The Beatitudes are divine blessings pronounced on those of godly character. These attributes are required for those who wish to enter the kingdom of heaven. The seventh of these blessings is prescribed for “the peacemakers.” Matthew 5:9 NKJV Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. To be a peacemaker provides a pathway to a relationship with God. In what way are godly people to be peacemakers?
To the Jew, peace offerings represented more than just peace. The offerings represented gratitude for harmony in their relationships, for prosperity and for good health. All were rightly recognized as blessings from God. These sacrifices were offered frequently, not only in thanksgiving for abundant blessings, but also upon fulfillment of vows and as spontaneous free-will offerings. Leviticus chapter three outlines the regulations for peace offerings. There were no limits defined as to the number of sacrifices one could make. Those who valued their blessings offered abundantly in order to maintain their relationship with God.
Just as God demands active mercy, he demands active peacemaking in order to establish and preserve a relationship with his children. Keep in mind that the greatest commandment of the old law was to love God with one’s all and to love one’s neighbor to the extent one loves himself. To answer the question “Who is my neighbor?”, Jesus related the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10. The neighbor turned out to be the Samaritan who took pity and showed mercy to the helpless Jew. Ignoring the victim’s probable disdain for his heritage (John 4:9), the Samaritan simply acted with compassion for a fellow human being. What better way exists to make peace with one’s enemy?
To the Christian peacemaking means a temperate response to sin and to sinners. This is accomplished by repaying evil with good. Romans 12:17-21 NKJV Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Jesus promised His Apostles that he would send the Holy Spirit to comfort, to remind and to guide them until revelation was complete. Additionally, He promised to leave them peace. John 14:27 NKJV “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. That peace came in the form of the gospel. Romans 14:17 NKJV for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:19 NKJV Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 15:13 NKJV Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Pursue the things that make for peace. Edify each other. Abound in hope.