“Happy Are Those Who Have Been Persecuted for the Sake of Righteousness…”

The first seven beatitudes describe the kind of people we ought to be. The final beatitude is different; it is not a characteristic but a consequence! Discipleship involves suffering.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (vs. 11).

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6.22).

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (Luke 6.26).

You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Matthew 10.22).

To seek persecution and to behave in such a way as to encourage it is not what Jesus meant. Some people believe the degree of their suffering is a measure of their devotion and spirituality. That is wrong. Persecution for “righteousness sake” is what is commended. Our suffering must mirror the suffering of Jesus, “who when He was reviled, reviled not again” (1 Peter 2.23). “If any man suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Peter 4.16).

“For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus reminds us of the faithful before us. Our reward is the same as theirs! Therefore, our attitude toward suffering must reflect theirs, not to seek persecution as a badge of our holiness, but a willingness to endure it if it comes.

The Holy Spirit is clear on this subject, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3.12). May God grant us grace in the hour of trial.

“Happy are those who have been persecuted
for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

– Bill