The Beatitudes – Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matt. 5:11-12
The eighth and final Beatitude is one but in two parts. Part two this week. Grammatically a move is made from the third person (Those in v10) to the second person (You in v11). Also in v10 ‘Persecuted because of righteousness’ becomes, ‘persecuted because of me (Jesus)’ in v11.
Other points we may quickly make: Persecution specifically notes as, ‘insult’ and ‘false accusation’. A rejoinder to, ‘Rejoice and be glad’ – learning not to take such persecution to heart as it is because of Jesus and as such it is my choice to believe, and by faith to follow him as my Saviour and Lord. Also, what happens to me (because of persecution) is not just about me. I am not an isolated case. I am not the only one in the world today nor in the past. It has been happening for a long time – ‘the prophets who were before you’. Indeed, we can say from the Bible, it has been an occurrence since sin entered the world. The apostle Paul goes so far as to say, “Everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Tim. 3:12 & 1 Thess. 3:3) These are indeed sombre words but when tempered against the plenteous story narratives in both Old and New Testaments, of those who have gone before us, we belong to a gathering whose numbers far outnumber the count when we also include those who have numbered Christ followers in the past 2000 odd years. We too are called by Christ into his Kingdom and to thus walk in faith with courage and conviction.
A few story narratives to ponder: – Daniel 3: 13-30 NB: Daniel’s words in vs 17-18 – Acts 5:17-43 NB: v41 & Acts 6:8-15 NB: vs 11-13
Yes, sober words and thoughts but once again, this all must be seen in the light, the context, of the previous seven Beatitudes that lie before it. The seven before makes the eighth a reality. Also Jesus words when he first calls us unto himself: “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38)
Can there be anything better you can name, lasting even for eternity, than to walk the way of Jesus- saved by grace, made clean by the Saviours own blood, welcomed into the Kingdom of God?
Speaking the truth (with Godly wisdom), proclaiming and living the new life given by Jesus, being the clear light on a hill shining….isn’t always going to make you/us popular: Woe to you when all men speak well of you. (Luke 6:26)
A Church full of people striving to be popular and have a name at the expense of Righteousness without compromise can never be a Church at all. I thank God I belong to a faithful church family. Can there be a better way………
PRAYER: Gracious Father, I thank you again for this new day given. Now with a grateful and thankful heart, as I ponder in this silent time, the ways in which you have opened my mind and the eyes of my heart so that I may know you; and to fellowship with those of the same.
O Lord, I confess, how I still lack understanding and cannot always fathom the depths of your word to me, nor at my life’s journey with its twists and turns, nor my present world predicaments; but this I know and with confidence can say, I know whom I have believed in and trust in until that day when time shall be no more. I know Jesus is my saviour and he is my Lord to whom I confess and readily follow. One thing I ask O Lord: fill me anew with your Holy Spirit that I may be your light in this day and to shine without compromise, and with wisdom and with truth in your Kingdom come.
Bless me in this day, for Jesus sake……AMEN
My Faith has Found a Resting Place, not in device nor creed;
I trust the ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead. I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died, and that he died for me.
Lindsay Huggins – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pW_1WG89Jdc