Posts Tagged ‘Beatitudes’

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12

Here are some facts about this Beatitude. It is the last and longest Beatitude. Jesus gets personal with it because He is directing it to a particular audience. He doesn’t downplay it at all and repeats it. It has a commandment and it goes from third person to second. Jesus states the inedible – if you follow Him, you will get persecuted. But He also says that if we are persecuted, we are blessed.

I love this quote from Keith Stewart “If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.”

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

John 15:18-20

Persecution comes from following Jesus, not from making irresponsible choices – there is a difference. Meek people choose their response, not by reacting to their circumstances. People will always push our buttons and we have a choice to respond in the way Christ would. When we are persecuted, we are persecuted because the world hates Christ, not us. Understand that Jesus feels our pain (Acts 9:9 – Jesus asks Saul why he is persecuting Him, not Christians). When we take matters in our own hands, we take them out of God’s hands. We can never get ahead by getting even (Romans 12:21). Just know that no one can take away our God-honoring response.

Jesus never enjoyed His sufferings. Rejoice in your sufferings doesn’t mean to enjoy them. Rejoice goes back to the source of joy despite what is going on. We can hate pain, but like the results it brings us. 1 Peter 4:14 asked the question if the world sees God in us and through our trials. Remember – all the disciples died of persecution.

Cassie Bernall was killed in the Columbine massacre for her faith. Here is a poem she wrote before she died:

Now I have given up on everything else
I have found it to be the only way
To really know Christ and to experience
The mighty power that brought
Him back to life again, and to find
Out what it means to suffer and to
Die with him. So, whatever it takes
I will be the one who lives in the fresh
Newness of life of those who are
Alive from the dead
– Cassie Bernall

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I think this video is so powerful. Johnny Cash filmed it on his deathbed. Trent Reznor wrote the lyrics and they really capture something as believers we get caught up in – our stuff. I’m not just talking about material things, but our accomplishments, popularity, needs, wants, etc. We spend all our time and energy living for things that will eventually fade away. In Biblical times, Ephesus was this amazing city that was supposed to stand the test of time and now it lays in ruins. Johnny Cash also sees this in his own career and his fame. The lyrics say it all – you can have it all, this empire of dirt – because in the end, it all turns to shit and you will hurt. 

Jesus spoke about the Beatitudes very early in his ministry. We always hear about the ten commandments, yet we never hear much about the Beatitudes. Why is that? Probably because they are the blessings no one wants.

Blessed are.. the poor in spirit.. those who mourn.. the meek.. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.. the merciful.. the pure in heart.. the peacemakers.. those who are persecuted..   Matthew 5:3-10

What kind of blessings are these?  Think about it – we always say we are blessed when we are happy, or make money, or healthy, etc. I will admit I find myself saying this all the time. Yet Jesus preaches the opposite. Blessed those who are persecuted? Who finds this a blessing?

Do not conform  any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Romans 12:2

Jesus is saying we are closer to the Kingdom of heaven when we are closer to our weakness. True humility comes from our weaknesses, not our accomplishments. Romans is saying to live a life radically different from the world. We can only see this radical change from the inside out, not the outside in. Behavior modification is only temporary because eventually what is inside our hearts will reach the surface – the things we truly want and desire. The more out of touch we are with our own personal poverty, the more judgemental we become. We want and we blame when we don’t get our way. So our choice is to own our sins and not deny them. We need to see the blessings of having a pure heart and a renewed mind that comes from our weaknesses.

“Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

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