By Brooke Holt
“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 went before you.” Matthew 5:10-12
Think of the awards assemblies you have attended over the years. Perhaps these assemblies were from your childhood or for your own children or perhaps awards given at work come t mind. Consider the awards given in these assemblies: best attendance, highest GPA, best athlete, best overall, salesperson of the year, best in the department, employ of the year, etc. I bet no one received a beatitude award: purest in heart, most merciful, best peacemaker.
These character traits known as the Beatitudes don’t align with the values of this world. In fact, Jesus will continue to say that instead of expecting awards for living out these values, you should expect persecution - probably not his most popular teaching! While not popular, the plan for Jesus and the plan for many of his disciples included persecution.
Even in the travail of persecution, we will often find earthly and certainly eternal blessings. When you are persecuted for the pursuit of righteousness and for seeking the kingdom of God, God has confirmed he will be with and for you. Christians are never to seek out persecution but, if it comes, to endure it for the name of Jesus and the proclamation of his kingdom.
In fact, Jesus calls you to rejoice in the persecution which means to have joy through it. You can have joy because you know that the Lord sees you; the Lord knows your heart and intentions; and he delights in your faithfulness to him. When you are free of this world and stand face to face with him, you will hear the long-awaited words: “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23), and it will be worth it all.
Have you experienced persecution of any kind for your faith? How do these words of Jesus invite you to be bolder in the proclamation of the Gospel? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus’ great commission to his apostles after his resurrection was to go into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, baptism has been understood as the doorway into this new kind of family. Explore what Jesus expects of this new family that finds its origin and purpose in him. The baptized are called into a new life of faith. From passages in Matthew to the shining examples of faith in our passage from John, Waters of Baptism is a helpful resource for those seeking the sacrament of baptism or those who want a deeper understanding of their faith. This six week study will help us understand the importance of baptismal living.
Comments will be approved before showing up.