The Peace Child
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him, God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:19-22
9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,
10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.”
11 “The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
13 “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying,”
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
The Sawi people of Western New Guinea, now called Irian Jaya, were made up of approximately 400 individual tribes. Each tribe had a distinct and unique worldview and belief system. Many of them were headhunters and cannibals. They maintained an existence totally alien to life as we know it in the Western world.
The Sawi had a dreadful, horrifying cultural tradition: the worship of treachery. Not only were betrayal, murder, and cannibalism practiced, they were a time-honored custom of their mythic tradition.
War and acrimonious bloodshed were a way of life. Revenge was manly and essential. Treachery was the highest good of all. They would fain friendship with others and then betray, murder, and eat them. When they heard the story of the Lord Jesus Christ, they presumed Judas was the hero! The Sawi people loved Judas because they were a tribe of Judases.
In 1962, Don Richardson, a Christian missionary from Canada began to work with the Sawi. As a linguist and Bible translator, he developed an alphabet for the Sawi language and eventually translated the New Testament into Sawi. He spent 15 years of his life in and amongst them.
It was very difficult to communicate the idea of redemption and the thought that one would die for another. He sat among the tribe, praying, “Lord, help, I need a gift of wisdom here.” The Father provided a perfect redemptive analogy: the Peace Child. It was the key that Richardson needed to communicate.
The Peace Child was one person the Sawi would not betray. A tribal leader made an extraordinary gesture. He gave a Peace Child, his own child, to the enemy tribe. According to custom, there would be peace between warring tribes as long as the child was alive. War and betrayal were out of the question. No one would betray the Peace Child.
The Peace Child was the perfect metaphor to make the Sawi understand what God the Father had done. It was the key to the hearts of the Sawi. The Gospel story started to click. The Lord Jesus Christ was God’s Peace Child to remove the conflict between man’s sinfulness and God’s righteous judgment. Richardson explained that the Father had surrendered His own Son, the perfect Peace Child, to bring peace to all people. Cannibals were transformed into Christ-followers.
Over the years, most Sawi people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Many became missionaries to bring the gospel to neighboring tribes. What became of the Peace Child? He became the first Sawi to graduate from higher education. He became A primary school principal.
REFLECT & PRAY
Paul’s philosophy of evangelism was adaptive and transcended petty cultural norms and religion itself. His concern was to do whatever it took to make disciples.
Father I want to do as you have commanded to make disciples. Enable me to be adaptive, sensitive, aware, and become whatever it takes.
The Father sent His Peace Child, His very own Son, into the world.
Colossians 1:20 [Through the Lord Jesus Christ] God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
The Lord Jesus Christ commands the children of the King to carry the message throughout the entire planet.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
While the meaning of this verse is obvious, unpacking it a bit provides even greater insight. The sentence contains only one verb make disciples. The Greek word is matheteuo. It is imperative, that is, a command, and it means instructing others in the ways and teachings of a teacher. But it means more than simply teaching. But instead, it embraces the idea of becoming attached to the teacher, following them in belief and conduct. That is, become a disciple.
The words translated as go, baptizing, and teaching are participles. They are how the primary command is carried out.
Going into all the world and making disciples requires effective communication. Communication requires understanding between the sender and recipient. Making disciples of all the world needs a degree of sensitivity to the receiving people’s culture, beliefs, and value systems. Wisdom and discernment, ideal redemptive analogies often rise to the surface.
Paul shows the way.
1 Corinthians 9:20-23
20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.
21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.
23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
Paul became all things for all people that he might save some.
© Dr. H 2022