Like it or not, Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk were peacemakers. Certainly they had negotiators assisting them, but as opposing leaders they saw beyond themselves and their political groupings to a people and a nation that were literally on the verge of war.
I am aware how many people from my ethnicity feared 1990 to 1994. So many people had their steel boxes filled with eating, drinking, toilet and clothing necessities that would last a few months because for many, a civil war was going to break out. Yet through the statesmanship of these two brave men, chaos was averted, war was prevented and peace was ushered in. Even if people today won’t believe what they did, why did the Nobel Prize Organization award the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 jointly to Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk on 10 December that year “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”? (NobelPrize.org).
So, like it or not, these were great men, brave men … raised up by God for that moment in our country’s history. Some comments before continuing …
(1) We need to pray for peacemakers to mediate a peaceful solution to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the latter’s response.
(2) However, peace between warring nations and warring people is not the immediate object of this beatitude. It is a product of this beatitude but not its primary purpose. Yesterday morning I went walking and one neighbor was returning from his run. Today as I went out and another neighbor was about to go cycling. We are three neighbors with three different exercise disciplines. Three persons, three different beings. God is Triune … three persons but one being. Each fulfilling his functions … yet as strange as it is to understand, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one being and whatever the one does is also credited to the others. Take creation … God created by the Spirit, yet Jesus created. What the One does is credited to the other. Another example is the New Creation (Salvation). God saves. It is the Father’s Rescue Plan; It is executed by the Son and applied by the Holy Spirit. So … when saying what one person of the Trinity does, they are all credited with what is done because we have one God not three Gods. Having those illustrations in our minds …
1) Meaning of peacemaker. The word “pacific” is associated with peacemaker, meaning peaceful in character or intent. It refers to one loving peace, being calm, tranquil and non-violent.
2) God is the Peacemaker. Midian were a constant pain to the Israelites, attacking and looting them. In response to Israel calling out to God, He raise up Gideon to deliver them. Gideon was initially reluctant, yet God convinced him through “the Angel of the Lord” (mostly seen as God the Son).
Ju 6:22When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD? I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” 23 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace.
God’s real name is LORD and in response to his experience, Gideon builds an altar and dedicates it to and calls it … “The LORD is Peace”. One of God’s attributes is peace. Peace originates with God. Paul picks up this theme:
Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Knowing God through Jesus Christ means knowing His peace and although difficult to grasp and understand it, this peace is the protector of both our hearts and minds, preventing worry, fear and anxiety which incapacitates one. You see, the devil, our enemy offers us everything that causes rebellion against God. He does not want the believer to know and have God’s peace. Yet the faithful in Christ have peace because our Lord is the Prince of Peace!
Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
His peace is not brought about through violent wars but through His death on the Cross. It is true that the devil and all his followers will experience eternal violence in damnation for their persistent, willing rebellion … but all believers, because of the shed blood, know peace and will continue to know peace … which transcends all understanding, (and) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
3) Peacemakers are those whose character is shaped daily by the Holy Spirit as the Word is meditated upon and applied. Through this they revere God as Father because His character is their model to emulate as they live under the Lordship of Jesus and have their morals and ethics governed by the Holy Spirit. This is sonship because sonship means being transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ!
4) Peacemaking is Evangelism. It is making the Great Peacemaker known. Surely this ought to be the most important aspect of our Christianity! Tell people about Jesus so that they have the opportunity of believing, repenting and being saved. Then they will know peace in their hearts and minds and they will enjoy eternal peace with God in heaven. A good friend called me from another country asking me to visit someone in our country who is on his death bed. This man’s illness came quickly and will take his life soon. My friend is concerned about this man’s soul. To him, this man’s salvation is more important than anything else. That is how we ought to be. We know the peace of God through the Cross, therefore we need to obey the great commission and seek that others know this peace too. To do this we need to be able to explain the Gospel so that we can show others the way to have the peace we have.
5) The results of peacemaking are far reaching. Once you know God’s peace you will want your family, colleagues, friends, neighbors, fellow students … in fact, you will want society to be transformed by Jesus Christ.
Blessed Lord, God of peace and giver of peace to all cleansed in the Blood of the Lord Jesus, continue to apply Your peace to me so that I will live for You as an agent of peace for Jesus. Amen.