“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”â€“ Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
If I’m going to figure out what Jesus meant by the term peacemaker (assuming he intended â€œone who makes peaceâ€), then I guess the place to start here is by trying to figure out what Jesus meant by the term which we translate â€œpeaceâ€ in English.
My Scribner-Bantam English Dictionary defines peace this way, â€œ1. freedom from or cessation of war; 2. friendly international relations; 3. any state of calm or tranquility; 4. public orderâ€
Now we’ve got four slightly nuanced understandings for the same word. Did Jesus mean one of these? If so, which one? If not, what did he mean?
I mean did Jesus mean to say, â€œBlessed are those who make friendly international relations, for they will be called sons of God.â€?
That seems a little silly and wide of the mark to me.
Because of the potential to misunderstand the actual intent behind the words, I’m not willing to just assume Jesus meant, â€œBlessed are those who make freedom from or cessation of war, for they will be called the sons of Godâ€ either.
If I’m going to get anywhere, I’ve got to go to the source. What is the Biblical understanding of the word peace? Throughout the Bible does the term peace simply refer to an absence of war, or does it mean something different?
And here’s where it may get interesting. A word search in my Bible software shows that the NIV translation of the Bible uses the word peace 250 times. The King James Version uses the word 429 times.
This is obviously going to take me some time. And then once I finally get an accurate understanding of the Biblical concept of peace, I’ve got another question to answer. Who actually are the sons of God? Because it is in that half of the statement that we see the blessing part of Jesus’ statement (i.e. the good stuff).
But right now I’ve got to go to work.