The sons of peace cannot be easily recognized, because they do not attract public approval. This is unlike the proud people who are in the limelight, because of public approval. Good works commonly reassure desirable approval from other people. Ordinarily, it is virtuous achievements that invite dignified treatment from other people.
Naturally, people want to be respected. But more-so, those parting with large sums of money, to finance some noble projects in society. The generous ones deserve more respect, to encourage them to continue giving.
For instance, when involved in fund-raising activities, potential donors are normally accorded with high respect. Their presence are lavishly recognized. Failure to recognize generous people can be classified as the blunder of all time.
However, Jesus, our model, did not demonstrate that such conduct was desirable—even though commonly viewed as extremely necessary. Instead, careful analysis shows that in His teachings, Jesus discouraged potential donors:
”Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4) (ESV).
Here, Jesus recommended an unorthodox method in financing God’s work. Obviously, what Jesus taught does not appeal—as far as traditionally recommended fund-raising techniques are concerned? Any church organization could try what Jesus said, with predictable results of diminished income.
It is not secret that, generally, people want to be acknowledged for doing what is good. While acknowledging and appreciating donors is considered as normal—Jesus did not regard that behaviour as a normal practice. That behaviour is of this world, more than it is of God. See [Christianity serves to invalidate God’s Kingdom]
This is why Jesus exhibited not being impressed, by such charitable methods of fund raising. Jesus was, instead, captivated by the attitude, as displayed by a widow who gave two small coins—being all she had to live on (Luke 21:1-4). What could have been wrong with generous giving, as exhibited by those donating large sums of money?
While fund-raising had, apparently, been viewed as essential; Jesus saw people practicing ostentation rather than humility. Possibly, Jesus offended most of those, parting with large sums of money, during that fund-raising activity.
The purpose of fund-raising ought to have been viewed as necessary to advance the gospel—just as Jesus had been preoccupied with the gospel mission. But why then did Jesus systematically offend donors and potential donors?
Commending a poor widow for giving two small coins, instead of commending those giving generously, appears inappropriate. However, the mission of Jesus was principally to reveal the characteristics of God’s children—who flesh and blood could not reveal (Matthew 16:17).
If there were any Sons of peace, on that fund-raising day, the poor widow was clearly one of them. If anyone desires to know another characteristic of God’s children, studying the behaviour of the commended poor widow could suffice.
But we have another son of peace from an obscure condition. The story of Lazarus and rich man could, probably, disturb those desiring God’s Kingdom? In that well-known story, Lazarus—whose conduct is, apparently, unacceptable—was counted worthy to be among the sons of peace (Luke 16:19-30).
Being accorded the privilege of appearing on Abraham’s side, was greater than anyone can dream of, in this life. But what had Lazarus done to deserve such special treatment—as desired by everyone in this world?
Careful analysis shows that Lazarus had done absolutely nothing to deserve such kind of favour—except God’s grace. All forms of evaluation as practiced in this world, would categorize Lazarus among the write-offs. See [The great chasm—impossible to cross from either side].
Another group, comprising sons of peace—is revealed where Jesus gave specific instructions to His disciples—on their mission to preach the gospel. That instruction can be taken as template, by serious gospel preachers, even today.
Nevertheless, when considering the invalidation of the generic method of fund-raising—as revealed in poor widow’s example—one can feel discouraged. How can one do the work of God without encouraging adequate funding from well-wishers?
As Jesus sent the disciples out on a mission to preach the gospel, funding was out of the equation. Their preaching, principally, involved uplifting the health standards of those preached to, among other benevolences. But those beneficiaries were not expected to pay anything in return.
What is encouraging about true Christianity, is that Jesus provided full information, concerning prerequisites in preaching the gospel. To demonstrate, Jesus assigned His disciples on a gospel-preaching mission—providing guidelines that would also reveal what gospel preaching entails:
“And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the labourer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10:2-9) (ESV).
Let us analyse the following five points—as included in Jesus’ instructions:
1) The disciples were encouraged to pray earnestly, for God to send labourers. The custom of inviting ordinary people on the streets, to add numbers, was discouraged. The disciples would have to petition God to provide additional labourers. This, obviously, shows that it is not the responsibility of the disciples to find additional labourers.
Apparently, Satan cannot be happy to see the gospel mission succeeding. The protection of the disciples is covered in being careful to follow Christ’s instructions. More-so, false teachers would infiltrate them:
2) They were to be aware that they were sent as lambs in midst of wolves. Obviously, without appreciating the significance of wolves, one is vulnerable. The deception in Christianity comes from wolves in sheep’s clothing:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-20) (ESV).
Bear in mind—as also observed in the poor widow’s example—Jesus discouraged traditional methods of fund-raising:
3) Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. This appears as further complicating the assignment. Common sense invites good PR (Public Relations)? How does Jesus’ instruction appeal to those desiring public approval, when doing God’s work?
Jesus gives an instruction that discourages interaction with people on the streets. One can only assume that such interactions would most likely invite the enemies of the gospel? Apparently, the people preached to, would be those having been healed of their infirmities, among other charitable activities.
Interestingly, Jesus also appears as instructing them to do the opposite of what is commonly practiced, when going out on a trip like this? “Carry no moneybag.” I suppose the sandals portrayed a dignified appearance, to those people? These people were to be as ordinary as anyone on the streets.
They do not interact with the public. They look miserable and unimpressive, without sandals. Who would sponsor their mission, then?
4) Apparently, the sons of peace cater for their needs. The wages of the disciples are not sponsored by other disciples, or Church members, but by the sons of peace. Previously, we saw how Jesus revealed the characteristics of a Son of peace—through a poor widow—as compared with lavish givers at a fund-raising event.
All along, everyone could not have assumed that the poor widow could be among those with the privilege of being valued as sons of peace. Apparently, the son of peace—randomly welcoming strangers—could, obviously, not even be aware of the noble mission by the disciples?
The sons of peace exercise what they normally do to strangers. They probably would not even be aware that they, themselves, would, actually, be qualified to be sons of peace. Their inner instinct is what makes them feel good—only when providing for strangers in their time of need.
Just as the example given in the parable of the Good Samaritan can demonstrate, this kind of behaviour is not practiced by those obsessed in personal welfare. Such people can be mistaken for loving strangers, more than their own people. It is only in their nature that they love other fellow human beings.
Paul encouraged Christians to do likewise: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). See [Created to solve, instead of creating problems].
The sons of peace are those treating others as they would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). This type of behaviour has got nothing to do with consideration of gain, or compensation, in any way—except doing what is good to others. The disciples also demonstrate similar behaviour—serving without compensation:
5) The activities of the disciples on that mission involve healing the sick and telling them about God’s Kingdom. Those disciples would not charge anything for their services, just as they were not charged anything for being saved (Matthew 10:8). The principle of God’s giving is ensconced on what one gives to other people, not necessarily on what one gets.
The work of God is about giving, throughout. Among the sons of peace, no-one claims anything, as to deserve being treated respectfully, ahead of others. The sons of peace are only occupied with desiring to serve, more than they worry about being served. But, through others, God also provides for all of their needs.
Firstly, we saw a poor widow, displaying the characteristics of a Son of peace. We then saw Lazarus, being qualified to be among the sons of Peace. The qualification of Lazarus was due to grace, as offered to the entire humanity (Isaiah 53:3-5).
The only attribute qualifying Lazarus to be among the sons of peace was humility. This is why there can not be a single person ever to be saved by works. There is no-one who can ever boast, as having received salvation out of hard work:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9) (ESV).
Reduced to the condition of Lazarus, proud people could not have lasted long—unable to tolerate such disgustingly dehumanizing condition. Many people—falling into the predicament of Lazarus—would succumb to committing suicide.
It is, therefore, pride that hinders people towards becoming Sons of peace. Unfortunately, most people remain unaware that Jesus came to deal with all sins of humanity. Taking advantage of Jesus is only possible when a person is still alive.
Having accepted Jesus, the disciples are also qualified as Sons of peace. However, the disciples appear as carrying more responsibility, as expected to portray the attributes of Jesus—having accepted to follow Him, all the way (Luke 14:25-33).
Let us now deal with the Son of peace of all time—yet also as enigmatic as the other sons of peace. Jesus could not be identified by many people, just as many people cannot identify Him, even today. In Jesus’ time, many people saw the Son of Man, but could not identify Him as the Prince of peace.
“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah? For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-18) (ESV).
There was no question about ordinary people observing Jesus as Son of Man (verse 13). However, it was the aspect of Jesus being the son of the Living God that ordinary people could not figure out. This is just as ordinary people could not figure out the sons of peace who financed the work of the apostles.
This is just as the despicable Lazarus could not be associated with—let alone anyone imagining him being another son of peace. All sons of peace cannot be identified by ordinary people, just as Jesus could not be identified.
The only difference between Jesus and the other sons of peace, is that Jesus is the only link—enabling others to also become sons of peace. In other words, there is no physical human being—ever to qualify to be a son of peace, without Jesus, whose qualities are clarified by the prophet Isaiah:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
As Son given to us, Jesus represents an invisible God. However, the last portion, identifying Him as Prince of Peace, Jesus qualifies every one of those who believe in Him to also become princes of peace.
Believing in Jesus is associated with understanding that Jesus came to represent that which was created in God’s image. He displayed humility, in such a way that no-one else in this world had ever demonstrated humility, similarly to how Jesus demonstrated. See [Simplified analysis to eradicate Trinitarian confusion].
Jesus came to serve and not to be served, thereby leaving an example for Christians to follow. (Matthew 20:25-28). I am not sure of how many times Jesus repeated the instruction on need to take the position of servitude to His disciples?
This, certainly remains to be the most difficult instruction to follow—if not due to inability to take seriously, the teachings of Jesus? One of the valid reasons why the sons of peace cannot be recognized, is because they represent humility more than they represent pride.
People identify more with the proud people, rather than being associated with the humble of society. Certainly, only the minute few, can tolerate being reduced to the level of Lazarus? That position is as good as reducing oneself to death.
The sons of peace can, accordingly, be classified as dead people (Romans 6:1-6). Their behaviour is uncommon in this world. It is therefore not surprising to hear Jesus declaring never to have known people, having served in the cause of Christianity, throughout their lives:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23) (ESV).
Here Jesus shows that there would be no tolerance of people assuming to be something when they would be nothing. The problem with pride is that it even encourages hard work, so that the harder a person works—the more a person assumes being closer to God—when the opposite is true. See [Works bring the opposite of what is intended].
This shows the opposite demeanour, as displayed in Lazarus’ case. That man appears as not having been conscious of how people perceived him. Apparently, Lazarus only valued the rich man who allowed him to pick morsels of food, fallen from the rich man’s table. See also [How invisible the Church that Jesus founded is].
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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