PEOPLE OF PEACE
For many Christians, sharing our faith with unbelievers can be a very intimidating thing. However, we don’t need to be fearful, and it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge. We just need to understand and imitate the way Jesus described the process of reaching out to his disciples in Luke 10:1-12. We read that when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples, he gave them specific instructions. He said, "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 laborer 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.'" (vs. 5-9)
Jesus told His disciples that when they entered a home, they were to offer them their peace (shalom). If the people in the home rejected it, they were to move on. If they received it, the 2 disciples were to stay. And if they were greeted with peace and invited to stay, they were to heal the sick in that home and proclaim that the Kingdom of God had come in Jesus. These were PEOPLE OF PEACE!
The way we can assess who our People of Peace are today is by looking at the relationships we currently have with unbelievers. They would be considered our People of Peace if they respond to us much like the people in those towns 2000 years ago responded to the first disciples. Are there unbelievers in our lives who – when we make friendship movements toward them, they make friendship movements toward us? When we welcome them into our lives as friends, do they reciprocate? If so, then we should follow the instruction of Jesus to His first disciples and in an appropriate and tactful way, let them know that we are followers of Christ, and if they still are willing to be our friends, that is an indication that they just might be People of Peace.
A Person of Peace is one who has been prepared by God to hear the message of the Kingdom and the King. It can either be people who are permanently in our lives or people that God flashes in and out of our lives. Our prayer everyday should be: “Lord, bring into my path today People of Peace, and give me the grace to speak your words to them.” Based on Luke 10, you will know that someone is a Person of Peace if he or she:
Welcomes you. They’re friends and/or family members who want to spend time with you and invite you into their lives.
Listens to you. You talk openly about Jesus, and they listen – even if they don’t believe.
Serves you. Not only do you serve them, but they like you enough to serve you too.
One who is not a Person of Peace will not do all three of these things, so we are not to belabor the issue. Jesus says to shake the dust off your feet and move on. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still be friends with them, but it does mean that no amount of convincing on your part will make them become a Person of Peace. This is the job of the Holy Spirit; He alone is the one who prepares hearts to hear the Gospel. With these people, we should not pester them to listen to us talk about Jesus. We should, however, keep praying for them!
The Jesus-Shaped Life triangle is a good way to understand how we discover who our People of Peace are, how we engage with other believers in going on mission, and how we actually evangelize and make disciples in a biblical way.
UP: As we actively seek to build relationships with unbelievers, we must always be asking the Lord to reveal who the People of Peace are that He’s bringing into our lives.
IN: Because we are not meant to make disciples on our own, we must already be living life in a community of believers who are on mission together with us.
OUT: As we live the Jesus-Shaped Life together as a Discipleship Community, we invite our People of Peace to join us when they show signs of readiness.