making peace (the beatitudes, part 7)

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” — Jesus, Matthew 5:9

There is a double entendre in the Greek ειρηνοποιοι (i-ray-nop-oy-os’ / peacemakers). Even Luther’s Friedfertigen, as he explained himself is not the be taken exclusively as a passive sense. The English translation “peacemakers” is one-sided, and has encouraged a Pelagian and activistic interpretation of this beatitude.

The idea of the Greek word ειρηνοποιοι to establish peace. Here in Matthew it’s an adjective, but in Colossians 1:20, Paul uses it in its verb form ειρηνοποιησας (i-ray-nop-oy-eh’-o). That being said…

The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When He called them they found their peace, for He is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have peace, but make peace. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. His kingdom is one of peace, and the mutual greeting of His flock is a greeting of peace.

His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would have broken it off. The renounce all self-assertion, and quietly suffer in the face of hatred and wrong. In doing so, they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.

But nowhere will that peace be more manifest than when they meet the wicked in peace and are ready to suffer at their hands. The peacemakers will carry the cross with their Lord, for it was on that cross where peace was made.


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