“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:13-16.
How would you respond if you were asked to describe your identity? Who are you? Your identity in Christ is far different than your personal identity which is commonly defined by your family role or job description. It also includes your personality traits, hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. But when you think of your identity, do you think of being a peacemaker? Probably not.
Peacemaking is a divine work. God is the author of peace. And, Jesus is the supreme Peacemaker. Jesus came to establish peace; His message explained peace; His death purchased peace, and His resurrected presence enables peace. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Just before He was crucified, Jesus’ last will and testament was, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27) When the Lord returned after the resurrection, His first words to the disciples was “Peace be with you,” (Luke 24:36).
If being a Christian means following the teachings of Jesus Christ, then by definition there are practical implications and effects on our life and faith. One of those is to be a peacemaker. Being a peacemaker does not mean that you avoid all conflicts and confrontations. Nor does it mean that you are laidback, easygoing, relaxed, and passive and that you defend a “peace at any price” philosophy.
The idea of a peacemaker is to make peace. Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” James 3:18 adds, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” A peacemaker is a person who works to settle quarrels and diminish conflict. Peacemakers are accepting, tolerant, and refrain from being negative.
Solomon has a lot to say about peacemakers: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1) “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24). Peacemakers are slow to anger and are humble and trusting.
Our world desperately needs peacemakers who know the peace that only Christ can bring. Peace in homes where there is constant fighting and bickering. Peace in churches that are sometimes torn apart by conflict. Peace in cities where violence has broken out. Peace in our troubled hearts.
- What does a “peacemaker” mean to you?
- How can we be more of a peacemaker this week?