Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:1-11
Text: Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
We have just read some of the teaching of Jesus that has been given the title, the Sermon on the Mount.
The introduction to this sermon contains some shocking words from Jesus. Jesus turned popular thinking on its head regarding what kind of person is blessed, what kind of person experiences life to the full, wholeness in life.
These blessings of which Jesus speaks are given the name, the Beatitudes, the name comes from the Latin word for blessed.
For this afternoon as we remember and give thanks for the armistice that took place 100 years ago, I want us to pause, to remember, to think upon these words of Jesus and in particular, the 7th beatitude, blessed are the peacemakers.
This is not an easy beatitude to think about because we have to come to some understanding as to what exactly Jesus meant by peacemakers.
What did Jesus mean by peacemakers?
The Lord Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the peace-lovers,” or even “Blessed are the peace-keepers,” but “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
These peacemakers are far more than people who love friendship and harmony, more than just people who have a hatred for strife and turmoil. Why do I say that, well it’s because Jesus says
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”
We all know the saying, ‘like father, like son’…
Being peacemakers shows something of their parentage, In essence peacemakers will be exhibiting the very nature their Father, God, who is love.
Today we are thankful for the Armistice that took place 100 years ago. But we know that the essence of Armistice is not actually peace, but is actually the cessation of hostilities, the removal of war.
The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and Germany. We today are thankful for the armistice and also for those who after the armistice persevered on to try to make peace.
Jesus was a peacemaker. The supreme peacemaker for he came to reconcile us to God. All of us, in our selfish pride and self centred sins are enemies of God, but Jesus came to make peace.
How did he do it?
The Bible tells us that Jesus made peace through the shedding of his blood on the cross. (Colossians 1:20)
Through his sacrifice, through his death, Jesus made peace for us, he reconciles us to God. Today he calls each of us to be peacemakers.
First by faith to recognise and accept that peace that Jesus has already obtained for us.
And then following the one who was called the Prince of peace we live as peacemakers.
That will not be easy. That will sometimes mean sacrifice, because Jesus left us in no doubt how those who are his followers will live.
A little later on in this Sermon the Mount Jesus said:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-45a)
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.
To Father, Son and Holy Spirit be all glory and praise. Amen.