Inspired by the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland in 1998, U2 wrote a song called “Peace on Earth”. The song challenged the very premise of its title. In the bombing’s aftermath, Bono, the Irish-native and lead singer confessed, “the whole ‘peace on earth, goodwill to all men’ struck a sour note. It was hard to be a believer that Christmas.” The song was subsequently sung at tributes following the United States’ 9/11 attacks.

U2’s song begins, “Heaven on earth, we need it now; I’m sick of all of this hanging around; Sick of sorrow, sick of the pain; I’m sick of hearing again and again that there’s gonna be peace on earth.” It repeats the refrain, “Jesus, can you take the time, to throw a drowning man a line? Peace on earth.”

How Scripture answers "Did Jesus bring peace on earth?"

Jesus did not bring peace on earth1 in terms of man’s relationship to man3 (e.g. wars, strife, etc.). Rather, the peace on earth was about man’s relationship to God4,5,8. A “way of peace”2 is what was foretold6,7 and what was preached5,8,9. The ushering in of a spiritual peace on earth was His mission9. It is true that if all mankind adopted this “Way” there could be peace on earth right now, but unfortunately, sin is ever-present. The great news is that Jesus has already “thrown a drowning man a line” by coming1, showing us the path2, and dying on the cross4,5 to shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin.

Answer built on scripture-blocks below

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’
At once, a multitude of heavenly beings that joined the angel in praising God by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth and specifically the events surrounding the visit of the wise men from the east.

Scripture-block application to this question

The angels announced Jesus’ coming as bringing peace to the earth. Especially known is King James Version rendering, “and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
And you, child [John}, will be called the prophet of God since you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, giving the knowledge of salvation to His people and forgiveness of their sins according to the mercy of God. The sunrise shall visit us from on high giving light to all those in darkness and looming death, guiding us into the way of peace.

The very end of Zechariah’s prophecy from God that was spoken when his mouth was finally opened after the birth of his son, John the Baptist.  The prophecy describes John the Baptist and his mission as well as cousin Jesus and what He would do.

Scripture-block application to this question

A “light” was coming to give people an alternative to darkness/death and show them a “way of peace”.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
Don’t think that I [Jesus] came to bring peace on earth. I didn’t come to bring peace, but conflict (“a sword”).  My coming pits even family members against each other! The resulting conflict will be personal, even within one’s household.
Chapter 10 is Matthew’s account of Jesus sending out the twelve to teach.  He has given them “authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness” (vs 1).  However, he has warned them that they will be “like sheep surrounded by wolves” (vs 16) and that “Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death” (vs 21).

Mark’s account (6:7-13) and Luke’s account (9:1-6) are much shorter.

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus affirms a context in which He definitively did not “bring peace to the earth.” His coming would divide people, even close, familial relationships.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

With the broader context and additional accounts in Mark and Luke, it’s clear that the “sword” Jesus brought was His word. His words brought conflict.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
For in him [Christ] all of God’s glory was pleased to dwell.  Through Him, all things in heaven and earth are reconciled to God in peace by His blood on the cross.
Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae where he confronts false teaching in the form of “human philosophies and traditions”.  Earlier in this chapter, he references “the word of the truth, the gospel” which came to them and “indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing” (vs 6).
Scripture-block application to this question

Peace was brought through “the blood of his cross” that reconciled man to God.

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
He [Jesus] is our peace, making us one by his flesh.  The Old Law expressed in commandments that had separated us is abolished.  In Him, we are one man in place of two, reconciled together to God in one body through the peace of the cross.

Paul is writing to the “saints that are in Ephesus” (1:1), but Gentile Christians in particular (2:11).  He is reminding them of this grace that they have from God and the fact that they are now “fellow citizens…of the household of God” (2:19).  Ultimately, his plea to them is to walk in a manner “worthy of the calling” (4:1).

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus was the embodiment of peace. The peace he brought was peace between God and man.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

It was “peace” that He preached (vs 17).

The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.
God says that there is a glory coming that is greater than what was before.  He declares that He will provide peace in this place.

Haggai is prophesying to those that returned to the land from Babylonian captivity.  Released by Cyrus the Great of Persia, they returned to their home [promised] land and had to rebuild their lives.  Haggai [and Zechariah his contemporary] encouraged them in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem – sometimes referred to by historians as “Zerubbabel’s temple” (verses “Solomon’s” prior and “Herod’s” later in the first century).  God’s statements here are in a response to their specific underwhelmed reaction to the temple not being like “its former glory” (vs 3).

Since the earlier verse 6 of this passage is applied by the inspired writer of Hebrews to the second coming/final judgment of Jesus Christ (

Hebrews 12:25-29
), the “latter glory of this house” would connect to the unshakable kingdom they had received in the first century (the church).

Scripture-block application to this question

The prophets foretold a time when this “peace” would come to earth.

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

The result of righteousness will be peace and a lasting quietness and trust. My [God’s] people will abide forever in peaceful and quiet resting places.

In the immediate context of these verses, God through Isaiah is actually speaking of a pending disaster and is giving a warning (vs 9ff).  This is of course the broader context of Isaiah’s message overall – the captivity of the north (Israel) by the Assyrians and the pending captivity of the south (Judah) unless they repent.  However, this chapter shows several shadows of Christ including:

  • vs 1 – “Behold, a king will reign in righteousness”,
  • vs 15 – “until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high”
  • vs 18 – “My people will abide in a peaceful habitation”
Scripture-block application to this question

God through Isaiah speaks about a future time when righteousness comes and results in, at least for His people, lasting peace and “a peaceful habitation”. A beautiful illustration of the peace of God that passes all understanding8 that probably applies here.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Always be rejoicing in the Lord and exhibit your reasonableness to everyone.  It is the time of the Lord so don’t be anxious about anything [physical], but petition God through prayer with thanksgiving any request, and the peace of God that exceeds all [human] understanding will guard you in Christ.

In closing his letter to the beloved church in Philippi, Paul sends final encouragement and names some individuals to come together “in the Lord” (vss 2-3).

Scripture-block application to this question

The peace of God passes all understanding and guards those that are in Christ.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Paul says that the “peace of God” will only be with those who practice the things they heard and saw when he was with them (vs 9).

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The result of righteousness will be peace and a lasting quietness and trust. My [God’s] people will abide forever in peaceful and quiet resting places.

This entire section of Scripture (John 13-17) is Jesus in the upper room with the twelve apostles. He is speaking to them directly and giving them instruction about his coming death and what will follow.

He has just told them that after He is gone, they will receive a “Helper, the Holy Spirit” to teach them and remind them of the things He taught them (vs 26).

Scripture-block application to this question

Jesus will give the apostles “His peace”.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

The “peace” is clearly the things that Jesus has taught; those things that the Holy Spirit will teach and remind them of after Jesus’ departure (vs 26).

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