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We come now to the last snapshot. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
To rejoice in persecution is to develop the big picture on all troubles—especially the stresses that others bring upon you. Life is full of stress and distress. Many of life’s stresses are circumstantial.
NOTE the reason for persecution. It’s that same word we saw earlier—righteousness. As you hunger and thirst for righteousness—being like Jesus (allowing him to live his life through you)—you will make people uncomfortable and they will pick away at you.
ALSO note the kinds of persecution mentioned here. It’s insults, falsely saying all kinds of evil against you, because of the Jesus and Kingdom lifestyle you are embracing. And when you note who it is who is doing the persecuting in the New Testament against the early followers of Jesus, you will quickly find that this kind of persecution comes from other religious people who are jealous and threatened.
When Jesus, the Righteous One, came to explain the love of God to mankind, his simple message was to present himself and the gospel of the Kingdom. It didn’t contain a system of do’s and don’ts that normal religious groups do, so this made the religious people of the day uncomfortable enough to persecute him terribly to the point of putting him to death—to silence this simple one.
If you are simply walking with Jesus, walking with others and waiting on Jesus to lead out in your life, you will face the same kind of criticism and backlash. Your simple faith will make others very uncomfortable—especially those who believe they have it all together, bolstered by their many theological and religious props. However, for those who are discontent, hurting, burdened down by all of the religiosities in the world, you will be a welcome sight—a bright light of hope.
You’ll need it to truly rejoice in the midst of this kind of persecution. Keep on hungering and thirsting for that inner, spiritual satisfaction for your soul by walking with Jesus and walking with others. Then, you can more fully rejoice in persecution. This will drive your detractors nuts. Enjoy it!
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”