This week we are focused on the Beatitude in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(NIV) The word persecuted comes from the word meaning “to chase or pursue.” It also could mean “to harass.” Throughout history, Christians have been persecuted. The first instances are recorded in the New Testament. The book of Acts tells of the execution of a Christian man named Stephen. It also tells of Saul, who pursued and arrested Christians. Saul later became a Christian. He was then persecuted for his faith in Jesus!
Persecution continues today. The news media usually doesn’t cover it. The media is concerned about Afghanistan today. They worry about the Taliban reasserting harsh limitations on women. Also at risk are Christians! Christians are often beaten, robbed — even killed in several countries. In August, three Christians in India were visiting a man who’d lost his wife, adult son and daughter-in-law to Covid. The man wanted the Christians there. They were praying and reading scripture when a group broke in and beat the Christians severely. Then the authorities came and arrested the Christians and imprisoned them.*
Jesus says that such people are blessed! If you ask me, being arrested and beaten doesn’t sound like a blessing! Well, it isn’t. The blessing is not the persecution. The blessing is being a part of the kingdom of heaven.
*Anugrah Kumar, “Pastors beaten, jailed after comforting grieving Hindu widower in India: report,” The Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastors-beaten-jailed-for-comforting-grieving-widower-in-india.html.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.