And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
This beatitude can be especially difficult for us to understand and to experience. We know there are places in our world today, where innocent people who follow Jesus are persecuted, and sometimes even killed for no other reason than their faith in Christ. For such, their reward is an eternity spent in the presence of Jesus and the blessing of showing themselves to be a good and faithful servant to the God we love. As believers, we are to follow the example of Jesus during His earthly ministry, which is to live life as He taught us through the power of prayer and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Treating others with kindness, long-suffering, compassion and understanding as we seek to spread the Gospel of salvation through Christ alone, by faith alone. We are called to pray fervently, help those in need and be a light to the world, always striving in prayer to keep our hearts humble and focused on our submission to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We have to understand without humility we are in danger of the same disease that the Pharisee’s of Jesus’ day contracted, which is a heart grown cold because of self-righteous attitudes developed from years of practicing religion, rather than having a loving relationship with God. A relationship which is restored for us by our faith in Christ. The idea of persecution spoken of here refers to someone who was not seeking confrontation, but because of their faith experienced harm. In other words because of their witness and confession of faith in Christ experienced persecution. What this means for us is when we use our faith as a tool to confront others, to argue or to criticize or to make others acutely aware of their sin in a manner that makes us boastful or proud. We are not being Christ like and persecution from that kind of behavior does not gain us special blessings from God. We must never forget warrior’s for Jesus fight on their knees in prayer, before sacrificing themselves for others and the spread of the Gospel. We must never forget the Cross of Christ, is in itself an offense to the world. Let us take heed that we add no other offense by our own actions, giving others means to insult the name of Jesus, or cause for them to turn away from Christ Jesus our Lord.