Peace Child

November 28, 2021

Jeremiah 33:14-16 & Luke 21:25-36

Jeremiah 33:14 God says, behold (take note, pay attention) the days are coming says the Lord.

God is pointing to a future time when the promise made long ago will be fulfilled.  The promise is specifically to houses of Israel and Judah.  The promise of a Savior.  The promise of Messiah.  Yet, it is important for us to know that this promise made to the children of Israel was that they would bring Messiah into the world for the sake of the world.  Chosen to be the vehicle of deliverance.  Jesus comes into our world as a Jew.  For the sake of the world He comes as human, one of us.  

Jeremiah 33:15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

There are times when we cannot imagine the promises actually being fulfilled.  In church we talk about the Second Coming of Jesus.  But out in the every day life of the world such a thought is far from us.  It isn’t real.  At least it doesn’t strike us as real.  

But the Old Testament prophesies also must have felt unreal too.  Until it really happened.  Jesus came into our world fulfilling all those old prophesies.  

Jesus is called the righteous branch, and the picture is that of a branch coming out of a stump—the stump of a tree that had been cut down.  Yet, despite Israel and Judah’s unfaithfulness, despite their having been taken into captivity and being diminished…yet Jesus, the Promised Messiah, the seed foretold back in Genesis, comes into our world.  All in fulfillment of God’s long standing promise.  

God keeps God’s promises.  Always.  He comes to “execute justice and righteousness in the land.”  He comes to finally set the record straight.  Bad guys cannot escape.  Long awaited deliverance does happen.  What is amazing is we are still in waiting mode.  Jesus’ first coming was to share our humanity.  His first coming was to bear our sin and brokenness from the point of His baptism all the way to the cross, through the empty tomb.  Through Him we are made holy and righteous. 

Jeremiah 33:16 “And this is the name by which it (the branch) will be called, “The Lord is 

our righteousness.”  

And the name He is called by, “The Lord is our righteousness.”  This points to the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, become human for us and His life giving death and resurrection that has opened heaven and restored our broken relationship with God.

There is a true story about a missionary family who learned to share the truth of God’s gift of Jesus to us called “Peace Child.”  

In 1962, Don and Carol Richardson moved to West Papua, Indonesia. They took their 6-month-old son Steve with them. When they met the Sawi tribe they carried Steven in their arms.  Now, mind you the Sawi tribes were headhunters and cannibals.   The Richardsons did not realizing that the very act of carrying their infant was a sign of peace to the 400 Sawi waiting to greet them.  Amazingly they were accepted and lived among the Sawi tribes.

Don began to learn their language which was complex and a real challenge.  As he learned the language and lived with the people, they became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: “In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at.”  

As the Richardsons tried to explain Jesus’ story to the tribe, they realized that the Sawi were interpreting Jesus’ betrayer Judas as the hero of the story. The Sawi idealized treachery. Sometimes they would even befriend a member of another village for the sole purpose of later betraying him to the death and having a cannibalistic feast.

Don, Carol and their son Steven grew close to people of the tribe.  Friendships bonded.  Then fighting broke out between various villages. Jealousy was at the root as they argued about who would get to be close to the Richardsons. 

Don told them they needed to make peace or they would leave.  That is when one of the villagers brought his baby son to another tribe and presented the little boy as a gift to be raised by the other tribe. The Richardsons learned in the Sawi community, when one village wanted to make peace, they presented one of their children to another village. For as long as that “peace child” lived, there would be peace between the enemies.  It became a real breakthrough in their efforts to share the Good News of Jesus.  

Carol saw the incredible connection this has to the Gospel message.  Together the Richardson’s were able to share the story of Jesus as God’s “peace child” to us.  More than half the Sawi tribe became Christians as a result.  

The “peace child” became the secret to unlocking a value system that had existed through generations. This analogy became a stepping-stone by which the gospel came into the Sawi culture and started both a spiritual and a social revolution from within. Many became followers of Jesus and began to share His peace with other tribes that they had formerly been at war with. Jesus is God’s peace child—“the Lord our is our righteousness.”

Their book, Peace Child, telling their unforgettable story.  That was in the early 60’s in West Papua, Indonesia.  Today you can find numerous books and even a movie that tells their story.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

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