According to Jesus, A Home Is To Be Identified As Wholesome And Worthy If There Is A Man Of Peace There
When Jesus sent the disciples out two by two, He told them to stay at the home of “a man of peace.”
The Concept of a Man of Peace
What exactly does that mean? When the disciples came to a home they had never been to before, how were they to know if the man of the house, and his wife, were people of peace? (By implication, there is also a woman of peace to be on the lookout for, since Proverbs 21:19 addresses the sad reality of “a contentious and vexing woman.” Thus, the entire household is in sight here.)
Let’s pick up Jesus’ instruction in Luke 10:5–6: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ And if a man of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him; but if not, it will return to you.”
Other translations say about this:
- “And if anyone of peace is there [someone who is sweet-spirited and hospitable] . . .” (amp)
- “If the people living there are peace-loving . . .” (cev)
- “If a peaceful person lives there . . .” (gw)
- “If someone there loves peace . . .” (nirv)
- “If someone who promotes peace is there . . .” (niv)
- “If those who live there are peaceful . . .” (nlt)
Inquiring About a Man of Peace
Most would agree that often when a husband is a man of peace, the home manifests peace. But a wife can undermine the ease as well. So, this is a focus on the home as well as the man of peace.
An important question arises: Does this mean that there are two kinds of homes: those with “a man of peace” and those without “a man of peace”?
Which best describes your home?
As for the disciples, did they just randomly walk up to a home and shout, “Peace be to this house!”?
No. At the outset of entering a village, they were to “inquire who is worthy in it” (Matthew 10:11).
In other words, they were to do their due diligence. They were to ask around and ask about those “worthy,” or with good reputation.
Note what Jesus said in Matthew’s telling of this same instruction: “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city” (10:11).
Back in the Luke story, Jesus said, “And if anyone of peace is there [someone who is sweet-spirited and hospitable], your [blessing of] peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you” (10:6 amp).
Other translations state that this man is “respected,” “welcoming of the message,” “hospitable,” and “godly.” Literally, the Greek says “comparable, correspondent, or equal in value.” Paul may have had this idea in mind when talking about those who have a “kindred spirit” (Philippians 2:20).
The point I am making here is that the disciples would have inquired about such homes. They would have asked around.
If the disciples came to your neighborhood asking about who around is worthy of being viewed as a home of peace, would those in your sphere of influence tell them about your house? Or, would people pass over recommending you due to your home being divided?
A Man of Peace
“Well, Emerson, what exactly is a man of peace?"
The disciples knew from Scripture who this type of person was. The following Old Testament scriptures would have guided them. I also included some New Testament scriptures that I assume reflect their inquiry.
Inwardly, the man of peace is blameless and upright: “Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; for the man of peace will have a posterity” (Psalm 37:37)
Outwardly, he is a counselor of peace: “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy” (Proverbs 12:20).
He understands that truth and peace must work together, not peace at the expense of truth.
. . . love truth and peace. (Zechariah 8:19)
For there will be peace and truth in my days. (Isaiah 39:8)
I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth. (Jeremiah 33:6)
He seeks justice and peace during conflict.
They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them does not know peace. (Isaiah 59:8)
He brings clarity out of confusion.
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
He is diligent in preserving peace.
. . . being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)
Upwardly, he is a man of peace because he experiences the Lord's presence and peace: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
A worthy person about whom they inquired would have a peaceful character (the inward), be a peacemaker among people (the outward), and experience God’s peace in their lives (the upward).
So when entering a new community, they would have asked the people on the streets, “Who is blameless and upright in this village? Who is a counselor of peace here? And, who experiences the Lord of peace and His peace in their daily life?”
Perhaps the town’s folks mentioned several people who fit this description.
In receiving this information about various men and their homes, they needed to select one and go there. To the husband and house, they were to say, “Peace be to this house.”
Upon their announcement, Jesus then said, “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”
Interpreting “It Will Return to You”
Two thoughts about this.
This phrase “it will return to you” could be a subjective sense the disciples had. If the man were not as others in the village had described, the peace “would return” to them. Perhaps they felt quenched and grieved in their spirit because the Holy Spirit spoke to them without any facts. In Acts 16:6–7, we read, “Having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit” and “the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them.” God might have illuminated the disciples by His Spirit alone. “Move on!” There could be something supernatural to the phrase “[peace] will return to you.” We might say that they subjectively felt this in their spirit without any outside information.
On the other hand, it could be an objective set of observations. The facts appeared in front of them. When a husband and wife are in conflict and turmoil in their marriage, and one or both are not peaceful individuals who daily commune with the Lord, that usually manifests itself relatively quickly. There are what is referred to as quick start-ups. Angry and argumentative people display quickly that they do not know how to get along. They trigger each other, and those around see it quickly enough. Yes, people can disguise it, but often they are in such bad moods that there is no “sweet-spirited” response toward each other. That can be detected soon enough. The peace the disciples extended did not return to them from people who did not exhibit kindred peaceful spirits.
Can we make observations that quickly? At our Love and Respect conferences, Sarah sits in the front row when I begin the first session. I have always noted women looking over at her while I speak. They are reading her countenance to determine if I am real since they know that a wife will give off clues, like the rolling of the eyes or uneasy shifting on the pew. These women choose if they will listen to me by interpreting Sarah’s demeanor. In telling women of my observation, they laugh and say, “That’s so true. We do that.”
My point is that usually a person becomes apparent somewhat quickly, by looking either at them or at family members in response to them.
So then, how long did the disciples stay in the home? For a few hours? Overnight? We read in the passage, “Whatever house you enter . . .” They definitely went inside, but for how long? Perhaps long enough to determine from observation if the blessing of peace they extended would come back at them from two people at peace within themselves and with each other. Would they see firsthand two sweet-spirited people? Or would there be anger and anxiety?
I conclude the disciples exited if the home lacked this kind of atmosphere. They then went on to another house to find a man of peace. Once finding a man of peace, Jesus instructed them to stay in that home. They were not to hop from home to home.
Implications and Self-Reflection
So how does this relate to us?
Would your home be a place the disciples would stay because of who you are in character, your peacemaking ways, and your daily communion with the Lord?
I believe there are homes of peace and homes that are divided and in turmoil.
Let’s consider if we would be the type of person the disciples describe as kindred spirits, as sweet-spirited. Are we a person of peace?
- Clear Conscience - Is there anything in our lives that our conscience clearly tells us is wrong? Are there people around us who can truthfully accuse us of wrongdoing? Or, are we blameless and upright in that neither our conscience nor others accuse us of blatant sin? This does not mean we are without shortcomings and weaknesses but that we are not actively sinning. When our conscience and others accuse us of sin, we are not a person of peace.
- Peacemaking Skills - Do we quarrel and become combative in nature with anyone who crosses us? Or, do we have the knowledge and skill to find ways to make peace with those who annoy us or differ with us? If someone were asked about us, “Are they a counselor of peace?” would they agree to that description? “Yes, they are a peacemaker. They try to be at peace with people where that is possible.”
- God’s Peace - Are we routinely angry, worried, and fretting? Is this because we have no quiet time with the Lord long enough to experience His presence and peace. Or, would others recognize peace in our demeanor? Would they say, “the Lord of peace Himself continually [grants] . . . peace” to this couple?