, dwelling in the living hope of the kingdom of God. The

birth of Jesus is glory to God and peace to men. May God fill your

hearts with one word, glory to God, peace to men.