9th March 2020

Blessed are the Persecuted

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, that all who will live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Why be glad and rejoice about persecution? Because it reinforces our identity with Jesus and the prophets—though it has a price, there is also a reward. Persecution reminds us that we can anticipate something better in God’s kingdom. Our joy comes not from the physical suffering itself but for the reason for the suffering. This last Beatitude in our header scripture is the only one with a double blessing “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake” (Verse 10) and “Blessed are you when people insult you” (Verse 11). We need to pay close attention to this Beatitude, as it will sustain us in dark times.

What does it mean to be persecuted? It means to ‘pursue’ or ‘chase’; it could also mean to ‘harass. In Matthew 24:9 Christ taught that in the end time His followers will be hated by all nations because of Him. Persecution will only continue to grow as the world gets further away from God. As the world becomes darker, the light in believers will become even more effective.

The NIV says “Blessed are you when people insult you.” This can also be taken as ‘whenever.’ Believers will not always be persecuted, in the same way that Christ was not persecuted all the time. So take heart, we know that not only will He never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) but will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able without a way of escape so we are able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Prayer
Our loving heavenly Father, we live in an evil world and know that you will return soon. Be with all that are suffering and going through persecution. Grant your peace, comfort and protection to the persecuted. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Dennis Payne
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About the Author:
Dennis Payne attends the North London Congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion International London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON
W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email: london@gracecom.church

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