Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sending the Seventy, part 8: The Man of Peace

Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. (Luke 10:5-6 NASB)

Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. (Psalms 37:37 NASB)

When the seventy "sent ones" entered a village, they were to look for a "man of peace" and accept his hospitality. That "man of peace" would be the starting point for their evangelistic efforts. They would share the good news of Jesus and offer healing in His name. If it is important to begin with a "man of peace", how do you recognize him? www.ethnicharvest.org addresses this question and offers the following information. 

"You can identify him or her by three R's, according to Thom Wolf, a leading proponent of the concept who teaches at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. The person of peace (1) is receptive to the Gospel; (2) possesses a reputation to gain attention for the message among family and community; and (3) effectively refers the bearers of good news to that larger group."1

Oddly enough, this "man of peace" type of evangelism has recently been "rediscovered" and has been found to be quite effective in areas previously hostile to the gospel. The method of evangelism Jesus used actually works to bring people to Him! 

The man of peace is a leader in his community, is well-connected, and is receptive to the truth of the gospel. When the man of peace connects the "sent ones" with those in his sphere of influence and those people come to know Jesus, he has an important part in the harvest of souls. What is amazing to me is that the psalmist, writing centuries before Jesus was born, spoke of that very thing. "The man of peace will have a posterity," he wrote, and indeed he does.

The "man of peace" is not just an catchphrase for modern evangelistic efforts, however. We, too, need to be men and women of peace. According to Psalm 37, the man of peace is blameless and upright. Because of the purity of his heart and the depth of his faith, his life is marked by peace. This time of year, more than any other, we speak of the peace Christ came to bring, yet have difficulty keeping our focus on Jesus and His peace rather than the commercialization of the season. Are we men and women of peace? It was what Jesus intended we would be, and He offered His own peace to assure that very thing. 

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27 NASB)

In the midst of a busy season, when the world offers everything except peace, let us turn toward Jesus and embrace the peace that only He can give. May we live in such a way, blameless and upright, that His peace will remain and become a beacon of love and hope in a dark and lonely world.

1)http://www.ethnicharvest.org/links/articles/bridges_man_of_peace.htm
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