There has been a lot said lately about the “person of peace.” This is the person that God leads us to who opens the door for the gospel, not only for themselves but for their sphere of influence. This person of peace seems to be the key to Jesus strategy in spreading the Kingdom (see Luke 10:1-23 especially verses 5 and 6). I discussed this in more detail in my posts: Finding the Person of Peace and Peace to This House. I tell a story of finding a person of peace in: Cesar, Man of Peace. But I’ve been asked by a number of people if we shouldn’t be the person of peace. Isn’t that our job? In effect, aren’t we told by Jesus Himself to be salt and light? My answer to that question is a clear and unequivocal yes and no. Let me explain.
We do need to be people who are actually living the Gospel. We do need to be salt and light. But I wouldn’t call that being a person of peace, I would call that being a peaceful person. I’ll explain the difference. A peaceful person, as I’m using the phrase, is someone who is controlled by the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:22-23). As such they will demonstrate the peace that comes from the Spirit of God. And such a person is yeast (Matt. 13:33) as well as salt and light because their life not only reflects God, but will be guided by God to be doing good in the world. Such a person is ready to give an account for the hope they have (I Pet. 3:15). In other words, their life is so attractive that people want to know why.
However, Jesus uses the term “man of peace” often now referred to as the “person of peace” (Luke 10:6) in a more specific way. It is the person God leads us to so that we can not only preach the Gospel to them but take it to their “oikos” their household or sphere of influence. They are the human door opener into the network of relationships in a given place.
So yes, we should be people of peace ourselves if we are talking about being the peaceful people I mentioned above. But when we are on mission with God to extend His Kingdom, we are not the people of peace Jesus was talking about in Luke 10. If such were the case our ministry would become attractional and not viral. We would be drawing people to us instead of seeing the Gospel spread powerfully outward through the network of relationships that occur in all cultures.
So, we are to be peaceful people who are salt, light and yeast. If we really are such people, our life itself becomes a testimony, so much so that we need to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. But we do this with gentleness and respect (I Pet. 3:15). Note that our life is a witness and then we are prepared to make that witness explicit verbally by giving an account for our hope; in other words, preach the gospel. Let me say that more succinctly. When we are peaceful people it leads us to people of peace.
One of our problems nowadays is that we don’t know what to do with a person of peace when we find one. Our natural instincts, breed into us by many years of congregational church life, is to invite them to a church service. Don’t do that. A slightly better tendency is to lead them to Christ and figure the job is done. Don’t do that either. Still better is to realize that we are not meant to make converts but disciples so we start to disciple them. As good as that is, don’t do that either. Here’s what Jesus taught us to actually do. When we find the person of peace we are to make them a disciple and allow them to lead us to their oikos, their household, their sphere of influence. When we do this Jesus becomes part of that household. In other words, we make sure they all get introduced to Jesus. Further, we encourage each of these new peaceful people to take Jesus to their own spheres of influence. That’s how the Jesus becomes viral in a society. When we do less than this, we stop the flow of the Kingdom dead in its tracks. That is what my book Viral Jesus is about.
So, by all means be peaceful people. And be encouraged that when you do so Jesus might just lead you to people of peace. Which just might allow you to sneeze Jesus and see him go viral in the society around you.
Pick a question and respond:
- Do you agree with my distinction between peaceful people and people of peace? Why or why not?
- Have you ever found a person of peace? Did you know what to do, so that they not only became disciples of Jesus, but that they were the first among many?
- Do you agree or disagree with my assertion that taking a new convert to a preexisting church is not usually a good idea, because it can impede the flow of the Kingdom? Why or why not?
- Have you ever been asked to give the reason for the hope that you have?
 Women are just as likely if not more likely to be people of peace than a man. For two biblical examples notice the woman at the well in John 4 and Lidia in Acts 16.