“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
We have come to the end of the beatitudes and without a doubt Jesus has saved the best for last. The first seven beatitudes are a description of the character of the Christian. They reveal the way we are supposed to be - we are to be like Christ. You would think people would love the person who displayed the beatitudes, but the fact is the people of the kingdom of the world hate people like Christ. Jesus said it would be so in John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
It’s interesting this beatitude comes right after the beatitude that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” It seems Christians are persecuted because they are peacemakers. Jesus says they are “persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “Do we know what it is to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake? To become like Him we have to become light; light always exposes darkness, and the darkness therefore always hates the light. We are not to be offensive; we are not to be foolish; we are not to be unwise; we are not even to parade the Christian faith. We are not do anything that calls for persecution. But by just being like Christ, persecution becomes inevitable.”
Jesus not only promises blessing, but also rejoicing to those who are persecuted for His sake. How can persecution be a blessing? Well, in order to discover the complete answer to that question you should join us on Sunday as we open Matthew 5:10-12 and learn why Jesus proclaimed, “Blessed are the persecuted.”
God bless you all and hope to see you there!