Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
To the natural mind, persecution and blessing seem to be diametrically opposed; and on some level they are. Persecution is painful emotionally, psychologically, and in some instances, even physically. That is why the scripture specifically declares a blessing for those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Persecution can come upon us because of our own doing, and this brings pain and sorrow apart from the blessing. So then we must commit ourselves to God in all things, whether good or bad, knowing that if we are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, we are blessed.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other peoples matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first , what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now if the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear? Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:12-19
We tend to focus far more on blessing than we do persecution or suffering. Even though Jesus Christ was a suffering servant , we lean into the blessing that comes with being a servant of God. While our text in Matthew 5:10 blends persecution and blessing together. We do well, if our mindset is to do the same. Because we can easily miss God in our lives in moments of pain and suffering, if we fail to realize that He is blessing us in every situation that pertains to life. This is why He has given us everything that we need pertaining to life and godliness.
Hear the word of the Lord concerning persecution, sacrifice and blessing; So Jesus answered and said, Assuredly , I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospels, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands , with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. [Mark 10:29-30] Just as we are promised a reward for giving up earthly possessions to follow Jesus and walk in the gospel, the word is clear that the reward comes with persecution. The blessing therefore is not in the things we possess, the blessing is in our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? In all of these things we are more than conquerors through the Lord who loved us enough to lay down His life for you and me. We identify with Him when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Just as He suffered persecution although He was altogether righteous. As we endure persecution, we inherit the Kingdom. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Follow Rev. Bob Oliver on Facebook at fb.com/reach1more or on Instagram @reach1more.