Today is the day when we remember the fallen and pray for peace, we give thanks for the work of all those seeking to end war and bring peace. Into a world that is ugly with violence and hate, Jesus sends His followers now and when He gave this sermon over 2,000 years ago as peacemakers. We do not have a choice of whether or not we would like to be peacemakers the same as we are not given a choice of what kind of world we would like to live in. As bad as things may be, this is the only world we have and if we are going to be true to Jesus, we must be peacemakers.
1. What is a peacemaker?
But, what did Jesus mean by peacemakers? First, let’s dispel the misunderstandings of peacemakers. Peace-making is not the Absence of conflict. Peace in the Bible is never to be confused with pacifism. Or the dodging of conflict. We are not instructed to run from conflict. Or putting our head in the sand, hoping that the conflict will end, this will only delay the inevitable. The “peace at any price” mentality is far from biblical command. Have you noticed that you can never make everyone happy all the time? The person who glosses over the problems, acting as if everything is alright when it is not is not a peacemaker.
So that is what a peacemaker is not. So what did Jesus mean by peacemaker? A working definition of a peacemaker is someone who is actively seeking to reconcile people to God and to one another.
The word peace is the Hebrew word shalom. Often used as a greeting word or a departing word in much the same way we would say “hello” or “goodbye,” it is a broad term related to health, prosperity, harmony, and wholeness. It means perfect welfare, serenity, fulfilment, freedom from trouble, and liberation from anything which hinders contentment. When a Jews say “Shalom” they were wishing that person the full presence, peace, and prosperity of the Lord God.
A famous blessing from the bible is Numbers 6:24-26 “The LORD bless you and protect you; the LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the LORD look with favour on you and give you peace”.
Peace in the Bible is always based on justice and righteousness. Where justice prevails and righteousness rules, there you will also have peace. But without those two qualities, lasting peace is not possible.
The word ‘make’ in the term “peacemakers” is a word bursting with energy. It orders action and creativity. Someone has to drag the opponents to the table and give them a reason to put down their arms. Notice Jesus did not say “Blessed are the peace wishers or the peace hopers or the peace dreamers or the peace lovers or the peace talkers.” Peace must be made. Peace never happens by chance. A peacemaker is never passive. They always take the initiative. They are up and doing.
So when these two words are taken together, “peace” and “maker,” it describes a person who enthusiastically pursues peace.
The peacemaker pursues more than the absence of conflict; they don’t avoid strife in fact, sometimes, peace-making will create strife; they aren’t merely seeking to appease the warring parties; they aren’t trying to accommodate everyone. Instead, they are pursuing all the beauty and blessedness of God upon another.
The Christian writer William Barclay interprets this verse, “They are people who produce right relationships in every sphere of life.”
2. How to be a peacemaker
Peace-making is God’s work given to us. God is the author of peace. Jesus is the supreme peacemaker. Jesus came to establish peace; his message explained peace; his death purchased peace; and his resurrected presence enables peace.
The task, however, is not easy and sometimes not pretty. And, those who do it will often be misunderstood. In 1781 Benjamin Franklin wrote to John Adams, “‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ is, I suppose, for another world. In this world they are frequently cursed.” Unfortunately, that’s true.
Unfortunately, when we read the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” we smile weakly and say, “Oh, that’s nice.” But peace-making is not nice. Peace-making is messy and hard work. It takes time and a lot of emotional energy and courage. And, let me be honest, sometimes, peace-making doesn’t work at first.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he exhorted, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18). We are to live at peace with everyone. That is a pretty clear command. But Paul adds that all important phrase, “If it is possible.”
The mark of a Christian is the ability to get along with other people. The testimony of a church is that it should get along with other people. We have a God-given, scripturally-directed responsibility to pursue peace. The apostle Paul declared, “God has called you to peace” (1 Cor. 7:15). Does that mean we agree with everything others say or do? No. Sometimes we agree to disagree. God wants his children to be bridge builders. What can you and I do to build those bridges of peace?
What steps, what methods, can we employ to actively reconcile people to God and to one another?
On a personal level, I find it crucial to talk to the Lord about what I’ve done or what people have done to me before I talk to them. The Lord helps me see what has caused the problem. He, also, shows me my part, and even if the other person is 95 percent in the wrong, and I am only 5 percent in the wrong, I still have to confess my error. Then, I surrender the problem to the Lord.
Take the first step; Jesus is clear on this action. Jesus said, in (Matt. 5:23-24). “So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” We are to make the first move. Peacemakers take the initiative. “But,” we say, “Why should I go when they are the ones that hurt me.” The answer? Because Jesus says so.
Last week at our church right here in St Michaels I meet a real peacemaker a man call David Armstrong, a Presbyterian Minister from Northern Ireland, who when the troubles were at the height in northern Ireland stuck His head above the parapet to make peace, he step out at great cost to himself and his family, and yet despite the fact that he was hounded out of northern Ireland for 16 years by his own people the protestants he continued to make peace and was instrumental in bring some of the more fanatical factions to the peace table, after the Good Friday agreement.
Conflict is never resolved accidentally. That first step may be a letter, a phone call, or a visit. If someone has wrong you or you have wronged someone else, take action today pray to God about it. Your peace of mind and your Christian witness depends on your taking the first step. Happiness awaits action. Trust me I know it is true. Then tell the other person how you feel, but before you speak, remember the words of Solomon and Paul. Solomon wrote, “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath” (Prov. 15:1). Paul wrote, “No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). Understand their feelings. Consider their situation. Attack the problem not the person. Clarify don’t confront. Cooperate as much as possible. Stress reconciliation not resolution. Reconciliation is more crucial than being right. When we do this we earn a recognition that far exceeds anything that you can imagine.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).
3. Jesus the supreme peacemaker
So do you know the Peacemaker? Have you come into a relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace?
Our Lord is on a recruiting mission, He’s looking for volunteers to join God’s Peace Cor. He’s looking for good men and women who will spread God’s peace all over the world. So much war, so much strife, so much pain exists in the world, In our community’s and homes. That’s means there is plenty of work for us to do. Will we take up the mantel of peacemaker? Every tiny step, every good action will receive God’s blessing!
How do you get involved in the world? Be a peacemaker! What will you be called? A son of God!
Peace-making is God’s work given to us. God is the author of peace.
Jesus is the supreme Peacemaker. Jesus came to establish peace; his message explained peace; his death purchased peace; and his resurrected presence enables peace. Jesus is the supreme peacemaker,
Jesus come and died on the cross for all mankind, to show the love of God, If we are non-Christians we need to put our faith in Jesus to receive this peace. If we are already Christians, then Jesus’ costly self-sacrifice is a perfect example to us as we try to be peacemakers today. Let’s remember Jesus last words they were of peace He said ‘Father, forgive them’.
Let’s pray: Lord, we give thanks for the work of all those seeking to end war and bring peace. Lord help us to be peacemakers to bring peace where there is strife in our world, our community’s and our homes and to work for your kingdom on earth, amen