What does it mean that 'blessed are the peacemakers'?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus opens with a series of statements concerning blessedness known as the Beatitudes. The seventh Beatitude is "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matthew 5:9). In what way are peacemakers "blessed"? And who are these peacemakers?

First, we must understand what Jesus means by "blessed." The Greek word translated "blessed" in this verse is one that is also translated "happy." A blessed person will have joy and contentment.

Also, we must understand what a "peacemaker" is. The Greek word simply indicates a person who makes or works toward peace. A person can only work toward peace if he is at peace himself. Believers have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). God is the source of peace (Philippians 4:7) and calls His followers to exhibit peace in their own lives (Galatians 5:22; Romans 12:18).

Living as a peacemaker follows the example of Jesus Himself. He is called the "Prince of Peace" in Isaiah 9:6. Ephesians 2:14-16 reveals that Jesus is our peace in that He has reconciled Jew and Gentile and reconciled both to God. Jesus offers this same peace to His followers: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).

Jesus said that peacemakers are blessed because they will be called sons of God. In other words, they will have the honor of being identified as children of "the God of peace" (Romans 15:33). As The Message Bible puts it, "That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family" (Matthew 5:9b). To live as a child of God is to have the greatest relationship in the world. It's a relationship made possible by the Prince of Peace: "for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith" (Galatians 3:26).

A peacemaker actively works toward peace. Whether it's to provide peace between two people or two nations, our world is in much need of those who represent the heart of God to bring peace to broken relationships. Those who assist in such efforts will find joy in the experience of seeing people reconciled to one another and to God. Every believer should be a peacemaker in the sense of spreading the good news that peace with God is possible. "Peace" was part of the angels' message to the shepherds when Jesus was born (Luke 2:14). "Peace" is part of our message to the world because God "through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

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