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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, PART 3

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Jesus is our peace and He has made peace.

Jesus surrendered His life into the violent hands of the corrupt Jewish leaders and the tyrannical Roman authorities. He gave His life as a sacrifice to be scourged, beaten, and crucified.

Not because God needed a violent sacrifice to be appeased – as many Christians wrongly seem to think. God is not some pagan Volcano god who requires a young, virgin, island girl to be thrown into the flames to placate his anger.

The sacrifice of the cross was the enemy-embracing, non-violent, sacrifice of love that God made through Jesus to bring the violent evil and sin of mankind to an end with His death. The light of His love conquered the darkness of our self-centered evil and violence with His resurrection from the dead to give us peace with God and peace with each other.

The apostle Paul’s words about the end of hostility between Jews and Gentiles also applies to the hostility between all people:

“For Jesus himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:14-17)

Jesus preached peace and is now making peace through us – a new, reconciled humanity!

King Jesus established His Kingdom-reign of peace on earth through His teaching, His ministry of mercy, and finally with His sacrifice of love at the cross.

By preaching and making peace, King Jesus declares that every single woman, man, and child, no matter what nationality or background is a made-in-the-image-of-God child of the heavenly Father. Not everyone knows this yet, believes it now, or is living out of this identity. But it’s already a reality in Jesus.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.

And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

King Jesus began a sacrificial-love, peace revolution that we’ve been enlisted into as His followers.

He is advancing the reconciling peace of His kingdom through us, His brothers and sisters – baptized into union with Jesus as beloved sons and daughters of God our Father and anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit.

In His Sermon on the Mount teaching for His kingdom community, Jesus says in the seventh beatitude – or “happiness” statement: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Jesus gives us true happiness in life as we trust in Him, the Peacemaker, and as He makes us to be peacemakers like Him. In our life-transforming union with Jesus and the peace we share in Him, we are reconciling peacemakers who serve others with His non-violent, enemy-embracing, sacrificial love.

Our self-centered thinking will resist this and it will certainly befuddle those with the world’s mindset of strength through violent power. But this is the supernatural kingdom life of Jesus’s goodness that conquers all evil.

Consider the peacemaking life Jesus works in us:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matthew 5:38-39)

When someone insults or hurts us, Jesus says we need not retaliate with anger, threats, or violence in order to take revenge or get pay-back. (Jesus is not saying we can’t protect ourselves or keep ourselves from becoming objects of violence – let’s be clear on this!)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate you enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”(Matthew 5:43-45)

God’s peace works through us when we extend the goodness of His mercy, forgiveness, and love to those who oppose us, to those who are “enemies.”

When Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed for His enemies – including sinners like us – who crucified Him as He spoke these words, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Prayerfully reflect on the lyrics of the recent song by The Brilliance, called “My Brother”:

When I look into the face

Of my enemy

I see my brother

I see my brother

 

Forgiveness is the garment

Of our courage

The power to make the peace

We long to know

Open up our eyes

To see the wounds that bind

All of humankind

May our shutter hearts

Greet the dawn of life

With charity and love

 

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, blesses us with the joy of living as peacemakers. Together we are and one day will all be called children of God.

 

(Next week we will continue with “Blessed are those who are persecuted.”)

Read 355 times Last modified on Friday, April 28, 2017

Meet Pastor Chris

  • Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about. While my interests were in art…

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