Peacemakers: Devotional Commentary for September 13-19
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
And Jesus continued:
5:9 Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God’s children.
Jesus continues to declare the distinguishing attributes of God's children. Here, He affirms that we are God's children. We are the Blessed of God in Christ, hence, Peacemakers.
Our identity as Peacemakers is manifested in two ways. First, as the Blessed of God in Christ, God is at peace with us in Jesus Christ. We have received Christ's peace in His redemption. We are united with the Prince of Peace. Therefore, we are called to be peaceable in all circumstances. We are commissioned to be Peacemakers.
Second, as the Blessed of God in Christ, we are the messengers of peace. Christ's peace reigns within us. Therefore, we proclaim the Good News of salvation and peace through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. We are the peaceable messengers of God's peace to the world that knows neither peace nor rest.
And Jesus continued:
10Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The Kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, lie, and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me.
12Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven! The prophets who lived before you were persecuted in these ways.
So far, Jesus taught us that certain inherent outcomes flow from our newness in Christ. As the Blessed of God in Christ, we accomplish the things that God does in us. However, except those who are drawn to God by the Spirit's convicting touch, the world does not always respond favorably to God's work in us. Consequently, we face the hostile reactions of the world and the ungodly forces in it.
Because the world resists our behavior, demeanor, and focus of life and service as God's children, it attempts to smother our efforts seeking to silence the voice of God's redemption, His Grace, His forgiveness, His mercy, His peace; His love patience and joy, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. The world entertains a deep-seated aversion toward God's children because we stand before it as the face of the Gospel holding it accountable to God for its contempt toward Grace and Redemption.
So we are persecuted for accomplishing what God is doing through us. We are harassed day and night for the sake of Christ. We are attacked with false accusations and evil remarks for proclaiming the truth and for offering peace. We are subjected to lies and slanders for proclaiming, representing, and reflecting the Gospel as the Blessed of God in Christ.
But Jesus says we should not be surprised! Such are the reactions of the world toward the things of God. We are not alone in this. Every one of the Apostles and the Prophets of old also faced persecution at the hands of the enemies of the Gospel. The Apostles and the Prophets stood firm for the Lord and pronounced his message to a rebellious and wayward people. Many of them were ostracized from their communities. Some were imprisoned and some were put to death. But all of them faithfully persisted in serving God knowing that their reward in Christ is much greater than the pain inflicted upon them for being the messengers of glad tidings.
The same is true for those who are the Blessed of God in Christ across the ages. We too are persecuted for the sake of Christ. But since Christ Himself is being persecuted through us, God our Father is our fortress protecting us from any harm and preserving us as His witnesses. So we rejoice for being found worthy to suffer for His sake. We rejoice, not because we savor pain, but because God lavishes His Favor upon us in His all-sufficient Grace. After all, we are the Blessed of God in Christ. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God!
What a glorious future is secured for us as the Blessed of God in Christ. What a high calling is placed upon us as the redeemed of God. We are commissioned to be the messengers of peace, the ambassadors of the Gospel.
Peace is a gift from God. It is the fruit of the Spirit cultivated in the heart of the redeemed. It is also offered to the world through the services and ministries of God's commissioned servants, the Peacemakers. Yet many of us often remain silent. We are silenced by the fear of ridicule and derision. We choose to play it safe. We nonchalantly resign from facing persecution and hostilities. No, not for the sake of peace, indeed not for the sake of Christ. It seems we are convinced that silence and anonymity are suitable camouflage which make it possible to cruise through life with meager faith and muted salutations.
But Jesus has candidly and earnestly warned us that the world that hated Him also hates His followers. This world is not our eternal home. Yet, we are sent into the world that does not welcome us. We are dispatched into the vast expanse of darkness and despair to sow the seeds of peace and to spread the living Word of redemption. We go forward to the harvest because we are God's children commissioned to do God's work.
Jesus' call is clear. He has laid down the distinguishing characteristics of His children, of His servants. If He said we are the Peacemakers, then making peace is our commission. If He said we will suffer because of Him and for His sake, then we will suffer like Him, as we serve Him. If He said our reward is great for faithfully serving Him in spite of hardships, then we rejoice in what awaits us in heaven as He welcomes us into His presence as faithful and worthy servants. Armed with His wisdom, knowledge, and power, we faithfully, obediently, and joyfully answer the call.
Now therefore, dare we give less than our best to the One Who has redeemed us for Himself with His own Blood? God forbid! Dare we give less than our best to the One to Whom we belong in the first place? God forbid! Dare we give less than our best to the One Who gave His Life so we may have life? God forbid! Yes, God forbid! After all, we are the children of God in Christ, the Blessed of God in Christ.