Matthew 5:9-12 “Blessed are the peacemakers…blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…”

Matthew 5:9-12 “Blessed are the peacemakers…blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness…”

“Blessed are the peacemakers” or peaceable

     Again, this series of blessings build on one another but are understood that all are needed and important. Bible references to peace occur over 400 times. Any day on the news you can witness the absence of peace. But notice that peace in this context rests on the peacemakers and centered on our participation in making peace. 

     Although the Prince of Peace will restore all things one day, we also have a calling to be peacemakers. Zealots in the day of Jesus-I wonder what they thought of this statement? This is not part of their agenda.

Peacemakers-What it is not:  

  1. Not really appeasement. That really doesn’t give peace. It is a payoff for an agreement.      
  2. Not really peace lovers song “All we are saying is give peace a chance”
  3. Not the avoidance of conflict-sometimes to make peace, you have conflict.
  4. Not avoidance of the truth-I Kings 18:17-18 Ahab called Elijah “the troublemaker of Israel”

 Peacemaking-What is it? Peacemaking comes at a cost! Jesus purchased peace at a cost. What is your cost?    

  1. It is done by those who already have experienced peace with God. (They are poor, mourn, hunger, etc)
  2. It is done by those who continue to preserve peace. It is an attitude of desiring peace 1 Pet. 3:11
  3. It is done by those who are active not just passively hoping. Rom 12:18 Called “sons of God” (not children), Jesus desires that we be mature sons that reflect the nature of our Father.

 v. 10-12 “Persecuted because of righteousness…”

     It is no accident that Jesus moves from peacemaking to persecution. Peacemakers are always welcomed but persecution is not. Persecution is not a new topic in the NT (Matt. 23:35-6). Opposition is really a normal part of being a disciple of Jesus just like the other 7 Beattitudes. Genuine righteousness can be offensive to the world.

     Verses 11-12 are simply an expansion or deeper explanation of persecution in verse 10. Note that the list starts with “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and ends with the same promise (a unit thought).

     Insult Gr. Defame or chide persecute say evil falsely Gr. Harmful and malicious (“For my Sake”)

This covers physical, emotional and verbal abuse. This is the only one that happens to you and not in you. Luke’s version of this says, “Blessed are you when men hate you…exclude…insult…reject…because of (6:23).

  1. We should not be persecuted for our foolishness. The Gospel is foolishness to the unbeliever, not us (1 Cor. 2)
  2. We are not persecuted for our offensive actions (some proclaim religious persecution for their offensiveness)

Jesus said “persecution because of righteousness.” This is the point. Look at the life of Joseph or Daniel. Both were persecuted for righteousness.

 What is the prescription for persecution?

  1. Do not fight back, but REJOICE
  2. Do not think about the present circumstance, the reward is the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
  3. Do not think that you are alone, “IN THE SAME WAY, they persecuted the prophets…”
  4. Do not think of yourself, “BECAUSE OF ME.”

      Paul was the chief persecutor of Christians and then Jesus said, “Paul, why do you persecute me? Acts showed the persecuted church in the lives of Stephen, James (brother of John), Paul and others. The Edict of Milan: The persecution of the church came to an end in a legal way on March, 313 AD. Roman persecution did not stop the growth of the church. The church became legal with the government. Certainly it was a blessing but one wonders if that was a great of blessing as it is portrayed? (persecution on paper ceased for a season but soon it emerged again) Paul reminded Timothy of the fate of genuine discipleship.  “All that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12).

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