(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection. I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)
Tomorrow is the last day in this mini-series on the Beatitudes and the larger 40-day series leading up to Easter morning. I hope these devotionals and future posts on tools4trenches,net are helpful to you.
Today’s verse is Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of the God.”
If you’re familiar with studies on the order of births in families, you may know that middle children are often called “peacemakers”. They see the first-born’s extra duties and sometimes resentments of being the child of trial-and-error parenting, “we need your help” and “we expect more from you – you’re the oldest”, and they see the youngest sibling’s easier life that comes from more seasoned parents. Naturally, the two don’t always see eye-to-eye. The first-born accuses the youngest of being spoiled; the youngest accuses the first-born of being mean; and the middle child just wants everyone to get along.
That’s not quite what the Lord means by being a peacemaker.
Jesus knows that His followers will face much greater conflicts than sibling rivalries. Just before relaying this encouragement, He had been tempted for 40 days in the wilderness, had begun preaching repentance for the Kingdom of God, had called His first disciples and had begun reaching out to the undesirables of the world. And all of these were indicative of the life to which He was calling them.
And He didn’t say, “Blessed are those who learn how to avoid conflict”, “Blessed are the strong who can win in every conflict” or even “Blessed are those who turn every lemon into lemonade.” None of those are real peace because they don’t bring Jesus’ solution to the real problem.
Consider what Christ really faced and how He made peace.
“Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
Those who follow Jesus must face what He faced: sin that separates us from God. We must wage war against the temptations of sin that still live in our earthly bodies, we must forgive others who sin against us, and we must make peace as He did: by restoring sinners to God through the cross as their call to rest and self-sacrifice.
We’re to help make peace between others and the Holy God (and in their relationships with other people) by the gospel of restoration: repentance, trusting in the grace of Christ and following Him.
Does that bold verbal witness about Christ sound like a street preacher or a “Jesus freak”? It should. The children of God should look and act like their heavenly Father, who boldly sought them out.
If you and I are truly children of God, we will not settle for only witnessing to the world through our changed lives. We will work for others restoration through hearing and responding to the good news of Christ in His Word. (Romans 10:9-15) We will talk with them about their sin and the peace that comes only through Jesus. And God will be proud to call us His children.