8. The Seventh Beatitude

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Matt. 5:9. (King James Version)

Saul, a man of violence, became Paul the Reconciler. On the road to Damascus on a mission to persecute Christians, a sudden light flashed above him. As he fell to the ground, a voice said, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. I am Jesus . . . Rise and stand upon your feet . . . for I appoint you . . to open the eyes of the people that they may turn from the power of Satan to God." (Acts 9:1 - 20)

With this revelation and conversion, he rises to devote his life to proclaiming the Gospel of Peace. From this time on he did more than any other person who ever lived to interpret the transforming power of the love of God in the sacrificial life of Jesus Christ. He became the author of the greatest love passage ever written, including these words: "Love suffereth long and is kind. Love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never fails." (1 Cor. 13:4, 7, 8)

In this scene the explosion of light brings with it a vision seen earlier by the prophet Isaiah of a sword broken in pieces, expressing the age old hope for peace in the world. "And the Lord shall judge among the nations and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)

Again, in this painting the hands give great emphasis to the feelings being expressed. Awe, amazement, joy, and hope are expressed in the motion of Paul's uplifted hands. Peace has come into his world.


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