“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
As Jesus begins His public ministry, it becomes undeniable that people want to listen to Him. As he begins his Sermon on the Mount, His longest recorded sermon, He starts with a blessing. This first lesson to his followers is what has become known as the Beatitudes. A “beatitude” is a “supreme blessedness”, so who does Jesus call blessed?
As we continue to break down each of Jesus’s blessings, I think it’s important to pause and note what Daily Grace Co. authors mention about the Beatitudes:
“While it is common to hear the Beatitudes pulled apart or studied one at a time, it is wise to read and study them together. Jesus is crafting a sermon where each piece builds on the last. Many commentators have said that the first four beatitudes show the justification we receive from God, and the last four show the sanctification we receive from Him. Justification is when God declares us righteous because Christ’s righteousness covers us through salvation. Sanctification is the ongoing process believers go through over the course of their lives as they walk with God and He conforms them to His image.”
As we become sanctified, or more like God, we become merciful (v. 7) and pure in heart (v. 8). While these impact others as well as ourselves, Jesus’s last two blessings send us out into the world.
In verse 9, Jesus declares, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Ephesians 2:14 declares that “[Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility […]” As Jesus becomes our peace, reconciling us to God the Father, we are called to become peacemakers to the world around us.
Jesus invites us into the “ministry of reconciliation” to bring peace to others and point them to God (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). This is so countercultural. In a world that is so divided and hostile, to stand for peace, gentleness, and mercy might seem foolish, but it also seemed foolish in Jesus’s day too.
The people of Jesus’s day expected the Messiah to be a great warrior king who would swiftly bring justice and defeat the surrounding cultures, but instead Jesus came as a servant to draw all people to Himself.
As we become more like Jesus, we have the opportunity to bring peace to our world where division and hostility rein. We get to partner with Him to bring reconciliation to places that are broken. As we come to know Peace Himself, we are able to bless the people around us and point them to the greatest source of Peace there ever will be.