The Sermon On the Mount
Matthew, Chapter 5
Matthew 5:10-12) Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In regards to “persecuted for righteousness’ sake,”
“The next beatitude deals with those who are persecuted, not for their own wrongdoings, but for righteousness’ sake” [BBC].
“They are happy who suffer, seems a strange saying: and that the righteous should suffer, merely because they are such, seems as strange. But such is the enmity of the human heart to every thing of God and goodness, that all those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution in one form or other” [Clarke].
“Their integrity condemns the ungodly world and brings out its hostility. People hate a righteous life because it exposes their own unrighteousness” [BBC].
“Peter recognizes that suffering comes to some Christians for reasons other than their faithfulness to Jesus (1 Peter 4:15-16)” [Guzik].
1Peter 4:15-16) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16) Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
NOTE: Some believers “suffer” because of an obnoxious personality, and then want to quote this verse as their defense. We, as believers, should exhibit love towards others, and all that love entails, and should therefore be anything but obnoxious.
ANOTHER NOTE: Note that the promise of this beatitude is the same as that of the first one.
We are challenged here to make certain that when others “persecute” us, rather that persecution is physical, verbal, or social, that their disdain for us has nothing to do with bad behavior on our part; but rather, it has to do with our having placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That decision causes us to refrain from some of the activities that they might engage in; and they might dislike us as a result of that.
John 3:19-21) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
11) Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Concerning “shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake,”
“The persecution mentioned in the preceding verse comprehends all outward acts of violence – all that the hand can do. This comprehends all calumny, slander, etc., all that the tongue can effect” [Clarke].
“The final beatitude seems to be a repetition of the preceding one. However, there is one difference. In the previous verse, the subject was persecution because of righteousness; here it is persecution for Christ’s sake” [BBC].
NOTE: I doubt that verses 10 & 11 are 2 different beatitudes, but rather, verse 11 is enlarging on the extent of the persecution mentioned in verse 10. But we do learn something important when we look at the 2 verses together: the righteousness that we get persecuted for is simply living out the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ; both what He taught personally and what the disciples taught through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: Why should I count myself blessed when others speak evil of me because of my relationship with Christ?
12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Regarding “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad,”
“Literally, we could translate this phrase to say that the persecuted should ‘leap for joy.’ Why? Because the persecuted will have great reward in heaven, and because the persecuted are in good company: the prophets before them were also persecuted” [Guzik].
Here Are A Couple of Reasons Why We Can Be Exceeding Glad:
James 1:2-4) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3) Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4) But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Romans 8:16-18) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
NOTE: Our reward is Heaven, and a little bit of Heaven to go to Heaven with. By that I don’t mean this life will be a breathe, but that when we live His way, and we suffer as a result of it, we will find God’s super-natural ability [a little bit of Heaven], at work in us, giving us the strength to face it all.
NOTE: It’s hard to believe that right here in America, the land of the free, we who have cast our lot with the Lord will be viewed as haters because we don’t agree with all the “politically correct” ideas that they will try to force on us.
Right is right! And right is what God Almighty says it is!
There is a special reward in Heaven for those who are persecuted for doing what’s right because they are following the example left us by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let that promise keep us strong.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church