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Blessed Are Those Who Rejoice

Blessed Are The Steadfast

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:12

As we come to the last verse of what is known as the Beatitudes, we encounter yet another verse on how to handle persecution. The purpose of the Beatitudes is to help the believer understand that the way to experience heavenly blessing is counter-cultural to the world’s idea of happiness. The believer in Christ must understand what it will cost to follow Jesus. And from the very beginning of Jesus’ teaching ministry, he lays out the reality of how much it will cost to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In verses 10 and 11, we see that there is blessing in being persecuted for the sake of Christ. We are not to pursue persecution in order to find blessing, but the reality is that persecution should find you because your life should be so counter-cultural, that the natural result is persecution. We can remember back to Moses and how he chose to leave the palace in order to obey God’s call on his life. He forsook all that this world had to offer in order to follow after Jesus Christ. And we forget that we are called to do the exact same thing. Our calling is no different. To follow after Jesus, we are to forsake all of the temporary and fleeting happiness that this world has to offer and we are to run to Jesus with reckless abandon. 

In verse 12 of Matthew 5, Jesus says that we are to “Rejoice and be glad” when we experience persecution. And these words seem to be easier said than done. But we have an entire Bible worth of examples of disciples of Christ who were persecuted and were found rejoicing. The purpose of our hardship is to find joy. Meaning, the purpose of the fiery trials that we go through are for the process of learning what it means to be completely and totally dependent on Christ for our satisfaction. Everything that we go through is so that we because more reliant on Christ for our joy and less reliant on what this world offers for temporary happiness.

Our goal in persecution should be echoed by Acts 5:41, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” And then follow that up with how they responded to this persecution in verse 42, “And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” The goal of our hardships are that we would find all-satisfying joy in Christ Alone. He is all that we need.

When you are struggling with something in your life (marriage, relationship, motivation, work, communication, etc), where do you turn? Do you relieve your stress or discomfort with food, alcohol, sex, pornography, sports, hobbies?… OR do you immediately turn to the ONLY hope you have to be totally and completely satisfied?

May we live out the lyrics of this great song:

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching over me,
I will sing through every storm.

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
In His cross my trust shall be,
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see!
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