Summary: This world doesn’t need more people throwing fuel on the fire. This world desperately needs more peacemakers that aren’t afraid to take shots for the things Jesus took shots for. Will you be one?
Title: Crazy Peace
Text: Matthew 5:9-16
I’m so excited to be here with you this morning! We are wrapping up our series Crazy Eights. If you need a Bible raise your hand and one of our ushers will get you one.
Today we are going to wrap up the series with the last two things Jesus said in the Beatitudes. The first is about peace. Now I don’t know about you, but peace is not a word I would often use to describe my life. Peace can be hard to find. More often than not I hear people describe their homes as chaotic. Jobs are stressful, relationships have tension, and the world is full of violence. Peace seems impossible. Peace seems like a nice idea that will never happen in this world.
But our world today isn’t so different than the world that Jesus was speaking 2000 years ago. The people Jesus was speaking to where occupied by their enemy, the Romans. Violence was normal. Their world was not peaceful. And persecution was commonplace. This was not a coincidence that Jesus ends the beatitudes with Blessed are the Peacemakers and Blessed are those who are persecuted.
Jesus moves from peace to persecution in his close statement of the beatitudes. We might look at these last two statements Jesus said and think that they don’t go together. But we are going to see that they actually have a lot in common and it wasn’t a mistake that Jesus ended with these two.
About a year ago I started my job searching. Now I’m going to assume that all of us at some point have had an interview before. Whenever you go into an interview there seems to be certain questions that come up regardless of what position you are applying for. I think every interview I’ve ever had, from high school to now, I’ve been asked the question what are some of your weaknesses.
When I was first asked this at age 15 I didn’t know how to answer that. I also wasn’t sure if I wanted them to know that either… Turns out answering that I work too hard and I am too dedicated is no a good answer… As I got older I started to see the value in that question. The question shows how self aware a person is about themselves.
An other question I’ve been asked a lot is on a spectrum of being a person that runs toward conflict, being a person that will never turn down a fight, and a person that runs away from all conflict. When you are in a conflict with your spouse or at work do you run towards the conflict to fight or do you back down hoping it will go away? (Shows pictures of two people on the extreme. Maybe Movie action dude and wimp)
Now let’s take a quick poll. How many of you in this room run toward conflict, how many of you tend toward this guy? Maybe not to that extreme, but you have a tendency toward conflict. Now how many of you run away from conflict, how many identify with this guy? Naturally I tend toward running away from conflict. You will know people that lean towards conflict, because they will let you know that you are wrong… a lot. But you won’t always know the people that avoid it because they tend to hide and run away from conflict.
The reality is if you lean too far one way or the other it’s going to create some issues for you. And Jesus is going to help us sort some of this stuff out.
Jesus has been turning everyones thoughts about the world upside-down. He’s been saying you thought life was this way, but it’s actually this way. This is how things really are and this is how life really works. That’s what the beatitudes are about. Beatitudes translates as “Full of Blessing” or “Full of God, fully and wholly satisfied in God, connected to God and having God live in you.” Simply put, Jesus is saying this is how to have the good life, the best life.
So while we might think that it’s crazy, God is saying that this is how life really works. What comes out of Jesus’ mouth is shocking, countercultural, counterintuitive, and different than what any other teacher or philosopher was saying. Still today what Jesus taught about life leaves many wondering how this works. So while we might think that it’s crazy, God is saying that this is how life really works. God’s kingdom functions differently.
Throughout this series we’ve seen Jesus take the people the world often overlooks and say these are the kind of people that will inherit my blessings. It’s crazy and doesn’t always make sense to us. The poor in spirit, the merciful, the pure in heart, the people that have values the word doesn’t have are the ones Jesus wants to bless. And Jesus is telling us that if we want to live the good life then this is the way to get there.