Saturday, October 08, 2016

Fresh Studies in Matthew: Matthew 5:9 Again

I am still stuck on peacemakers.  Like mercy, this is a lifestyle, not just the resolution of conflict, but the dispelling of conflict before it starts.  To the extent one is in leadership, one can create conditions for peace to flourish.  That is also making peace.
Not that we can “condition” the reasons for conflict out of people, however.  We are sinners and conflict due to our selfishness is going to happen.  But if peacemaking is possible after the fact through a grace-filled action than it should be possible before the fact through grace-filled action. 
Les this sound like appeasement, or trying to keep the angry people tamped down by walking on eggshells, I would say it’s even less that.  Engaging the angry in terms of their angers, understanding the causes of anger, might be a start.  Angry people are angry for a reason.  We are not just born this way (one of the most perfidious lies there is today).  We are not just angry because we grew up in certain conditions.  Engaging anger and conflict before and after is part of peacemaking a diplomacy.  We do bring peace by the gospel.  Isaiah 52:7 is the Old Testament reference here.
All this to say that Jesus does come with soothing words for those who reject him.  If he is God, he gets to call the shots, and some of that could be “offensive” to those who don’t want a Jesus of strength, just a tolerant Jesus who didn’t say anything about certain sins (because it was assumed that Jews of that time would not partake of them.)
In the end, the Beatitudes cannot be studied outside of the larger context of what Jesus was saying and doing.
What meaning does one’s life have if not anchored in the past?  But what past?
Finally, the Holman translates this verse, “The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.”  This is problematic.  They are not the only ones who will be called sons of God, but peacemakers have a special designation here.  Making peace is a godly attribute.  None of the others say this, and Luke has a similar sermon but this verse is not there.  Peace, of course, to the Jewish mind was much more than getting along with people, or not international conflict.  Peace as a concept is in the Bible a great deal.  I am puzzled by this verse and wonder why we don’t value peacemaking through the gospel.

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