Today, I shall examine the statement of Christ, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I mentioned to a friend that I am preparing these articles on the Beatitudes of Christ. His response was, “You have chosen one of the most difficult passages of Scripture to write about.” The late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones agreed, “There is nothing in the whole range of Scripture which so tests, examines, and humbles us as these Beatitudes.”
The prophet, Isaiah foretold, “For unto us, a Child is born, Unto us, a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.“ (Isaiah 9:6) In Luke 2:14, the angelic host proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” And, here at the beginning of His ministry, Christ emphasized, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
It is understandable that the Jews might have expected that the mission of the Messiah would be to effect peace for their nation through deliverance from their earthly oppressors, i.e. the Roman empire.
While it is clear that world-peace is the ultimate goal of the Messiah, it is not something that will be accomplished in this present age, but, rather in the world to come. In the meantime, while world-peace eludes us, and there are wars and international conflicts, it is possible for us to have peace in our hearts and to be peacemakers in our society by the grace of God.
The twelve apostles would have had trouble reconciling the peacemaker Beatitude with the turmoil they faced in their society and generation. What Jesus was telling them was that they were to be “salt and light” as they went out preaching the gospel – “peace on earth, goodwill toward men.” He explained in Matthew, chapter 10, that they would experience conflict and resistance, but they were to, by His grace, let their peace be a witness to those to whom they were ministering, striving to make peace wherever they went.
This is not to say that the Beatitudes were relegated to the apostles only; rather, they are a Divine Prescription for forming and maintaining a happy and effectual relationship between the disciple and his Master. Jesus said to them (and us) “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:24-26)
Dr. Lloyd-Jones suggests that Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” might be viewed as a pivotal verse with the three Beatitudes that preceded it and the three that followed it corresponding to one another. That is, poverty of spirit and being merciful may correspond with each other; ‘mourning for sin’ and being ‘pure in heart’ might be similarly connected; and in exactly the same way, the meek and peacemakers might have an obvious connection.
Peacemakers must possess the grace of strength under control to be able to navigate through circumstances that challenge their self-control or patience. Jesus explained that it is this type of attitude that will cause us to be “called Sons of God.”
In a world like the one into which Jesus sent His disciples, and one like we know today, we need to have the wise words of Christ to equip us for “Letting our light so shine before men, that they see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Look at some of the cautionary words Jesus had for the disciples in Matthew 10 as He sent them forth to face a hostile society:
Vv 16-18: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
V 23: “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
V 25b: “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!”
V 34: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.”
You see, Jesus wanted His disciples to know what the challenges were that they would be facing. He wants us to know that, as well. While we have peace with God through the blood atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the peace of God through reconciliation and regeneration, we must be
“Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We must recognize that God Who calls us has promised to be with us to equip us, watch over us, guide and protect us, and give us peace.
The Lord recognized the value of the character trait of being a peacemaker, and it is one of the most discernable, outstanding, and impressive traits that I have ever observed in those who are called Christian or children of God. What an honor to be recognized as one of His children, as one who is like HIM because they exhibit a personal peace and strive to spread that peace to others. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2Th 3:16)
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