Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
There are many self-help books that ‘tickle the ears’ (tell you what you want to hear) when it comes to helping you succeed in life. Many books focus on positivism and optimism, getting you to look on the bright side and pursuing happiness until it becomes yours (otherwise known as the law of attraction).
The problem, however, is sometimes those books miss huge point staring at us in the face. Sometimes, the truth isn’t a call to something great, but to stop doing something you love because what you love is something destructive. Sometimes you have to call balls and strikes because the truth is the most helpful thing you can give to someone.
Jesus wraps up the beatitudes by making the claim that we may be treated poorly by others, being reviled, persecuted and have evil utterances declared against us. In this, we will be rewarded because we will be like the prophets of old who were also persecuted. They were persecuted because they invited others into a gospel conversation and in doing so, they had to say hard things to the world they preached to. They had to say, the actions of others were evil, full of malice and deceit. Some spoke poorly of others and others were envious! Sometimes inviting others into gospel conversations means telling them the truth that their actions are not God-honoring.
In doing so, others might not like you as much as they like the self-help books that tickle their ears and tell them they can be anything and do anything and achieve ultimate happiness. In preaching the gospel, you may have to call others to humility and sacrifice and self-denial to pursue Jesus over their comforts and pleasures and Iphones. By doing this, you risk persecution because you call people to follow Jesus as you do.
Happy is the one who identifies as a Christ-follower and now can even more closely identify with their Lord and Savior because they were treated in similar fashion as Jesus was when he was persecuted, reviled and slandered against before the day of his death. Happy is the one who sees the world clearly and calls others to the truth, even when it causes him pain to do so. This person will be rewarded. This person, Jesus promises us, has eternal life.
Parkland Community Church:
We Exist to Develop People Who Love Jesus and Serve Others.