Matthew 5:10-12: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
According to Carson, opposition is a normal mark of being a disciple of Jesus. That seems to be very true in today’s cancel culture where if you fail to condone then you are condemned. The reason for opposition is because of righteousness, that is trying to imitate Jesus. So these verse identify the follower of Jesus with practicing the righteousness of Jesus. It’s one thing to profess Jesus, it’s another to live like Jesus especially in the face of opposition. This life is but a fraction of eternity so we are expected to endure and even rejoice in persecution. This kind of joy is not emotion, but an attitude.
It seems odd to thank you for persecution, but I come today thanking you for persecution because it is the mark of being a follower of Christ. Lord, strengthen for when opposition comes. Forgive us when we fail in the face of persecution. Give us opportunities to share the hope we have with joyful hearts even when opposition to that message comes our way.
We pray these things in Jesus name, amen.