Peacemakers & Persecution

{Matthew 5:9-12}
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Do you wonder why verse 9 says blessed are the peacemakers and the next 3 verses have to do with persecution?  Why would God call peacemakers blessed and then give 3 verses following about persecution?

We often think peacemaking is one who quiets conflict, or perhaps avoids it all together, to “keep the peace”.  Sort of like my sweet Grandma Lynn who would never raise her voice and simple hush us up with some Koolaid and grilled cheese sandwich when we were misbehaving or fighting with one another.  But is that the kind of peacemaking referred to here?  The kind that avoids conflict by saying nothing, and just comforting with a little extra butter on the bread?  Why would that lead to persecution?

Because Gospel peacemaking is different.  Gospel peacemaking speaks up. 

Could it be that when you’re a peacemaker, you aren’t seeking peace the way we understand it to be? Perhaps peace doesn’t come from silence and people pleasing, but from speaking up and speaking truth?

Tim Keller said of this passage, as an ambassador for Christ you should be “both attracting people and repelling people”. There were times when Jesus was mocked, ridiculed, harassed. He warned His disciples that they will be hated by the world, just as He was.  But, there were also times when it says He grew in favor with men. Same with the New Testament church, they grew in favor, the LORD was adding to their number daily.

So this peacemaker can’t mean someone who just gets along with everyone, stays silent, and is a people pleaser. If the peace talked about here is peace between one another, than why would He give warning not to lose heart as we are reviled and persecuted by others? If we’re making peace why would we be persecuted?

This peacemaker must be preaching a message of peace that is beyond this world.

True peace comes from reconciliation to the Father. Peace in our broken relationship, our sin, our hostility toward God. That is the GOSPEL. It’s a GOSPEL of peace between us and God.

Real peacemakers tell others this message of peace.

Some will hear this message of peace and jump with joy, knowing they can have a peace beyond understanding. This peace comes from a right standing with God, righteousness. Others will hear it and think it’s ridiculous, judgmental, naive. . . and they will persecute.

Persecuted for sharing the Gospel of peace. But blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

So we are to be peacemakers. To be a peacemaker means we must be willing to ruffle some feathers, say hard things, and be bold for Christ. It’s a deeper peace beyond “staying civil” and “not wanting to offend anyone.” It’s a peace that points others to Christ, that stands for Him even in the face of persecution, because the love is stronger. It’s a peace that comes from reconciliation.

Are you willing to be a peacemaker? Even if it’s rejecting the peace that comes from “people pleasing”?

For too long, we’ve thought peace comes from staying with crowd and not speaking up.  Perhaps this isn’t the symbol for peace:

But this is:

“What are you after? Approval of the people OR favor from the King?” -Tim Keller



1.  List some of the contrasts between peacemaking and persecution.

2.  Do you consider yourself a people pleaser?  Why or why not?  

3.  Are there areas in your life where you’re seeking worldly peace as opposed to the Gospel of peace?

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