Peacemaking Children

Bible Book: Matthew  5 : 9
Subject: Beatitude; Peacemakers; Christian Living
Series: Blessed (The Beatitudes)

Occasionally my two children will squabble and bicker, and I will step in and exercise my authority to bring an end to their conflict.

Usually what I press upon them is the reality that if they don’t make peace with one another, I am going to declare war on them both, and there is no doubt as to my victory.

What they don’t realize is that I am an old-school sibling scrapper. I grew up with two brothers and I know a thing or two about a good family brawl. They are blowing kisses at each other compared to some of the battles I’ve been in.

In Matthew 5:9, Jesus describes for us a family that doesn’t fight. They are the peacemakers, and in a way, they actually fight against fighting.

Unlike the peace by force that I impose upon my children, the peacemakers don’t muscle their way to peace; they make it. They counter conflict by the creation of peace.

In a world of clinched fists and raised voices, where conflicts of every kind, from inter-office politics to threats of nuclear war, are prevalent, the peacemakers can make a difference.

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Peacemakers release tension; they don’t intensify it. Peacemakers seek solutions and find no delight in arguments. Peacemakers calm the waters, they don’t trouble them.”1

What we find in this beatitude is that peacemakers calm trouble waters only as they follow Him whose voice calmed the storm and stilled the sea.

Only in Jesus is this beatitude fulfilled, for He is the Peacemaker. You cannot make peace with others without peace from Him, and you cannot be blessed without the blessing that only He can give you.

Peacemakers make peace out of the peace they have experienced themselves as a result of the gospel and their relationship to Jesus.

As we ponder these words of Jesus together, we need to think carefully about whether or not we are making any peace in a world that could desperately use it.

Looking at this beatitude, consider with me that:


What Jesus describes here is not passivity. It is not a peace brokered through inactivity or a mere unwillingness to fight for anything.

Peacemakers are not simply opposed to fighting. They are not the ones who “burn their draft cards down on Main Street,” to quote Merle Haggard.

Peacemakers are active and busy, and actually pursuing the true peace they wish to make in the midst of conflict.

To understand this, notice with me that:

A. They are not waiting for the possibility of peace

We need to make sure we read this correctly. Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the peacekeepers…”

That would paint a picture of someone who is at peace and simply does nothing to disrupt it. They would not be peace breakers, and I suppose that is commendable, but they would also not be peacemakers.

Peacemakers seek to make peace where there is none. They are not simply pacifists, who stand aside from any and all conflict. Peacemakers go where the conflict is and seek to make peace there.

Some 220 chaplains served the colonies during the Revolutionary War. It is said that at regimental inspections, when the soldiers would raise their muskets to “present arms”, the chaplains would raise their Bibles.2

That is a pretty good picture of the peacemakers. They move with the Word of God into the midst of the world of war.

When peacemakers see discord and strife, they don’t run from it; they run to it. They don’t like conflict, obviously, but they know that where there is conflict, peace is most needed.

In a way, they are like firefighters. They know fire is dangerous, and they know the damage it can do, but when something is on fire, they are the ones running to it.

Peacemakers are not content to just keep their head down while everyone else is firing. They want a ceasefire, but they will not wait for someone else to draw up the papers.

Are you actively working to make peace with others and between others? Are you working in the midst of conflict and discord to create peace? It is easier just to mind your own business, but making peace is the peacemaker’s business.

Having said that, we have to caveat this aggressive, active pursuit of peace by recognizing also that when Jesus speaks of the peacemakers, behind His words is the reality that:

B. They are not weak in the process of peace

Before World War II, when the Treaty of Versailles was essentially overturned, the Arch Bishop of York said that in renegotiating that treaty, Adolf Hitler had, “made a great contribution to the secure establishment of peace.”3

Of course, history bore out that it was a peace negotiated with the devil, and a peace that only made way for more war.

The peacemakers of whom Jesus speaks in this beatitude are not those who seek peace at any cost, especially not at the cost of truth.

The peacemakers don’t make a peace that allows wrong to triumph and truth to suffer. They work to make peace that reflects the God for whom and by whom they make it.

In II Corinthians 5:20, the Apostle Paul describes it as the work of an ambassador. He writes:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

The peacemaker works as an ambassador for Christ, and the only terms of peace we can ever offer are terms that He has spelled out.

The new United States ambassador to China is a man named Terry Branstad, the former governor of Iowa. His job is to speak to the government of China on behalf of our country.

Mr. Branstad may want to maintain peace with the country where he works, but he cannot do so at the expense of the country for which he works. He has no authority in China that does not come from Washington.

So also, believers who actively work as peacemakers cannot make peace contrary to the gospel, contrary to the Scripture, and contrary to Jesus.

This is important because the world would often have the church roll over and take whatever terms they offer us, sacrificing truth on the altar of a one-sided peace.

While we certainly want to make peace, we cannot do so with ingredients other than the ones by which our own peace was made.

That leads us then to consider a second truth we draw from this beatitude. We find not only that peacemakers are active in the pursuit of peace, but also that:


While the peacemakers of whom Jesus speaks in this beatitude are working for the creation of peace, they are not working in a peace vacuum.

In fact, the peace they make directly comes from the peace that has been made with them and for them.

In other words, if you don’t already have peace yourself, you won’t make it anywhere else for anyone else.

Think about these peacemakers and the peace that is already present in their lives and enables them to make peace around their lives. Recognize that:

A. They experienced peace through the gospel

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” I remind you that while He spoke these words before a crowd, He spoke them most directly and specifically to His disciples.

He is speaking therefore to people who believe on Him, and who are presently following Him. Those people will want to make peace, because Jesus has first made peace for them.

In the gospel that makes these beatitudes possible, Jesus gives peace to His people. What kind of peace do they have?

They have peace with God. They were enemies of God, but through Jesus and His sacrifice, they have been reconciled to God, and their sinful conflict against Him has been resolved.

They have the peace of God. Knowing they are reconciled to Him, they fear nothing else. The world may broil around them and trouble may brew on every side, but they are unusually settled and at peace.

They also then have peace with others. They have forgiven all of their enemies because they have been forgiven themselves. They are not at war with anyone but sin and Satan, and otherwise, they are peaceable and at peace.

As they go out into the world to make peace, they don’t have to manufacture it, to fake it, to act as if there is peace where there is none.

They draw from the well of peace that has been opened in their lives through the gospel. The smoke has cleared, the battle is over, the war is won, and they are simply spreading the peace that pours out of their own hearts and lives.

Consequently, if it always seems as if you have some conflict going with somebody around you – always at fisticuffs and fussing with someone somewhere – that may not be so much a reflection of how bad everyone else is, but rather a reflection of how empty you are.

The peacemakers have beat their daggers and knives into serving spoons, and they will be found feeding their enemies, before they will fight them again.

These peacemakers have experienced true and full peace through the gospel, and with that we realize that:

B. They extend peace through the gospel

As I said, the peacemakers don’t manufacture peace on their own, or of their own. The very means that brought peace into their lives is the same means through which peace flows from their lives.

So what do the peacemakers that Jesus has in mind here actually do? Do they protest war? Do they interrupt arguments? Are they simply bleeding-heart meddlers who just want everybody to get along?

These peacemakers make peace through the gospel. They don’t want war. They don’t want arguments. They do want everyone to get along.

But they way they go about pursuing this is first and foremost by telling out, and then living out, the gospel.

If you don’t share your faith, you are not a peacemaker, no matter how many fights you may break up.

This is true because no matter what the cause of the conflict, the cure is the gospel. And if warring parties simply put their fists down, there is still another fight soon to come, unless their hearts are changed and they follow Jesus.

I am not saying that peacemakers do nothing but share the gospel, but I am saying that nothing they do will fully bring peace without the gospel.

Nations have signed peace treaties, and still hated each other as much afterwards as when the bullets and bombs were firing.

A treaty may cease the firing, but only the gospel can make enemies love one another, and make families out of former foes.

That leads to see something further in this beatitude. We recognize not only that peacemakers are active in the pursuit of peace, and that peacemakers are aided by the presence of peace, but also we find that:


As with each of these beatitudes that Jesus gives, there is a promise attached to the blessing of being a peacemaker.

This particular promise is arguably the most amazing of them all. It says, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

The only begotten Son of God said the peacemakers will join Him in the family of God, and become sons and daughters of God themselves.

We join Jesus when we are peacemakers. We are associated with Him in His work, and in His identity. Consider this with me and think of what this promise means. It means that:

A. We follow the first of the peacemakers

Long before the birth of Jesus, the Prophet Isaiah predicted that He would be called “the Prince of Peace”.

One day, when He returns to reign on this earth, His kingdom will be a kingdom of everlasting peace.

But even before that day comes, He has earned His title as the Prince of Peace by being the first among the peacemakers.

Listen carefully to how the Apostle Paul describes the peacemaking work of Jesus. In Colossians 1:20-21, he wrote:

“And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.”

Jesus went to the violent, vicious death of His cross as a peacemaker. He went there to reconcile a holy God with His sinful and rebellious creatures.

As the perfect man, His righteousness satisfied the demands of God. As the sinless sacrifice, His death satisfied the payment for sinners.

The cross becomes the place where sinners are reconciled to God. It marks the end of the long conflict that began in Eden. It is where peace on earth comes to the battlefield of earth, and where rebellious soldiers become beloved sons.

Those who follow Jesus, therefore, have sided with peace. They have accepted the gracious terms of peace from heaven, and now they extend those generous terms through their lives on earth.

In other words, the first peacemaker makes peacemakers out of us. His cross becomes the ground zero of peace, but that peace spreads out into our homes, our jobs, our communities, our country, and our world.

If you as a believer are really following Him, peace will follow you. Your life will no longer be marked by hostility, but civility and generosity and mercy.

Ephesians 6:15 calls us to put our feet into the shoes prepared with the gospel of peace. Believers don’t walk around in combat boots, ready to battle anyone who crosses them.

They are following a Savior who has made peace for them, and when they are in His steps, they don’t stomp. They walk with peace.

And the promise of Matthew 5:9 not only teaches us that we are following the first of the peacemakers, but also that:

B. We form the family of the peacemakers

Again, we read that the peacemakers are truly happy and really blessed because, “…they shall be called the children of God.”

Jesus said that the peacemakers shall be called the children of God, but who exactly will call them that. That is important.

The Apostle John speaks to this. In I John 3:1, He wrote:

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

If you are a peacemaker in this world, you will quickly find that not everyone wants peace, and not everyone will recognize you as a child of God when you try to make peace.

But what is important is that your Father in heaven calls you His child. He sees you seeking to make peace, and He smiles with pleasure on you as you do.

The peacemakers are forming a family alongside their elder brother, Jesus. We are setting up a family resemblance that may not immediately be apparent to our world, but is clear to our God, and ought to be clear to us.

What this means is that if there is anywhere where there ought to be peace, it is in this family. If there is anyone who ought to be at peace with one another, it is the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

We may not be able to make them stop warring in Syria, and we can’t make them stop bickering in Washington. But we can be peacemakers here. We can live in peace now.

The neighbors may be yelling and fighting, but in this family, there should be peace, for we are forming the family of the peacemakers.

I mentioned in the beginning that I was an old-school sibling scrapper, and indeed, my brothers and I had our share of battles.

My mom, God love her, had a unique way of dealing with our fights. When she had finally had enough of our arguments she would say, “Now hug your brother until you mean it.”

There would we stand, embracing our bitter foe in a hug. It was harder than getting a whipping. But she was teaching us something.

Loving one another is something you sometimes have to make yourself do. Making peace isn’t always easy, but it is always right, and it is always what the children of God do.

After Abraham Lincoln died, amid his papers was found a fragment on which the president had written these words:

“In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.”4

By His words and by His cross, Jesus declares that He is on the side of peace. He made peace for His people, and those who would side with Him must be peacemakers as well.

As the children of God, and the brothers and sisters of our Lord, peacemaking is our family business, and truly we are blessed if we are making peace.


1 Swindoll, Charles, Simple Faith, (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2003), p. 36

2 Townsend, Tim, Mission at Nuremburg, (Harper Collins, New York, 2014), p. 52

3 Johnson, Paul, Churchill, (Viking, New York, 2009), p. 94

4 Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals, (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2005), p. 479