Persecuted for Righteousness

Persecuted for Righteousness

Nobody likes to go through any kind of persecution or difficult time in life! But Jesus adds this last beatitude recorded in Matthew 5:10-12. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus lets us know that if you are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. The Greek word for “persecute” means “chasing, driving away, or pursuing.” This term suggests physical abuse, harassment, and other forms of persecution. Peter clearly distinguished those persecuted for doing evil from those persecuted for Christ: “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name (1 Pet. 4:14-16).

In the face of such persecution, Jesus told His followers, “Rejoice and be glad.” Luke 6:23 says, “Be glad in that day and leap for joy.” While rejoicing in the face of persecution seems radical and idealistic to present-day disciples, it was not so with the early church. After being flogged, the apostles left the Sanhedrin “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:40,41).

When Jesus’ disciples faithfully endure persecution for righteousness, they take their place alongside the Old Testament prophets: “For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” The prophets served God and honored Him despite being rejected and abused by the people they sought to teach.

To God be the Glory—Elvis Galbreath

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