Church of Christ
at
Locks Cross Roads
5) Matthew 5 - Beatitudes continued (Part 3)
Matthew 5:9-12

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers.  John 6:14-15 - Those who secretly nourished the hope that Jesus
would help them realize all their fiercely nationalistic ambitions against the world must have been disappointed.  
Jesus clearly announces a spiritual kinship to God which is not  a question of nationality, social standards, economic
position or bloodline descent.  It is a matter of spiritual likeness to God (Romans 8:14, Romans 15:33, Matthew
5:44-45).  Observe that Jesus said "peacemakers," not "peace lovers."

But Jesus' Peace Corps volunteers are those who share His view of the world and seek the peace on His terms.  
This means fighting with spiritual weapons against SIN (James 4:15), the cause of real strife.  It means not merely to
seek to bring about an absence of hostilities, but to teach men to love one another.

In His peacemaking mission, Jesus lost His life (Ephesians 2:14-17) and, in the strife against sin, His disciple may
not expect to fare any better (Hebrews 12:2-4, Matthew 10:34 and following verses).
For Jesus' disciple to refuse to take part in an aggressive war is in perfect accord with Jesus spirit here expressed.  
Paul, on the other hand, defends the right of governments to use force to maintain a just order; this he does on the
basis of the declaration that God Himself has given that right (Romans 13:1-7).  Not one centurion was instructed to
forsake the army to demonstrate the reality of his faith in Jesus or the genuineness of his repentance (Matthew
8:5-13, Acts 10, 11); likewise for the common soldiers (Luke 3:14).

How does one go about making peace?

1) He must first be a man in whom bitterness and strife cannot dwell and, in consequence of his character, a man
whom men can trust to be fair (Luke 6:35, 2nd Timothy 2:24-26, James 3:13-17).
2) Then he can bridge the distance between the antagonists (Matthew 18:15-35, Phillipians 4:2-3, Philemon,
Ephesians 2:11-18).
3) He can heal the break by rebuilding the human concern for one another (Acts 7:26, Romans 15:25-31, 2nd
Corinthians 9:12-14).
4) He must be thoroughly impartial: perfectly just in seeking and removing the cause of estrangement but thoroughly
merciful with the persons involved (Galatians 2:11 and following verses, 2nd Corinthians 8:9, Phillipians 2:1-10).
For they shall be called sons of God.  Just as God got involved in the sin, pain, misery and strife of this wicked race,
even so those who lay down their lives make peace wherever their influence extends, will be recognized by the "very
spirit and image of their Father" which they bear.

Jesus meant "sons of God" in the sense that is developed in the New Testament.  He is describing one of the
essential characteristics of such a "son," without which none can claim to be one of God's children. (Other passages
illustrating this concept: Romans 8:14-21, 2nd Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:5-7, Ephesians 1:5,
Ephesians 5:1, Ephesians 5:8, Hebrews 2:10, Hebrews 12:5-8, 1st John 3:10, 1st John 5:1-2).

Matthew 5:10-12 Because these three verses present basically the same beatitude, the various parts will be
considered together with their parallels.

Moral, if not physical, suffering is to be expected by the genuinely good man.  Jesus pronounces as the truly happy
those who are so anchored to their character or convictions that they cannot be bribed, cajoled or threatened into
surrender of principle.
Another line of attack will be slander: all manner of evil said against you falsely.  Luke (Luke 6:22 and 26) uses
these terms: "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your
name as evil, on account of the Son of man!  Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to
the false prophets."  The Christian must remember that praise is another form of social control and must be
evaluated.

Where could persecution strike?  Sometimes this oppressions is religious, while at other times it attacks the social
life of the disciple.  Almost always it cuts into the family and home life, severing the nearest and dearest connections
the disciple knows. (John 16:2, 2nd Timothy 3:12, Hebrews 10:32-39, Hebrews 12:4, Hebrews 13:3, Hebrews 13:13,
1st Peter 1:6-9, 1st Peter 2:12, 1st Peter 2:19-21, 1st Peter 3:14-18, 1st Peter 4:12-19, 1st Peter 5:9-10).
What is the cause for which Jesus' servants must face suffering?

1) For righteousness' sake.  Righteousness, as Jesus intends it, is the very character of God required as the
standard of judgment of the world and bestowed upon believers. (Matthew 10:16-39, Matthew 16:24-27, Mark
10:28-30).
2) For my sake. Jesus calls men not simply to suffer for conscience' sake or only for sake of convictions or because
of life's ordinary trials, but "for my sake."  A man must be prepared to be lonely when he decides for His discipleship
and chooses to know Jesus' love alone.  For my sake puts the right emphasis on one's suffering.  Those who
receive persecution, because they cram their religious convictions down the throats of their neighbors, do not glorify
Jesus, since their manners essentially differed from those of the Master (Phillipians 3:4-10, 1st Peter 4:13).

For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.  The world has always persecuted those who spoke to it
in the name of the Lord.  It seems that every age kills its own prophets, while building memorials to the prophets of
former generations.  (Matthew 23:29-36, Acts 7:51-53, 2nd Chronicles 36:12 and 15-16, James 5:10, 1st
Thessalonians 2:15, Hebrews 11:32-38).
Back to Matthew 5 Study Index Page