Jesus as a Peacemaker

Jesus’ way of life was one of nonviolence, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Example one: In Jesus’ day, the Jews had nothing to do with the “half-breed” Samaritans. And women who had more than one husband were completely disregarded in society. Jesus, a Jew, traveled through the region of Samaria on his way to Galilee. After walking all morning, he was tired and thirsty, so when he came to a well near the town of Sychar, he sat down to rest. A Samaritan woman came to get water from the well and Jesus asked her, “Will you give me a drink?” The Samaritan woman said, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus broke the barriers of race and class to ask for a drink, and then to go on and discuss worship and faith with her. As a result she believed in Jesus and told the whole town
(John 4:1-9).

Example two: “If you want to see Jesus go into action, just cheat the poor and squeeze out the Gentiles!” (Willard Swartley) Late in his life, Jesus came to the temple and cleared out the merchants. Specifically he drove out the moneychangers and those who were selling doves. Amid the overturned tables he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a den of robbers.” Jesus was upset that the only place in the temple accessible for Gentiles was being corrupted, and that the poor were being taken advantage of. Jesus took action and reclaimed the temple, to make it again what it was intended to be, a place for all the people to pray to God. Jesus’ actions on behalf of poor and oppressed people provide one model for peacemaking: righteous anger in the face of injustice but no violence toward people (Matthew 21:12-13).

Continue on to the Living Peace section.