Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. — Jesus of Nazareth
Can you imagine telling someone like James or John, (apostles whom Jesus named Son of Thunder) ― blessed are the peacemakers? They would probably just stare at you in unbelief. Many people think the only way to have peace is to eliminate all your enemies. Someone said that war is a means of seeking control, not a means of seeking peace. What is a not a peacemaker? We have few distorted views on “peacemaking”:
D.A. Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance. The old meaning of the word tolerance meant “accepting the existence of different views.” But “the new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another’s position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own.”
Alleviating tension (ignoring it until it goes away, appeasing others).
Jesus said that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword! (Matt 10:34).
Hostility (love for conflict)
“The goal of the follower of Jesus is peace. But we are to admit that the means is not as clear.” (Excerpt taken from The Good Life: A series through the Sermon on the Mount by Chris Lazo).
Jesus said: “God bless the peacemakers, because they will be called children of God” Martyn Lloyd Jones has suggested that when Jesus says: “Blessed be, this is the type of person that should be congratulated, this is the type of Christian that should be envied, because only he is truly happy & blessed.”
We could almost translate the key word here, “peacemakers”, with the word “wholemakers” In Scripture, peace is a situation of comprehensive welfare. Later on, we will see that peace, as in English, usually refers to an inner tranquility — peace of mind — or to an outward state — the absence of war. (Dale Bruner)
Nowadays the children of God are being already persecuted, tortured and murdered in many parts of the World, because they are peacemakers.
What is peace?
In the Bible, peace does not refer so much to the opposite of anxiety, it is rather opposed to hostility. When the Word of God speaks of peace with God, in general, it is not speaking of tranquility, but of the end of hostility. It is peace, which is opposite to war. Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were haters of God, the death of his Son made us at peace with him, much more, now that we are his friends, will we have salvation through his life;” Bible in Basic English.
What does it mean to be a peacemaker and why it brings persecution?
Frederick Dale Bruner writes:
“Blessed are those who make peace.” The word peace can refer to inner peace or tranquility, or to an outer state of absence of war. But the biblical sense of Shalom conveys the picture of a circle; it means comprehensive well-being in every direction and relation. The person in the center of the circle is related justly to every point on the circumference of the circle… the English world peace tends either to be a tiny inward point or a very external space–i.e., either a period or a line — the Hebrew word depicts a circle that embraces the whole community, internally and externally, and puts persons who are at peace in right relations with the whole world of realities. If we could translate Matt. 5:9 “blessed are the circle makers” and make sense, we would. To bring peace in Scripture is to bring community. Peacemakers are reconcilers.
The enemy is both within us and without, in other people. As disciples of Christ, we stop growing, when the strategy is to try to locate evil only outside of ourselves and our circle of relationships. In conflicts the believer will be vigilant to be both self-critical and critical of society.
In our societies, in some nations worse than others, “there are many unnoticed, unheralded people in the world who are beneficently at work at some particular point in the distorted circle of life; all those who give their lives to rounding the circle…specifically to bring jobs and justice and to eliminate poverty… creating community, and bringing reconciliation are dignified by Jesus with membership in the family of God… (Cf. Matt 25:31-46)” We won’t be able to ‘eliminate poverty’ but we can sure help them. Of course, the good works are just an external fruit of the inner work of Christ in a regenerated heart. The circle of right relationships that bring peace in this crooked and twisted world will often come through strife and confrontation. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV) Jesus is our model, and the more God’s glory in shining out in my life the more I will attract of repel people. If I am always persecuted, I might be obnoxious. If I am never persecuted, I might be a coward, because Jesus was. For example, as Tim Keller illustrates, in management, if I reject to sell my soul and forget my family becoming workaholic, I will be persecuted. Let’s remember in Acts 2:47 the church was “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people” so there is the balance of being peacemaker. Piercing the darkness in this world, by His Spirit and by His Word we will bring God’s Shalom to the peoples, first of all reconciling them with Christ, bringing them at peace in right relations in every direction.