“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. 7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” Luke 10.5-7
When I was on a evangelistic mission trip to Istanbul, Turkey, this idea of a “person of peace” was an important outreach strategy. We would wake up in the morning, take the subway or the ferry to the Europe side of Istanbul (the city divides the continents between Europe and Asia) and end up in a place called Eminönü in the neighborhood of Fatih. If you look up this location on a map you can see the number of ancient Byzantine churches dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries that are now mosques. (That’s a sad story for another day.)
We would walk and shop and eat in restaurants like Cafe Naftalin (Balat, Yıldırım Cd. No:27/A, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey) where we would meet people and talk to them about Jesus. Those leading the trips emphasized us looking for “a person of peace,” as Jesus instructs in v.6. If we would say, “Peace to your house” or if they would invite us into their homes, we would take this as a sign that these were people of peace and that the Lord had opened the door for us to share the Gospel. And although this only happened only a few times, it was a wonderful chance to plant the seed of sharing the Gospel of Christ.
Jesus gave specific instructions to the 72 disciples for particular reason. The peace of the Lord can rest even on those who do not know yet know the Lord. This principle, looking for a person of peace, can still serve as an indication whether an individual is open to hearing about the Gospel. Once a person of peace was discovered, Jesus would say to his disciples, “stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.”
This also reminds me of conversations I had with others in this region of Istanbul and how there was a reluctance to the Gospel. Some would desire to hear more about Jesus while others were resistant to the name of the Lord, all in a part of the world that was once saturated with the Gospel, ancient churches, and steeped in tradition (see this ancient Christian church now a museum and mosque – Dervişali, Kariye Cami Sk. No:18, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey).
So how do we find a person of peace? We ourselves must be people of peace. We must speak peace to others, loving our neighbors and being a witness to Christ in all things. The Prince of Peace, Jesus himself, goes before us into all nations, directing us along paths of righteousness so we might proclaim the Good News of the Gospel.
Is Christ calling you to be a person of peace? Purpose in your neighborhood or even across the globe.
”O Lord God, I thank you for loving us and for calling us your own. Thank you for the power of the cross and sacrifice you made to empty yourself and become a servant to all people. Use us O Lord to be a witness to the nations. Help us begin right here in our homes and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen