Matthew 5:9, blessed are the peacemakers
5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”
(Matt 5:9 WEB)
Called children of God
In the Hebrew Bible, peace implied much more than simply an absence of hostility, it also embraced wholeness, harmony, completeness and health. It was seen as the outcome of righteousness and a deep commitment to the work of ensuring justice.
God is the author of peace, bringing it through a covenant of peace with his people. Before Jesus, God’s servants, the king, the priests and the Levites, were the peacemakers. They established peace and then maintained it by administering justice, judging disputes, and educating people in the law. However, they were also responsible for offering the sacrifices that maintained their people’s right relationship with God.
The prophet Malachi queries the priests of his day. Why, he asks, if God is their Heavenly Father (i.e. they are His children), have they been faithless to the covenant of peace that God established with their fathers (Mal 2:10, cf. Num 25:12)? When the way of righteousness is restored, then those priests who have been busy about their father’s business will be called sons of God.
This Beatitude, uttered near the start of Jesus’ ministry, foreshadowed the peacemaking role that he himself undertook, as, through his work upon the cross, he made peace between men and God. It is a role that Christians are called to follow.