Summary: Why do we suffer because of Righteousness?
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of Righteousness
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
We are a week away from Easter and this is the day that is known as Palm Sunday when we remember Jesus coming into Jerusalem.
Even as we have just partaken of Communion remembering what Jesus has done for us by dying on the cross to pay for our sins by sacrificing his body and shedding his blood, while we remember that, Jesus lived knowing that was coming.
As he was heading to Jerusalem, He told them again what would happen to Him.
18 "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"
And even while he knew what awaited Him, we are told that He “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
He did this because He had come into the world to bring salvation (John 12:47), and to do that he needed to make atonement, not for His sins, but for the sins of the world. (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17).
For those who are Christians here today, we understand that. We know that intellectually, but I think sometimes we read the words that he was “to be mocked and flogged and crucified” so many times, that we forget or maybe never even think about what that really means and what he really suffered for us.
Not only was he spit upon, insulted, ridiculed and mocked, but the physical torture he endured was unbelievable. If you have seen “The Passion of the Christ” you understand the brutality that was endured.
The scene in the Passion where he endures the scourging is near unbearable to watch because it is so brutal. But, that is what we must understand if we are truly going to recognize the absolute love that Jesus has for us. He was willing to suffer the unbearable for you.
But even more so, after the brutality of that beating, He suffered even more, when He took the sin of the world upon his shoulders and suffered an eternities worth of separation from the Father as He turned His back on the sin that His Son took upon Himself.
Jesus knew, long before He suffered both the physical suffering and the suffering of our eternal punishment, that it was coming.
He understood this as He began his ministry.
He understood this as he loved people.
He understood this as the people turned against him at the end and cried out Crucify Him!
Even as He began the Sermon on the Mount, He knew what was coming, He knew the persecution and suffering He would endure.
We need to understand this, because even as Christ has removed the suffering of separation from God that we deserve, we are still going to face suffering and persecution in this life, even when we are doing the right thing, the things God wants us to do.