Summary: The meaning of “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” in Matthew 5:3 is that they will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But the meaning of the same words in Matthew 5:10 is that they will rule in the Kingdom of Heaven along with Lord Jesus.
Scripture portion: Matthew 5:10-12
“BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH ARE PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS SAKE: FOR THEIRS IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. BLESSED ARE YE WHEN MEN SHALL REVILE YOU, AND PERSECUTE YOU, AND SHALL SAY ALL MANNER OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY, FOR MY SAKE. REJOICE AND BE EXCEEDING GLAD: FOR GREAT IS YOUR REWARD IN HEAVEN: FOR SO PERSECUTED THEY THE PROPHETS WHICH ARE BEFORE YOU.”
Introduction: Now we are entering into the last step of our spiritual journey. If you are faithful in the ministry of peace-making, then God may grant you the privilege of being persecuted for the sake of righteousness. This should not be surprising for us. It is indeed a great privilege and blessing to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness. We are now going to meditate upon what it means to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness and why it is considered a blessing to us. May the Holy Spirit teach to our hearts.
If we continue faithfully in the ministry of peace-making, we will be persecuted. We are being persecuted for the Kingdom of God. We are being persecuted for the sake of Jesus. We have meditated previously that Jesus Himself is righteousness. The Kingdom of God is nothing but righteousness. So, when we are being persecuted for Jesus and His coming Kingdom, we are actually being persecuted for the sake of righteousness. There are many people who claim that they are striving for righteousness in this world, and that they are being persecuted for what they believe is righteousness. People are revolting, waging wars, and bearing persecutions for what they believe is right. Some may be just and others may be unjust in doing so. But, what is common to all of them is that they are being persecuted for temporary and worldly things. The world sees them as super heroes and their names will last in the memory of this world for many generations. These people feel privileged for what they are doing. They are honored by everyone. But we are God’s servants. The cause for our persecutions is greatly different from the causes of their persecutions. They may be persecuted for a just or an unjust cause. But we as the servants of the Most High God can be sure that we are being persecuted for a just cause. How much more should we be privileged for that? How much more will we be blessed and honored in Heaven? We are being persecuted for everlasting, glorious, and eternal things. See the world. People are blindly giving up themselves to persecutions for what they believe, whether it is right or wrong. What about us? We know that we are in the path of everlasting righteousness. We know that the righteousness we are preaching about is going to be established on the earth with power and glory in the second coming of the King of Kings, Lord Jesus. Do not hesitate. Do not take a backward step. Do not fear about being persecuted. Do not be discouraged by your present afflictions. You are suffering for an eternal cause. Your reward is going to be unimaginably great. Keep telling to yourself that you are being persecuted for the greatest cause, a cause greater than any other in this world. Remember that the sufferings which you are going through are negligible compared to the glory which is going to be manifested when Lord Jesus returns to this earth.
Till now I have tried to encourage believers who are hesitating to go forward bravely for being persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and also to remind the privilege and blessing of those who are already being persecuted for the sake of Jesus. Now, we will meditate upon three kinds of possible persecutions believers may undergo for the sake of righteousness. (Physical, mental, and spiritual persecutions)
Physical Persecutions: Many faithful believers became martyrs for the sake of Jesus because of physical persecutions. We all know very well about believers around the world, being persecuted. Many believers are being tortured and killed mercilessly in various countries (even in countries which are supposed to be secular). This world had tortured and killed Lord Jesus in the most cruel way. So, we as the faithful followers of Lord Jesus, should not be surprised if someone attacks us physically, for the sake of the gospel. We should be prepared for everything. We have both heard and known people from the families of gentiles being saved and afterwards persecuted by their loved ones for their faith. We know about many women being physically persecuted by their husbands for their faith. We know about parents persecuted by their children, or children persecuted by their parents in the same manner. But we should take courage. We should not lose our patience. For, our reward will be great in Heaven. Lord Jesus had set the perfect example for us to follow. He bore all the physical persecutions with the hope of the glorious joy which He would attain soon. Likewise we should be filled with the Holy Spirit and hope of joy when we are being physically persecuted for the sake of our faith. I pray that God will give strength and comfort to all the believers around the world who are being persecuted physically for the sake of His Kingdom.