Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9
Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of 1,000 words I would use to describe the world right now, but peace is not one of them. You don’t hear a lot of stories about peacemakers either. There seems to be more stories of people throwing fuel on the fire and not many stories of people bringing peace. 2,000 years ago things weren’t much different.
So when Jesus uses the word peace, which is the only time in the entire Bible by the way, he is saying this: one who having received the peace of God brings peace to others. Not simply one who makes peace, but one who spreads the good news of the peace of God that he/she has experienced.
There’s two parts of peace that we need to define to understand what Jesus is saying here: peace with God and peace with others.
Let’s go to Romans 5 to see what it means to live at peace with God. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
That word justified is a legal term. It means to be declared righteous by a judge and that judge is God. In other words, because of our sin we had a price to pay. That price was our lives. But God sent his son to pay the price we could not pay. Because of that we are now justified before God by having faith in Jesus. What is faith? It’s believing who God says he is, and that he will do everything he has promised to do. And because of that faith we have peace and all that’s made possible by Jesus.
We read Romans 5 on this side of the cross. The people listening to Jesus that day didn’t yet know what was about to happen. So when Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those that live at peace with God, they would have thought, “Peace with God?! How can I have peace with God?! How can this be possible for me?” Because all that’s been taught to them their whole lives, and maybe this will be familiar to you, was that in order to get to God they had to do more good stuff and stop doing bad stuff.
That teaching weighs people down. The people listening were weighed down by the pressure to fix themselves. The main problem with this teaching is that it leads to one of two places. Arrogance or despair. Arrogance because I think I’m doing such a good job, especially compared to you. Or despair because I think I’m doing such a bad job, especially compared to you. Jesus comes along, and he is leading people to a totally different place. He’s leading people to peace with God. And that peace changes everything.
The peace that Jesus is calling us to isn’t just peace in our world or peace in our relationships with each other. While that certainly applies, what Jesus is calling us to do is much deeper. He’s calling us to bring peace with God to the world around us.
So Jesus says these people, the peacemakers, will be called sons of God. This is not just a statement of relationships but of character. In Jesus’ day when you called someone a son of a (Fill in the Blank) they were saying that you acted like that. So you if said son of a dog, you were saying they acted like a dog. And in Jesus’ day dogs were not the family pet. They were scavengers. They didn’t bring them into the house and put sweaters on them and push them around. If you are looking for an example of how we have collectively lost our minds look no further.
In Jesus’ day if you called someone a son of a dog you were stating someone about their character. You are one that hurts and harms others.
So when Jesus says Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God he’s actually indicating something about God’s character. He’s saying God is a peacemaker, he brings peace. God pursued peace with us when we had absolutely no interest in peace with him. Jesus is also saying something about us. He’s saying that when we pursue peace we are being like God. To be called a “Son of God” was unheard of to the crowd listening. It’s commonplace for us today. But it’s crazy that we, sinful humans, are called sons and daughters of the creator of the universe… That might be one of the craziest things Jesus has said.
Our world is full of chaos and violence. But amidst all the bad news rises some good news. That news is that despite that we were lost and at odds with God, he pursued peace with us. Now all who follow God are tasked with bringing that same peace we have found with God to the rest of the world. That is the way to the good life.
Read the previous article in the Series: Blessed are the Pure in Heart
Read the next article in the Series: Blessed are Those Who Are Persecuted