The Persecuted Are The Blessed
My, Devotion to Him #61
VERSE PASSAGE: Matthew 5:12 "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." - NIV
VERSE PASSAGE: Acts 5:41-42 "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah." - NIV
VERSE PASSAGE: 1 Peter 4:13-16 "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." - NIV
Jesus is saying that persecution should actually cause us to rejoice. Matthew says the apostles left a city rejoicing because they had been counted of worth for suffering disgrace for the name of Christ. Peter tells us to not be ashamed as we suffer because of our Christianity but praise God that we bear the name.
There are many positive things about persecution but one of the best reasons to rejoice is because of the reward awaiting us in heaven.
Jesus takes the persecution of His saints very seriously as can be seen during the Damascus road experience of the apostle Paul. The Lord asked Paul whom was Saul "Why are you persecuting me?" He didn't say, "Why are you persecuting my people?" but "Why are you persecuting me?" This can be found in Acts Chapter 9.
You see Jesus pointed out to Saul that he was hurting Christ. See as we doing the will of the Lord and spread the Word of God as believers and followers of Christ we bear His Name. When we hurt Jesus hurts. Jesus is saying rejoice be grateful because your reward for be persecuted because of being a believer and follower of Christ will be great.
It is not actually us that people are rejecting but they are rejecting the One we represent. Therefore, Jesus promised to share His reward with us. All the glory and honor that Jesus has and will receive will be shared with those who have suffered shame for His name's sake.
VERSE PASSAGE: Romans 8:17 "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." - NIV
Focusing on the reward instead of the persecution can actually make us rejoice when people speak against us as did the apostles in Acts 5:41. Paul actually longed to experience the fellowship that Jesus provided to those who suffered for His sake Philippians 3:10. Know that God's reward is greater than any suffering we will ever encounter. Do not be discouraged but be re-energized and joyous as we suffer for the name of God.
Be blessed my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Copyright © 2017 by Jacob D. Olinger