Lesson Eight: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Main idea: Children of God are peacemakers. They help bring people to God and they do their best to get along with everyone.
- Read Scripture references and Luke 10:25-37, 1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 2:13-18
- Gather: Bible; dry erase markers or chart paper and markers; BEEATTITUDES poster; tennis balls; craft magnets; glue or tape; scissors; crayons; paper clips; string; “fishing for peace” printout
- Take time to meditate on this week’s Scripture and think about your own life. Are you a peacemaker, or do you spend time quarreling or gossiping about others? Do you deeply care for the salvation of the lost people in your life, or do you figure that it’s none of your business? To whom can you bring the peace of Jesus this week?
- Matthew 5:1-12
- Isaiah 9:6
- Mark 12:30-31
- Colossians 1:19-20
- James 4:4
- Romans 5:1
- Romans 12:18
Game: Bee at Peace
This game is meant to be played with a partner. The object is to move one bee (tennis ball) from one end of the room to the hive (bucket) at the other end of the room so the bee can be reconciled, brought together with, and at peace with his fellow bees. The trick is, you cannot use your hands to move the bee! Both partners ought to be touching the bee for most of the move. Make this game more difficult by putting obstacles in the way. For example, start with all the bees in a chair, and then require the students to walk over boxes and under tables with their bee to deliver them back to the hive.
Open in prayer, then say this is our eighth week studying the Beatitudes! Can you believe we have spent a whole two months learning about what it means to be blessed by God? We have learned so much in our time together! We have learned that the Beatitudes tell us what our attitudes should be. That’s why we have been playing so many bee related games and making crafts about bees. Whenever we see a bumblebee, we will remember what our attitude should be. The first three Beatitudes didn’t really seem like blessings when we first started studying them. They were all about being empty and humble and broken before the Lord. Then we learned that God fills up our hearts when we crave being made right with him. We have learned that we are blessed when we are merciful and pure in heart. Today we will learn about another Beatitude that fills up our heart to overflowing and pours out into the lives of others. Let’s read the whole Beatitudes passage is Matthew 5:1-12 before we learn about the seventh Beatitude. (Read, or have a student read, Matthew 5:1-12.)
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’”
Today’s Beatitude is “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Write “peacemaker” on the board.) What does it mean to be a peacemaker? (Allow students to answer.) A peacemaker makes peace. (Write “makes peace” on the board under “peacemaker.”)
What does peace mean? (Allow students to answer.) Peace means calm, getting along, or nit fighting. When a country is in a time of peace, it means it is not at war with any other countries. A lake that is smooth and calm with no ripples or splashes in the water is peaceful. Sometimes your mom may ask you and your siblings to calm down and stop fighting so she can have some peace. She wants you all to get along. So a peacemaker is someone who helps everyone to get along without fighting.
We get our example of a peacemaker from the Bible, of course. Isaiah 9:6 says, “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.” Who is this verse talking about? (Allow students to answer.) Jesus, of course! Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is our example of how to bring peace and get along with everyone. Jesus is the Son of God. When we follow Jesus by making peace, we are showing that we are children of God, like Jesus is. So let’s have a sword drill to see what Jesus means by making peace. Take all fingers and bookmarks out of your Bibles and hold them above your heads. When I say go, look up Mark 12:30-31. Go! (Read, or have a student read Mark 12:30-31.) “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” So we make peace by loving our neighbors. The greatest commandment is also recorded in Luke chapter ten. In that book, a guy asks Jesus who his neighbor is, and Jesus answers with the story of the Good Samaritan. That’s a story you all know very well by now, since we just studied it a couple of weeks ago. Let me review it quickly. A Jewish man got beat up, robbed and left to die on the side or the road. A priest and a Levite both walked by and did nothing to save the poor guy. Then a Samaritan, who was the Jews’ worst enemy, came by and went out of his way to take care of the injured man. Jesus says that it was this enemy who was the real neighbor to the man in need.
This is an example of peacemaking. The Samaritan had mercy on the man who was considered his enemy. We looked at mercy a couple of weeks ago. I bring it up again to show how the Beatitudes build on each other. When we are merciful, we work to have pure hearts before God, not being distracted by things of the world. When we are focused on God, it is easier for us to be peacemakers because children of God aren’t distracted by the world’s idea of who we should like and who we should call an enemy. Children of God work to bring everyone together, to bring everyone to God.
The world wants us to believe that we have enemies. It may tell us to not like someone because their skin is a different color than ours, or because they speak differently than us, or they don’t believe in God like us, or maybe they are just plain mean. The world will tell you that it is okay to ignore those people who are different or mean. The world may even say it is okay to be mean in return. But we as children of God know better. We read in Colossians 1:19-20 that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,” (in Jesus) “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” God wants ALL things and ALL people to be reconciled to him. He wants to be at peace with everyone. Right now, God is not at peace with everyone. Let’s look at James 4:4. It says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” To be a friend of the world means to do things like the world does things, instead of doing things like Jesus does things. A LOT of people follow their own ways instead of following Jesus. When we do that, we are enemies with God. God doesn’t want this! He wants all people to be at peace with him! How can we make peace with God, according to Colossians 1:20? (Allow students to answer.) We make peace with God through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.
When we ask God to forgive our sins and then do our best to follow Jesus and trust him, we will be at peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus gives us peace. We were once enemies with God, following our own desires and our own ways. Now, if you are now a follower of Jesus, you became poor in spirit when you realized you are a sinner in need of a savior. You mourned over your sins and meekly submitted to God’s will. You became hungry and thirsty for a right heart with God. You showed mercy to others because God showed you mercy, and you purified your heart by asking God to take away your sins. If you are a Christian, the Beatitudes are a part of your life. The Bee Attitudes are what your attitudes should be when you follow Jesus. All the Beatitudes so far have built up to being a peacemaker. We are at peace with God, no longer against him, because we accept that Jesus died for our sins, and we humbly follow him.
It is our job to be like Christ. We are meant to be at peace with everyone, but this does not mean that we can force others to be at peace with us. Sometimes, as a child of God, people just won’t like you. We’ll get into that more next week. But for now, keep the words of Romans 12:18 in mind. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” You can’t make everyone happy. Sometimes people will just want to fight. But don’t give in! When this happens, continue to practice the Beatitudes. How can we practice being peacemakers? What are some practical things we can do? (List student answers on the board and add your own. Answers may include showing kindness to the school bully, becoming friends with the new kid, not talking back to your parents, playing nicely with your siblings.)
So we see that there are two parts to being a peacemaker. We are at peace with God when we know that Jesus died for our sins and when we do our best to follow him. We are at peace with other people when we do everything we can to get along with them. We show the other Beatitudes that we have learned so far. When we are at peace with people who don’t follow Jesus, they will start to see that there is something different about our lives, and they may start to follow Jesus themselves! When we, the children of God, are peacemakers, others will want to become peacemakers too.
Those who make peace are called children of God. We make peace between ourselves and God when we confess our sins and follow Jesus, we make peace with others when we choose to be kind and pure hearted and merciful, even when the world would say we should be enemies. And last of all, peacemakers live out good examples of Godly behavior so others will want to become peacemakers and children of God too.
There is one last important thing to mention as we wrap up today’s lesson. Peacemaking is only possible because Jesus made peace with God for us. While we follow sin we are enemies of God, saying NO to his good word. Jesus came to make peace, through his cross we can be totally forgiven and be welcomed back.
(End by adding the “peacemaker” bee to the “children of God” part of the hive on the BEEATTITUDES poster.)
End in prayer.
Craft: Fishing For Peace
The kids will create a little fishing game so they can “fish” for bees and reconcile them with God. Have everyone color a “fishing for peace” coloring page. Cut out all pieces. Place a metal paperclip on the wings of every bee. Tape or glue a craft magnet to the bottom of the cross. Punch a hole in the top of the cross and tie a string through it. The kids must use the magnet on the bottom of the cross to pick up the bees. They hold on to the top of the string and swing the cross over the bees until the magnet picks up a paperclip attached to a bee.