The new you… persecuted!
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Jesus never sugar-coats the truth. He always tells it like it is.
This is part of the reason why we can have such confidence in believing in Him. He doesn’t just paint a pretty picture that conceals all the unpleasant stuff underneath. He doesn’t just tell us all the “good” stuff – and leave us surprised and jaded when we come face to face with the inevitable hard stuff. He warns us in advance that there is price to pay for believing God’s truth – but it is always worth the price!
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. Jesus was the world’s only perfect person – and He ended up being hated and violently killed. How can Someone Who always did what was right end up persecuted, betrayed, falsely accused, wrongly convicted, unmercifully beaten, and nailed to a cross?
Because Jesus always stood up for what was truly right, He portrayed God’s Heart for people, and He helped people (through God’s power) even when it wasn’t religiously correct to do so (like healing on the Sabbath). He cut directly against the grain of modern thinking, even religious thinking, and was unashamed to make His stand on the things that truly represented God’s ways and thoughts.
So whenever we hear Jesus speaking (in the Bible) He often says things that are diametrically opposed to what others have said. The entire “sermon on the mount” is a perfect illustration of this fact. He contrasts what is “normally” accepted, with what God truly thinks – and in this way, He undermines the status quo. Truth, by its very nature, confronts falsehood.
Jesus is not about rebellion (for rebellion’s sake) – Jesus is a Light bearer, bringing the light. And all manners of darkness despise the Light.
The Kingdom of God is all about God’s Light coming into the world to dispel the darkness (whether it be wickedness, evil, or… cold-hearted religion). At the heart of the persecution (of which Jesus is speaking) is the battle of darkness trying to forcefully resist the Light.
To stand for God’s truth, against the “wisdom” of the culture will most always earn the contempt and derision of those who have embraced ways of thinking that disregard, or misrepresent, the ways and thoughts of God.
To take a stand with Jesus means that we will probably going be a target of persecution. But when persecution comes, we are in really good company. Jesus told us: “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (from John 15:20)
The new you longs to be connected to, and representative of, Jesus…
Prayer focus: God, help me to welcome the “cost” of taking a stand for Your truth.