Summary: Continuting by series on the Be-Attitudes, using Matt. 5:38-48 to explain what a peacemaker is.
The Be-Attitudes #8 – Peacemakers
Matthew 5:9; 38-48
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni
March 11, 2007
Mt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Mt 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
In a world which encourages us to be competitive and aggressive to achieve great things, Jesus calls us to seek peace in our relationships.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to bring peace, to restore the relationship, between man and God. When we seek to bring peace and restore relationships we are following his example.
Peace doesn’t mean there is no conflict, however; it means the relationship is restored and whole again.
Peacemakers serving in the name of Jesus will strive to restore bonds that have been broken by sin. Jesus restores us to God by doing this, and he calls us to strive to do the same sort of thing, on the level we operate at and in the relationships we are in.
He expanded the meaning of peace making later in the same chapter of this gospel. Let us look at two passages which help us understand what it means to bring peace into our relationships with others.
Matthew 5: 38-42 - An Eye for an Eye
A despondent woman was walking along the beach when she saw a bottle on the sand. She picked it up and pulled out the cork.
Whoosh! A big puff of smoke appeared. "You have released me from my prison," the genie told her. "To show my thanks, I grant you three wishes. But take care, for with each wish, your mate will receive double of whatever you request."
"Why?" the woman asked. "That bum left me for another woman."
"That is how it is written," replied the genie.
The woman shrugged and then asked for a million dollars. There was a flash of light, and a million dollars appeared at her feet. At the same instant, in a far-off place, her wayward husband looked down to see twice that amount at his feet.
"And your second wish?" "Genie, I want the world’s most expensive diamond necklace." Another flash of light, and the woman was holding the precious treasure. And, in that distant place, her husband was looking for a gem broker to buy his latest bonanza.
"Genie, is it really true that my husband has two million dollars and more jewels than I do, and that he gets double of whatever I wish for?"
The genie said it was indeed true. "Okay, genie, I’m ready for my last wish," the woman said. "Scare me half to death."
Revenge is a universal connecting point between people.
Simply put, it is getting back at someone for a wrong they have committed against you.
A kid knocks another kid down in the playground. The victim gets up and proceeds to knock the bully down. Vengeance is served.
When we get bad service at the department store, or cut off in traffic, or gossiped about by a co-worker, and we lash back the offending party in order to “even the score”, vengeance is served.
Revenge is never condoned in the Bible.
Leviticus 19:18 tells us, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
However, the leaders of Jesus’ day, and many people since then, had found a way to justify revenge through the concept of “an eye for an eye”.
Eye for Eye