Truth Taught- Jesus is the greatest Peacemaker
As we have walked through the Beatitudes together, if we have learned anything we’ve learned that when we are born again many changes take place. We are moving from our old person to the new creation in Christ. This is the work of the Holy Spirit creating these otherworldly character traits within us. We know this because…
We are not naturally poor in spirit. We don’t normally mourn over sin. We are not meek people on our own. We don’t hunger and thirst for righteousness without the Holy Spirit. We’re not merciful nor are we pure in heart. Beloved, if God is working these within you praise His name because you are a new creation in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
We have also learned that while we are growing in these Christian character traits we are becoming more and more happy. Remember the word blessed is the Greek word for happy. The truly happy Christian is one who is moving forward in the qualities Jesus promotes and greatly endorses.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is Christianity. He is preaching against false ideas that some would promote. One He refutes in His sermon is the false teaching that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and that’s it. Granted it begins there, for sure, but then moves forward to changing us into the image of Christ. If there is no movement in your life toward these qualities then your belief is not saving faith. True faith is given by God and is accompanied by lasting change within us. We are new creations in Christ not the same dead sinner we used to be claiming or professing belief, but we are being changed.
With these facts in mind let’s move forward today to Matthew 5:9
Matthew 5:9 (ESV)
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
1. What a Peacemaker Does and Doesn’t Do
Often the way to teach making the information clearer and to make a lasting impact is to describe the opposite of the point you’re trying to get across. So let’s look at what the opposite of a peacemaker does. The Bible addresses this very well.
The Scriptures really give two dynamics that are involved. Grumbling, complaining and sewing disunity within the church body and both are diametrically opposed to making peace. We might call people who engage in these practices Peace Destroyers. So, the biblical opposite of a peacemaker is someone who doesn’t act as a mediator for peace at all but a worker of disunity between people.
Let’s look at some examples in the Bible:
Numbers 14:1–2 (ESV)
14 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!
God had set Moses and Aaron up as leaders of the congregation. So, to grumble against them and against their current situation was really rebellion against God. Beloved be very careful in complaining, God may give you what you ask for or say in your grumbling…
Numbers 14:27–32 (ESV)
27 “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: 29 your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, 30 not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.
God takes grumbling and complaining personal and He isn’t happy about it. God does not want His people to be involved in this sort of open rebellion. It is clearly sin and often has immediate implications. Paul, writing about this wilderness event explains the dangers and implications of grumble.
1 Corinthians 10:8–11 (ESV)
8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.
Do you grumble and complain about your current situation like the Israelites? Are you a complainer? When you don’t get your way do you lash out by telling others to get them on your side? You see a grumbler is out to make their opinion known and out to get support from others.
Also included in this antithesis of a peacemaker is one who sews discord among God’s people.
Proverbs 6:16–19 (ESV)
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
This is what a Peace Destroyer looks like.
A peacemaker, on the other hand, acts in ways to restore relationships and bring two people estranged back together. Of course the greatest Peacemaker is Jesus, our Lord. He took action and restored our relationship with God.
Romans 5:1 (ESV)
5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:10 (ESV)
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
A peacemaker when taking the action needed to reconcile two parties is acting like Jesus.
Probably all of us can affirm the fact that sometimes peace between two is not possible. Even if that’s the case we are called to be peacemakers and should make the effort to engage in that blessed work.
Romans 12:18 (ESV)
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Peacemakers can be anyone who takes the steps needed to engage in making peace. Praying for people who are estranged is a good thing and we should do that but that’s not a peacemaker. Going to both parties and seeking reconciliation is.
Sometimes we are the ones who need to seek reconciliation with someone else. It’s important not to wait for the other person but take the initiative yourself. It’s not easy being a peacemaker but we are more like Jesus as we engage in this godly work.
2. 9 “Blessed are the Peacemakers
I mentioned the fact that the greatest example of a Peacemaker is Jesus Christ. He has engaged in the ultimate work of peacemaking. For Jesus to be a Peacemaker cost Him greatly in fact, it cost Him His life. I wanted to look at another example found in the Bible of a peacemaker. In Genesis we have Abraham being a peacemaker.
Genesis 13:8–9 (ESV)
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
Notice some important points here. To be a peacemaker required cost on Abraham’s part. He gave rather than digging his heals in. He was not stubborn or insensitive. He didn’t have the attitude of a prideful person who points out the faults of others. He could have said to Lot, the land is all mine (which it was) you should just leave. Abraham took the initiative, he paid the price for peace between him and Lot.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:9 that the peacemaker is blessed by God. As Christians we are the happiest when we are conducting ourselves like Jesus. When we are living as a peacemaker, God tells us we will be happy. When we are a Peace Destroyer we are unhappy.
Proverbs 12:20 (ESV)
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.
As God’s people we must be pursuing peace with others and when those around us are struggling we must take the initiative and help them in reconciliation as well.
James 3:18 (ESV)
18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Romans 14:19 (ESV)
19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
3. Peacemakers Shall Be Called the Sons of God
they shall be called sons of God
Jesus’ phrase here, being called the sons of God was an ancient Hebrew expression that means in this setting that Jesus’ followers will exhibit traits of their heavenly Father. We might say it in a negative way when we respond, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree or like father like son. This is the idea that we are God’s sons when we do the things He does.
When Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God,” he is not telling us how to become a son of God. Rather, Jesus is simply saying that sons of God are, in fact, peacemakers. People who are peacemakers will be recognized as the sons of God at the judgment and welcomed into the Father’s house.
If we want to see how to become a son of God we can look at John 1:12 and Galatians 3:26. John 1:12 says, “To all who received him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” And Galatians 3:26 says, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” In other words, we become sons of God by trusting in Christ for our forgiveness and hope.
Here, we are not talking about salvation but a current status because we are saved. We are already sons of God in the sense of salvation and we are exhibiting traits that show this.
Matthew 5:43–45 (ESV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
As we close I want to give us an example of Jesus being a peacemaker and it may not be what you might expect.
He took a major social outrage of injustice and turned it into a demand for personal, individual repentance. “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish!” That’s what he always did. Why did he do this? Because for Jesus the eternal destiny of a human soul is a weightier matter, a bigger issue, than the temporal destiny of a trivial matter.
If you come to Jesus with a question about the justice of taxes to Tiberias Caesar, he will turn it into a personal command aimed right at your own heart: “You give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:15–21).
If you come to Jesus with a complaint about the injustice of your brother who will not divide the inheritance with you, he will turn it into a warning to your own conscience, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you? . . . Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:14–15).
Pursue peace whether it’s needed reconciliation between you and someone else or if you need to intercede between two other parties, be a peacemaker.
Do you pursue peace?
Perhaps you’ve been the one to sew discord or maybe the one who has created an unpeaceful atmosphere, and then it’s your responsibility to go to the offended party and seek peace.
Being a peacemaker is not easy and there is always a cost involved but there is no time you’re more like Jesus than when you’re making peace.
Be a peacemaker and be blessed.
Matthew by D A Carson in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary
A Theology of Matthew by Charles Quarles
A Gospel of Matthew by France
Matthew by Craig Bloomberg
Matthew by Doriani
Matthew by Charles Price
Matthew by Leon Morris
Blue Letter Bible