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Persecuted | Matthew 5:10-12

Are you living in a manner that sets you apart?
Persecuted Bible Talk Matthew 5:10-12

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

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I have never been persecuted because of righteousness or for my love of Jesus.  Matthew 5:10 is not written about me…at least thus far in my life.  The same can probably be said for most people that read this.  The Greek word used here is diókó.  It means to put to flight, pursue, by implication to persecute.  To aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch. To pursue with all haste, earnestly desiring to overtake.

See, you probably haven’t experienced that.  This does not sound like they are chasing you down to simply shove you to the ground or trip you up.  This sounds scary and dangerous.  I think we get suffering some trials and going through tough times with being persecuted.  Matthew 5:11 gets a little more inclusive.  Jesus adds that those who are insulted or lied about because of him will have a great reward in heaven.  And that should make us rejoice and be glad.  Is it just me or is it hard to be glad and rejoice for being the butt of a joke or being left out of a group?  We can learn a lot about this from David in the Psalms.  He spent a lot of time talking and praying about being mistreated by his enemies.  About being slandered and lied about.  

Oneidizó – to disgrace, reproach, mock; insult, cast blame (create shame) viewing someone as culpably guilty and therefore deserving punishment.  This can be based on fact (Matthew 11:20) or incorrect assumptions (Matthew 5:11) unjust reproach, to defame.

That does sound like what I have experienced.  Jesus says I should rejoice, or delight in God’s grace and be glad.  Being glad is happier than it sounds.  It’s to exalt, rejoice greatly, getting so glad one jumps in celebration.

This reminds me of a song by Cain, I’m So Blessed:

“I’m so blessed.  I’m so blessed….On my best day I’m a child of God.  On my worst day I’m a child of God.”

No matter what we are facing we have to remember the mercy that has been shown to us through Jesus.  He suffered for us.  We can suffer for him.  “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1Peter 1:6-7

Hebrews 11 is one of the best books of the entire Bible.  The first half of the chapter talks about the giants of faith in the Old Testament.  How they had faith in all the varying circumstances in their lives and received the promises they were promised.  But the second half is all about the ones that suffered and didn’t receive what had been promised on this side of heaven.  The writer says that we have both of these groups as a cloud of witnesses:  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3

We will be insulted, maybe persecuted, for our faith in Jesus.  If you aren’t…chances are you aren’t doing it right.  Are you living in a manner that sets you apart?

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution.  The persecution drives you even deeper in God’s kingdom.  Not only that – count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me.  What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.  You can be glad when that happens – give a cheer, even! – for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.  And know that you are in good company.  My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Matthew 5:10-12 The Message

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