Hello, new readers of Anabaptist World! I pray for all of you that the Lord’s insurance coverage in Psalm 91 is over your life, family and friends.
In the last several years, the world appears to have entered a season of hopelessness. Wars, hunger, economic hardship, ungodliness in high places and a pandemic plague of biblical proportions have afflicted humanity with pain, suffering and death. There is contention within our families and communities and among nations.
In times like these, we need help to navigate the difficult terrain.
We need a broker.
In the world of finance, a broker is an individual or firm acting as an intermediary between an investor and a securities exchange. A stockbroker, for example.
More broadly, a broker is any agent who facilitates a contract or agreement between two parties.
“Broker” is also a verb: A broker brokers a deal.
There’s a biblical interpretation of “broker,” too. According to Scripture, we — believers in and followers of Jesus Christ — are brokers.
We have an assignment to go to the ends of the world and preach Jesus and the work of peace at the cross (Matthew 28:19-20).
We are ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We are brokers of peace, entrusted with the message of reconciliation.
Often a broker of peace is one who has experienced the absence of peace. Such a person knows how the lack of peace diminishes one’s capacity to remain joyful and robust.
Then the Lord sends one who is overflowing with peace. He or she reaches out to help, and this positions the recipient of peace to help others.
When we broker peace, we come into a situation as a representative of God in righteousness, speaking the truth of God’s Word.
A broker of Christ’s peace knows that peace is more than the absence of conflict. It is the restoration of right relationships.
the anabaptist theology and principles of peace and justice have been vehicles for the gospel of salvation and peace in many places around the world.
I saw an example of this in 2012 during a learning tour of the Jos Plateau in northern Nigeria, a region ravaged by violence of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. We encountered a Mennonite Central Committee-led peace process that brought Christians, Muslims and others together in dialogue on how to address their differences.
Following Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44), we broker peace when we bridge warring factions. We walk through the challenges until peace is achieved.
One biblical broker was Barnabas, Paul’s partner on missionary journeys. Known as an encourager, he urged all in Antioch “to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23, NIV).
He was also a broker of peace. When the disciples didn’t trust Saul, Barnabas won them over by describing his conversion and bold testimony (Acts 9:26-27).
my first definition of “broker” was in the context of business and finance. Please indulge me a little to continue that comparison and introduce to you the most exceptional broker of all: God, embodied in Jesus Christ.
Jesus described God, the broker, to Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).
This is how God does business: First, God has a passion for and interest in humanity.
Second, God gave his only Son — God’s capital investment — which positioned Jesus as our No. 1 broker.
“Everyone who believes may not perish”: That’s the marketplace of humankind, the “clients” who need what the broker offers.
Finally, every broker wants to make a profit. So does God. What God gives — eternal life — is closely related to what God gains. Those who respond to the broker’s offer become what God wants: beloved children with abundant lives who thrive in relationship with God.
A broker is not only a facilitator or intermediary but also a reconciler and restorer.
The concept of a broker as an agent of reconciliation is the inspiration for this column’s title, “Brokers of God’s Peace.”