Summary: There are some who do not see the Christian life as one that involves physical or emotional pain. The popular message to preach nowadays is the “prosperity message.” That message satisfies a lot of people.
As we continue our study on THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, we will see tonight that the direction in which Jesus was teaching (in the first nine verses) takes a sharp turn in the highway. The verses we have already studied have been inspiring and uplifting for me, personally. But what we will read tonight (in the next few verses) will go beyond inspiration to that of caution.
As we will see, Jesus had a personal stake in the next three verses because they have to do with personal pain…both physical and emotional.
There are some who do not see the Christian life as one that involves physical or emotional pain. The popular message to preach nowadays is the “prosperity message.” That message satisfies a lot of people. Many people in our American culture expect their Christian walk to be filled with lots of positive things. I am not opposed to that thinking, but I also know that there are times when living for God can mean painful sacrifices.
Text: Matthew 5:10 (Key Verse);
Matthew 11:2 thru 9 (Study Verse)
At THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT there is no mention of John the Baptist, but I would think Jesus wanted to speak to anyone and everyone who would ever be -
“persecuted for righteousness sake.”
Jesus may have been thinking about what would happen to His very dear friend, John the Baptist, in the coming days. I am certain Jesus knows what might happen to any of us in the near/distant future…
John the Baptist is our example for Christian persecution. He was very different than most people.
1. He lived in the great outdoors and loved it.
2. Wearing the finest clothes was not his concern.
3. He didn’t mince his words…he always said what needed to be said, but what most people wouldn’t dare to say…
4. He was bold enough that rebuking King Herod was no skin off his teeth…
5. His primary message was for everyone to repent, and it didn’t matter who you were.
6. He had people who hated him and hated his message of repentance.
7. He was not treated fairly…
8. He is gruesomely executed for telling the truth by an evil king.
All of this may seem hard for us to imagine. We live in a country that stands by the innocent until proven guilty. In America, our judicial system for law and order is as fair as any other court system in the world.
Our lives are hard to compare with someone like John the Baptist. He was innocently executed by the highest court in the land. And nobody did a thing to come to his rescue. Nobody. Not even the Lord.
This is hard to swallow. An innocent man of God is murdered, while God goes about His business.
Is this how the anointed prophet is rewarded?
Is this how God honors those who are faithful to Him?
By the way, it’s okay to ask these questions. Because I am certain that John the Baptist did. He asked lots of questions of the Lord while sitting in a dungeon awaiting his execution. I’d have some questions too!
The question that is remembered for thousands of years is the one in which he asked Christ,
“Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
That, my friend, is a profound question.
Have you ever asked a question of God like that one?
Have you ever been at a place in life when all you wanted to know was,
“God, are you going to save me?”
If there is ever a verse that causes the weak and shakey Christians to question Who God is, it has to be this verse. I am a little surprised that Matthew recorded it. Not many people understand what it means…
The way I understand it is that John asked this from his dungeon of doubt. I know that your particular circumstance is different than that of John the Baptist.
But the question is often the same…
Have you ever tried to do the right thing only to have the wrong done to you?
We ask ourselves questions like:
“If God is so good, why do I hurt so bad?”
“If God is really there, why am I here?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
“Why are the righteous persecuted?”
Certainly it would only make sense for Jesus to go get John the Baptist out of that dungeon. Instead Jesus kept up what He was already doing. Jesus says -
The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
The fact is – there are lots of injustices taking place in this world everyday. Nonetheless, the Lord continues all of the other things He is doing.