Summary: The message describes 1. Persecution, 2. the Principle, 3. the Point, and 4. the Promise
"Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted"
Scripture Matthew 5:10-12
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.
This beatitude has also been called the "bookend" beatitude. Why, the first and last beatitude end with the same promise, "for theirs is the kingdom of God". Could it be that this is the last beatitude and Jesus in the next verses describes His very life?
If you look at all of the previous beatitudes you begin to get a picture of the life of Jesus, the only truly righteous life. Jesus was "poor in spirit". He humbled himself before the Father and obeyed all. Philippians describes His emptying of Himself to be human.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:8
Giving up all the glories of heaven to be like us. Jesus was humble. He emptied himself for us. He suffered all things for us.
Jesus mourned over the destruction of sin. He would go to the mountain side overlooking Jerusalem and see His people rebelling against the Father.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Matthew 23:37
I can only imagine the tears of sorrow flowing down His cheeks as He sorrowed over their loss. Jesus mourned over sin’s destruction and sin’s separation.
Jesus was the epitome of meek, strength under control. He could have called fire from heaven to deal with His enemies. He could have called 10,000 angels to take him off the cross. But His mission was the redemption of you and me. He was obedient unto death. Jesus was meek.
Jesus lived righteousness. He is our righteousness. As the risen Lord and Savior He is the living water and the bread of life.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35
Jesus was and is merciful. He is mercy personified. He brought the mercy of God to us by dying on the cross.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
He is pure in heart. He is purity. There is nothing unclean or blemished in Jesus. Because of His sinless perfection He could die on the cross for our sins. He is our Lamb without blemish.
Jesus is our peacemaker. Through His death on the cross we can have peace with God. He is the only way to have peace with God. Not only does He give us peace with God, He is also our peace. In Him, we have peace. By sharing His life and being His witness we bring peace to a lost and dying world.
The beatitudes describe the life of Christ but they are to be our attitudes and actions as well. As believers we are to be an example of Christ to others. His life is to be our life in both word and deed.
Loving, forgiving, showing grace and mercy, and leading people to Him so we might enter the kingdom of heaven is to be our goal in life. To do otherwise risks eternity. Matthew 7:21-23 says,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Jesus gave us a very clear picture of those that will enter heaven. Entering the Kingdom entails a personal relationship with Him resulting in a life lived doing His will.
We are to live this life before God. How, by abiding in and trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and living the commands He gave us. If we are truly living His commands of loving God, loving others, and telling about Jesus we will be living the life He has called us all to live.
The last beatitude, Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, often results when a person is exemplifying the life of Christ in their own life. Just as Jesus was persecuted so we will be persecuted for sharing Him with others and living rightly before God.