What is a Peacemaker?

What did Jesus probably mean by the word, “peacemaker”? The historical context of Jesus’ use of the word gives us an idea.[1] In Jesus’ time, there were the Zealots. One of Jesus’ followers was Simon, an ex-Zealot. The Zealots were a militant, anti-Roman revolutionary faction. They were both religious and political. They rejected Roman emperors, believing that only God is King. They rejected Roman laws, believing only in the Law of Moses. A zealot believes that he is God’s agent against idolatry, corruption, and cooperation with the occupying Romans.[2] They believed themselves to be loyal “sons of God.”

Jesus stressed, however, that His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. The blessed in the kingdom are not those who fight for God. Rather, the blessed are those who bring peace from God. The mark of the son of God is not war-making, but peacemaking. The sons of God are not those who make war. The sons of God are those who make peace.

There was a widow who had “Rest In Peace” put on her husband’s tombstone. When she found out that he left her out of his will, she had added, “TILL I COME.”

Jesus is not talking about peace-keeping, but peace-making. Peace-keepers just keep the peace while war is all around them. But peacemakers make peace. They end the quarrel, bringing two quarreling people together.[3]


[1] Hager, Matthew, 94.

[2] Walter A. Elwell and Philip W. Comfort, eds., Tyndale Bible Dictionary, “Zealot.”

[3] Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew (PNTC; ed. D. A. Carson; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 100.

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