Summary: Jesus is our peacemaker, and we should emulate Him in seeking and saving that which was lost.
CCCAG October 15th, 2017
Scripture- Matt 5:9
Beginning today’s talk with a little bit of church history:
Telemachus was a monk who lived in the early 5th century. In prayer one day, he felt God saying to him, "Go to Rome." He packed a bag and set out for Rome. When he arrived in the city, people were thronging in the streets, seemingly headed in the same direction. He asked someone where everyone was going and what the excitement was about, and was told that today there were gladiatorial games in the coliseum.
Telemachus was shocked. After all, Christianity had been the official state religion of the Roman Empire for decades, and people were still going to watch people fight and possibly kill each other in the coliseum for entertainment.
He ran to the coliseum and heard the gladiators saying, "Hail Caesar, we who are about to die salute you!" Telemachus was stricken in his spirit and he jumped over the railing and went out into the middle of the field. He got between two gladiators held up his hands and said, "In the name of Christ, forbear." (Stop)
The crowd protested and began to shout and encourage the gladiators to take their swords and, "Run him through, Run him through."
A gladiator came over and hit him in the stomach with the grip of his sword. It sent him sprawling in the sand, writhing in pain. He got up and stumbled back and again said, "In the name of Christ, forbear."
The crowd, furious that their entertainment was being interrupted, continued to chant, "Run him through." One gladiator came over and plunged his sword through the little monk's stomach and he fell into the sand, which began to turn crimson with his blood. One last time Telemachus gasped out, "In the name of Christ forbear."
A hush came over the 80,000 people in the coliseum. Soon a man stood and left, then another and more, and within minutes all 80,000 had emptied out of the arena.
When the story of the monk’s courage was heard by Emperor Horatius, the emperor permanently banned the games, and this incident became the last-known gladiatorial contest in the history of Rome.
I tell you the story of Saint Telemachus because this is how most people view the verse that we will be studying today- someone that will lay down his life to stop conflicts from happening.
But is that what Jesus is getting at here?
That would raise several questions:
Is Jesus promoting pacifism? Many people and denominations within Christianity would point to this verse and say that is exactly what it is saying.
Is Jesus saying that even all conflict is evil and should be avoided by Christians?
Is Jesus saying that all Christians should lay down their lives if it stops two opposing sides from going to war?
Those are some of the questions that we will try to answer this morning
The beatitudes have taken us through salvation,
into the rebirth that a person experiences in Jesus,
Then they have taken us into God’s presence dwelling within a person that wants to be pure in heart.
The last few beatitudes deals the life of a Christian and how a Christian impacts their world
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God
Big idea-The idea of Peace is one of the most misunderstood principles in the bible, especially by those who are outside of the Kingdom of God.
As I was studying for today’s message I saw a video by noted atheist Bill Mahar in which Bill was loudly criticizing a Christian who was on his show saying that we are all hypocrites because Jesus was a pacifist so we should all stand up to our government and tell them to quit getting us into useless wars.
But is that what Jesus is saying here? Is Jesus advocating that our mission here on earth is to put a stop to all war?
We are going to begin our journey through this beatitude today by answering that question. We begin by
I. Defining Peace the way Jesus means it here
Last year in the OT, we looked at one of the names of God- Yahweh Shalom- the God of peace.
The bible records and event in which a man named Gideon was asked by God to go to war with the nation of Midian to free his people from theiry tyranny. Gideon sees the Angel of the LORD, which we know now was Jesus pre-incarnate. In the Old Testament way of thinking, if God were to manifest Himself before you, He was bringing judgement or death with HIM.
That’s why you always see a panic in the lives of the Old Testament people whenever God showed up.