Manage episode 289524019 series 2605327
The beatitudes conclude, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 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” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV). It is one thing to say that the peacemakers are blessed. It is quite another to designate those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness as blessed. And yet that is precisely the case. Because those persecuted for the sake of righteousness will indeed inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christ’s message is crystal clear. Rather than fixating on earthly vanities, such as the admiration of men, we ought to focus on such eternal verities as the approval of God. Persecution is a continuum. A continuum ranging from harassment to oppression and ultimately to a cruel death. What Jesus makes clear in this beatitude is that, as Christians, we must value eternal truth over temporary convenience—and that even to the point of death.