Thank you, Jesus? It goes against my human bent to want to turn the other cheek. I don’t like accepting blame for something I did which wasn’t “wrong.” I don’t like being insulted or slandered either. Do you? So I don’t like equating the word “blessed” with “happy” because it may take me quite a while to have positive, “happy” emotions about the things previously mentioned. And yet Jesus says “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 say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”(Matt. 5:10-11) (Now doesn’t that warm you up?)
Jesus said these things because He knew people would put us down as we identify with Him. They would lie and discredit us when we appear authentically like Him. Such character and conduct can make people uncomfortable. Sometimes the projectiles can even be launched by Christ-followers! And why, you ask? Because amplified identity with Christ and too much of that “light” can be a disturbing presence for some people.
Jesus is not saying doing right and resembling Him earns bonus points for His followers while they tread planet earth. These “points” are mainly redeemable later. What He promises is the kingdom of heaven and its rewards. And just as surely as He promises people’s negative responses, He promises His favor towards us. He’s saying that righteousness has a price, but it also has its ultimate reward. This is not advocating license to act like a religious “jerk” and invite condemnation upon one’s self. We’ve all seen enough of this happen.
Jesus is saying when we depart from the norm and live like Him and conduct ourselves like Him, it will draw attention and with it potentially negative results. His encouragement is that though the world may disdain such examples of “righteous” living, He notices, He approves and He promises reward . . . great reward. In fact, in verse 12 Jesus goes on to say we are in good company. He was treated in the same way. “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Does your life cause any kind of stir? Do you ever feel the heat or sting from persecution? Are you positioned for such “blessing?” Think About It.