How does peace arrive in the world through Jesus?
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The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of a future king who would make a covenant of shalom (peace, well-being) with his people. This king would set the world right and heal all that has been harmed. Read Isaiah 9:6-7 aloud together. What specific words or phrases stand out to you as you observe this passage and why?
The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of the Prince of Peace, whose reign would lead to eternal shalom. Jesus’ arrival fulfilled Isaiah’s words. Read and reflect on Luke 2:9-15 as a group. Why do you think God announced the King’s arrival to no-name shepherds? What does this tell you about the nature of God and his Kingdom?
The biblical story shows how humanity often chooses a way of life apart from God and suffers as a result. According to Colossians 1:19-23, what did God want to do to remedy this pain, and how did he accomplish his desire through Jesus?
Jesus offers his peace to all people as a gift. Read Ephesians 2:11-16. How did Jesus make peace between two sharply divided people groups (Jews and Gentiles), and why did he do it (see Eph. 2:16)?
Now, let’s carefully read Ephesians 4:1-3. How can humility, gentleness, patience, and love help maintain the unity Jesus calls his followers to? What happens to unity when one of these virtues is missing?