Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:10
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10
At first glance, to say that the persecuted Christians are blessed looks a bit odd. In today’s mentality, to be blessed is too often seen as a current event. “Wow, I am so blessed having received that check.” Or “What a blessing my family is together for a week.” Now, let me say that I am not implying these are not blessings, for they very well can be. What I am saying is that even though we are going through incredibly difficult times, we are blessed because we know God is with us through it all. And it is a great blessing that God never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Let’s look at the beatitudes, or the blessed found in Matthew. First of all, lets look at the meaning of the word. It is the Greek word ‘makarios’, pronounced mak-ar’-ee-os meaning ‘supremely blest or a state of supreme happiness’. When we look at these verses, we see something interesting, Jesus is saying, “blessed are the … “present tense, “for theirs is the kingdom’ or “they shall” future tense. He is saying that they are blessed not because great things are happening now, but great things are promised to them. Note these phrases; ‘theirs is the kingdom of God’, ‘they SHALL be comforted’, ‘they SHALL inherit the earth’, ‘they SHALL be satisfied’, ‘they SHALL see God’, ‘they SHALL be called sons of God’, for your reward IN HEAVEN is great’.
Now, let’s look at the first part of our focus verse. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness”. The idea of this phrase is those who have been or are currently being persecuted because of the Christ-like life that is lived in sight of all others, with no compromise. Because of the light that you are, as stated in a later verse, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”. Matthew 5:16. Jesus then goes deeper in the next two verses. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12. Jesus is linking what happened to the prophets in the Old Testament to those persecuted for Christ’s sake. After all, they were persecuted for their righteousness and devotion to God. And how are we blessed for our persecution? The Kingdom of Heaven is ours. We are assured our home will be with God. No matter what is done to us, if we stand strong and unrelenting, not giving an inch, we are blessed with a future eternal home with the one who died for us.
I want to encourage us all not to worry about what is happening to us now. If we are insulted, attacked, falsely accused of evil or persecuted in any way, we must not focus on what is happening now, but to know we are blessed because of it. We are not to provoke others to persecute us by violating the law or by our speech through purposefully antagonizing people. If we live our lives as we should, it will no doubt happen. And when it does, be strong and look to God for comfort. They may wonder how we can stand against the persecution we are enduring. It is because they have no idea just how blessed we truly are.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.