One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus in the Bible comes from Micah chapter 5. Many Christians hear the beginning of this passage read at Christmas foretelling Jesus’ birth: “But you, Bethlehem…from you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel…” But if you read in the Message translation, verses 2-4 end with the shepherd-ruler being ascribed this amazing title: “Peacemaker of the world!”
I remember teaching a group of Muslim students once about how similar Muslim and Christian views are concerning our future world peace. Several Hadith (Muslim records of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad) point to a future time when the Prophet ‘Isa will return to take leadership of the Muslim umat (the people of God), to correct all false teaching concerning himself, and to usher in a period of world peace under his leadership. The Bible also foretells Jesus’ return to reward the people of God, when every knee will bow before him and confess him as Lord (no matter what they believed about him in the past), and that he will bring about a time of world peace under his Kingship, where even “the lion will lie down with the lamb.”
Although there are also some differences between Muslim and Christian views of the end times, I find it interesting that both groups are waiting for the coming of Jesus as the next major event on the eschatological calendar. And if we’re all waiting to see Jesus face-to-face and to live under his Leadership, doesn’t it make sense for all of us to try and get to know him the best we can even now?
We’re already seeing that the Jesus of Ephesians 2 is the demolisher of separating walls between people, and he’s bringing peace already between many various groups who thought they could never be at peace with the other. What’s happening already is just a foretaste of the time when Jesus returns to the earth and is acknowledged by all peoples as the great Peacemaker of the World.