Matthew 5:11-12 —— “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus is discussing with us the challenges of our commitment to following His teachings, and the sacrifices that may arise from that commitment.
When we put God at the centre of our lives, we find others persecuting and falsely accusing us. They do not have the comfort of knowing that they have a Best Friend and Companion in God. But we, who do know, can calmly face these false accusations because we are blessed and know that we are obeying the Word of God.
A person who is sincerely seeking to achieve love for God and loving service to God will rejoice when they see another person trying to grow spiritually or help others grow spiritually. But a person who is not sincere will attempt to reduce those who are.
We need to face it: We live in hell.
Hell is a place where people are primarily self-centred rather than God-centred. In this hellish place, we find hellish people. In hell, people are envious. In hell, people are self-righteous. In hell, people are hypocrites. In hell, people care more about themselves than others.
All of these faults in others are to be forgiven, just as we want to be forgiven for our many faults. Most of us can relate to this. How many of us have not criticized another person? For those who criticize us, we should be merciful. We should also be understanding. After all, Jesus came to take us out of hell.
The fact that this is hell is precisely why Jesus and many of the prophets before Jesus have been persecuted for their acts of mercy in trying to save us from this hell we live in.
Why does Jesus say “prophets who were before you”?
While many believe being a “prophet” means to “prophesize” about some future event, we know that the kind of “prophet” Jesus is referring to are those who have been empowered by the Supreme Being to speak on God’s behalf – to introduce people to God and to teach people to love and serve God.
Why are we instructed to rejoice and be exceedingly glad in the midst of false accusations? By being glad we are proving that we are doing what God has told us to do. As long as we are walking according to the Word of God, we are on the track and great is our reward. If we are able to love those who come against us there is a great reward for us in heaven.
When we realise that this false persecution is a guarantee of the heavenly reward we definitely have every reason to rejoice and celebrate! It is the time for CELEBRATION!
IT IS BOTH A PRIVILEGE AND A DUTY TO REJOICE IN THE LORD.