Luke’s report of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem harkens back to his report of Jesus’ birth in some interesting ways. One of those ways is the cry of the angels and the people.
When Jesus is born and the angelic army shouts His praises, they shout:
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to humankind.”
When Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt and the people shout His praises, they shout:
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.”
This message is an interesting one on both counts. The angels proclaim glory in heaven, peace on earth. Jesus was the hope for both. We read in Revelation that when Jesus approaches the throne, there are shouts of glory. And we read in the New Testament that Jesus is our peace. Through Him, God fulfilled both pieces of the angelic proclamation.
The human proclamation is interesting in that the initial idea is Peace in Heaven. Luke is missing the expected “Hosanna” or “Lord, save us!” Given Luke’s emphasis on Jesus as savior, this is an interesting omission. Why peace in heaven? Some translators say that this is not about Jesus bringing peace to heaven, but bringing peace between heaven and earth, between God and humankind. This makes sense given what will come a week later.
Through Jesus’ death on the cross, He reconciles us to God, bringing peace between us where sin has causes us to be estranged. I don’t view Jesus’ work to be one of appeasement of an angry God who would otherwise lash out at us because of our sin. Instead, Jesus died as a gift, a sacrifice, a substitute for us, who deserve all that Jesus got because of our sinfulness. Instead, Jesus died in our place so that we might once again know the peace of God, and bring Him glory.