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Lemon Orchard in the Galilee, Israel

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My husband just completed a sermon series on The Beatitudes, so I thought this would be a good topic for our Tuesday series. We began by learning how Jesus set the stage for his sermon.  Then we studied the first Beatitude and learned what it means to be poor in spirit.  Next, we examined what it looks like to mourn our sinful state.  The following week, we learned about meekness and obedience.  Then we saw what it looks like to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Two weeks ago we studied mercy.  Last week we moved on to the sixth Beatitude, becoming pure in heart.   So, today we will look at the seventh Beatitude:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.  ~ Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers…

First of all, let’s look again at Jesus’ audience.  Were they peaceful?  Most likely not.  The residents of Galilee were living under Roman occupation, mistreated, often ill, dealing with a poor economy and high taxes.  They not only resented Roman oppression, but there was in-fighting and bitterness among Jews themselves.  Recall Nathanael of Cana’s remark as recorded in John 1:46: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

So, then, what is a peacemaker?  James 3:18 says, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  To sow means to implant, or to deposit with the expectation of growth.  And what is the fruit of righteousness to which James refers?  Galatians 5:22-23 lists them for us: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  As you choose to allow the fruit of righteousness grow in your life, you will in turn sow in others’ lives.  When you show love, patience, gentleness, and self-control in your relationships with people, you are “making peace.”

A peacemaker also demonstrates how to be at peace with God.  Romans 12:9-21 illustrates peacemaking with an overall theme of “overcome evil with good.”  Verse 18 instructs believers: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  A peacemaker yields to God while leading others to Christ.

… for they shall be called sons of God.

Sons (and daughters) of God love others, even when they make it hard to be loved.  In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus firmly teaches to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”  WHY?  “…that you may be sons of Your Father in heaven.” Christ did this for each one of us, as described in Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God is the ultimate peacemaker – He initiated a way for mankind to have peace with Him.  As children of God, we should always pursue a life of righteous living and peace toward others.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND MEDITATION:

  • The Jews of Jesus’ day were living stressful lives.  Today, many things can cause stress in our lives if we allow them to adversely affect our attitudes.  Debt, illness, difficulty at work or school, job loss, caring for aging relatives or a handicapped child, unresolved conflict in a relationship… Think of a circumstance in your life that tends to bring stress into your life.  Bring this situation to God in prayer, thanking Him for this opportunity to give this stress over to Him.  Ask Him for peace in the midst of life’s challenges.  (1 Peter 5:6-7:  “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”)
  • Meditate on the ways Jesus demonstrated how to be a peacemaker as you read these verses: John 3:16; John 15:9-11; John 16:13; John 17:9.
Father God, we thank you for Your gift of peace.  Thank You for making a way for sinful people to have peace with You, through the sacrifice of Your Son Jesus.  We know that You did not give us this gift for us to keep it to ourselves.  We live in a world full of people who desperately desire the peace that only You can give.  Please help us to live righteously toward others, so that we may be messengers of peace and love to the hurting people around us.  Give us Your strength, Your words, and Your direction each day, we pray.  Amen. 
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