The Beatitudes: Peacemaking

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Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Teachers will appreciate this little story that I found. Then Jesus took his disciples up on the mountain, and when they had gathered around him he taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn . . . Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven . . . Then, Simon Peter said, “Are we supposed to know this?” And Andrew said “Do we have to write this down?” And James said, “Will we have a test on this?” And Philip said, “I don’t have any paper.” And Bartholomew said, “Do we have to turn this in?” And John said, “The other disciples didn’t have to learn this.” And Matthew said, “May I go to the rest room?” And Judas said, “What does this have to do with real life?” Then, one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus’ lesson plans and inquired of Jesus, “What is your terminal objective? Have you completed a task analysis? What about a diagnostic survey?” And Jesus wept.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. A peacemaker is one who strives to prevent contention, strife, and war. A peacemaker is one who uses their influence to reconcile opposing parties, and to prevent hostilities in families and neighborhoods. A peacemaker understands the importance of the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

At no time are we more like God than when we are an instrument of reconciliation. The Devil is the father of friction, discord and strife. The peacemaker is the enemy of the devil. “The beginning of strife,” says Solomon, “is like the letting out of water.” “An ounce of prevention,” says the English proverb, “is worth a pound of cure.”

One of the greatest peacemakers in scripture was Barnabas. Barnabas was gentle, companionable, a nice man. He was pastoral where Paul was militant.
Where Paul would carry a sword, in readiness for an adversary, Barnabas had oil and wine, in readiness for any traveler whom he might find robbed and beaten on the road. He was a peacemaker, and he was great in the ministry of reconciliation.

Barnabas was a native of Cyprus and a Levite by extraction. He was a wealthy man for he possessing land, that he generously disposed of it for the benefit of the Christian community and laid the money at the apostles’ feet . When Paul made his first appearance in Jerusalem, it is Barnabas who brought him to the apostles and attested to his sincerity . Following their First Missionary Journey they returned to Antioch, where they found the peace of the church disturbed by a certain sect from Judea, who insisted upon the Gentile converts being circumcised. Barnabas, with others, were sent to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles.

When preparing for a Second Missionary Journey, a dispute arose between Paul and Barnabas on account of John Mark. Barnabas was determined to take Mark with them. Barnabas is a peacemaker!

In that respect, Barnabas with like Jesus, for Jesus was a peacemaker. He was called the “Prince of Peace.” By His teachings, He taught us “to turn the other cheek.” In the Garden when the servant’s ear is cut off, Jesus restores the ear and tell everyone to put away their swords. But He also reminded us that His peace “passes all human understand.”

We need peacemakers! We need peacemakers in our world to bring an end to war. War is not the answer and never really provides a solution. Peacemakers help us to find compromise. They force us to find acceptance of others.

James, head of the Church in Jerusalem, writes from a hurting congregation.
Hurting because they are being persecuted by everyone. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

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