A peacemaker separates herself from her own interests and whims and what is best for her.
The peacemaker (Gk eirenopoioi, v. 9) strive for harmony in all areas of life as a reflection on the inner peace that God brings to His children. Jesus taught that peace will only come when people have peace with God. The Beatitude raises the bar to the highest intimacy with the heavenly Father (Mt 5:45). The word moves beyond the idea of political and economic stability to include total well-being in the spiritual realm as well. Peacemakers want more than an end of conflict. They want healing among the people, ultimately dependant on reconciliation with God. This derivation of the Greek word for peacemakers is used only here in the New Testament. It refers to one who makes peace and seeks reconciliation rather than to one who is passive and seeking peace at any cost. A peacemaker separates herself from her own interests and whims and what is best for her. She becomes others-oriented with a deep concern for how the kingdom will be impacted by her actions. She is willing to suffer injustice in order for peace to reign and Christ to be magnified. To be called sons of God (v. 9) was not a gender assignment but an honorable title that went beyond personal identification to acknowledge publicly your relationship to the Lord and your place in His family.
Those persecuted for righteousness will have the kingdom of heaven (v. 10), having come full circle to offer the same reward as the first beatitude and best displaying the paradoxical nature of Christ’s kingdom. Persecution was considered a blessing in Christ’s kingdom because it allowed a person to empathize with the sufferings of Christ. Jesus did not promise vindication, but a reward in heaven awaited the person who persevered. Persecution begins when you commit yourself to Christ and it intensifies as you become more and more like the Savior. The world expects compromise and the path of least resistance, but Christ demands a gentle spirit and purity of heart and life in view of these three persecutions:
- insult (Gk oueidisosin, “reproach, revile, heap insults upon”);
- persecute (Gk dioxosin, “seek after, strive for,” and in its root meaning “pursue”) in the sense that the world was running after believers to cause them suffering;
- falsely say every kind of evil against you (Gk pseudomenoi, “lying”) referred to defamation of character or deception by falsehood. The tense of each of these verbs describing these categories of suffering suggests that the event happened at a particular time in the past instead of being an ongoing and continual action. Persecution happens, but it is not necessarily a continuous experience. There is a window of hope for earthly relief and the assurance of ultimate heavenly deliverance. In verse 12 Jesus used a strong word to express rejoicing (Gk chairete from the root meaning “grace”), and it was amplified with another verb, suggesting increasing intensity of joy (Gk agalliasthe, “rejoice, greatly, jump for joy”). The persecution in itself does not bring joy but often affirms that you belonged to Christ, giving you a unique opportunity to glorify Christ and bear your testimony for Him.
Excerpt from Dorothy Kelley Patterson, “The Blessed Woman,” in The Study Bible for Women (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2014), 1248.