The Covenant of Peace
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
There were many thoughts in Jesus’ mind as He spoke about being “peacemakers”. Surely, He had in mind the thoughts of Isaiah who prophesied that God would give a new “covenant of peace” to Israel.
” ‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,’
Says the Lord, Your Redeemer.
‘For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My Covenant of Peace be removed,’
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”
Jesus was not just talking about “peace” in a very general sense of the word. He was talking about an actual covenant with God marked by peace! This was something worth proclaiming indeed. The Covenant of Peace is otherwise known as “The New Covenant” in the language of Jeremiah the prophet.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a New Covenant with the
house of Israel and with the house of Judah –
not according to the covenant that I made with
their fathers in the day that I took them by the
hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My
covenant which they broke…
But this is the Covenant that I will make with the
house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My law in their minds, and write it on
their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall
be My people. No more shall every man teach his
neighbour, and every man his brother, saying,
‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me,
from the least of them to the greatest of them,
says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity,
and their sin I will remember no more.”
THE PURSUIT OF PEACE
Jesus was essentially calling the disciples to proclaim the message of peace! If they were to do that faithfully, they would be good sons of God indeed. Another level of thought may also be found in this Beatitude. This may be best expressed in this text from the Book of Psalms.
“Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.”
The concept of peace is put across in the most interesting way.
1. It is presented as the antithesis of evil.
a) The evil tongue is to be rejected.
b) The evil tongue speaks deceit.
2. It is presented as the virtue of “goodness” that must be pursued.
a) Good deeds are to be done.
b) Peace is pursued as a lifestyle.
“BUT WE SEE JESUS”
This term was a lofty one indeed. A comparable phrase was used by the author of Hebrews. He wrote of how Jesus brought many sons to glory.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower
than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned
with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God,
might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him,
for whom are all things and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain
of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Jesus was the Perfect Example. He was able to bring many sons to glory through the proclamation of the Gospel of peace. Much more wonderful was the sacrifice that He made. He was willing to taste death for everyone, and by so doing, confirmed the message of peace and salvation. He called His disciples to be “peacemakers”.