Who is a person of peace? That is a question we should all be asking. In the sending narrative of Luke 10, Jesus instructs His apostles to find a such a person and invest in him or her. His strategy to impact the cities and towns was for the apostle (missionary) to reach the person of peace, and the gospel message would flow to their oikos, that is, their circles of influence.
The fact that so few people know who or what a person of peace is, suggests that we are not taking much interest in Jesus’ method for reaching people—much less putting it into action.
How does one identify a person of peace? How do we know when we’ve found one? The sending narratives, as well as the stories of such people in the New Testament, give us many clues:
- A person of peace is welcoming and hospitable. Jesus says to eat and drink what they provide for you (Luke 10.7). Cornelius welcomed Peter and others into his home (Acts 10.25-29), and Titius Justus invited Paul in as well (Acts 18.7).
- Apostles seek a person/house that is ‘worthy ’ (Matt 10.11-13) which suggests receptivity to the messengers.
- This person is generally seeking God or searching for truth or meaning in life. Cornelius (Acts 10.1-2, 22) and Zaccheus (Luke 19.1-10) are such examples of people eagerly seeking the Lord.
- Such a person is receptive to the message when they hear it. Cornelius, Lydia, and the Philippian jailer are among those who received the word of God gladly.
- A person of peace is also a person of influence, and he or she shares the message with others. The Gerasene man in Mark 5:17-20 is a prime example of one who became a missionary to his own people.
What I find amazing is that the characteristics of a person of peace fall neatly into the AIM pattern:
- Accountability to One Another (Love people) – Their welcoming, hospitable, and generous nature are expressions of accountability to others. They demonstrate love in action, and they facilitate connections which provide an open door for the gospel to flow into their lives and their homes.
- Intimacy with God (Love God) – Their search for spiritual truth, and their subsequent receptivity, are a clear indication of a desire for intimacy with God. Their spiritual ears are tuned in and ready to embrace the One whom they are seeking.
- Multiplication of the Kingdom (Make disciples) – Connections, influence, and the drive to actually pass the message on, demonstrate how the Kingdom multiplies. They pass the message forward, in some cases much more effectively than people who have been believers for many years.
The fact that these characteristics follow the ‘three great commands’ of Jesus suggests that their hearts are in tune with His heart—they bear an amazing likeness to Kingdom people! This should not come as a surprise to us. In a time and place where the gospel is urgently needed, Jesus sends His people to find Kingdom-like folks through whom His message of hope can flow rapidly and effectively.
Go now, and find the persons of peace in the world around you!