This is a hard saying
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
This one is hard for me. It’s hard for me to understand how persecution can be a blessing. Sure, I can receive it by faith, but to write about it with conviction takes some revelation. So, I am going to start with the second part and hopefully we will have a better grasp when I am done.
It says “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven all through His ministry here in the world. I think Jesus gave the clearest explanation of the Kingdom of heaven when asked about it by the Pharisees in Luke 17. He said: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21) Jesus plainly says that God’s kingdom or the kingdom of heaven is not something you will see when you die or not when He sets up His kingdom on Earth. He told them that God’s domain is inside each one of us. It is where He lives. In our lives and in our hearts. We release that kingdom in our lives when we receive Jesus as Savior and begin to walk out our purpose in this world. We don’t have to wait until the sweet by and by when we are gone from this world, Jesus tells us that we can operate in the kingdom right here in the world right now. By following His example and the leading of His Spirit, we can walk each day by heaven’s principles and God’s way. Why else would He tell us to pray for His will to be done here in the world just as it is in heaven. (see Matthew 6)
This is great news and when we realize that we are living this life the kingdom of heaven way and in God’s love and direction, that becomes all that is important. I am reminded of Stephen when he faced the persecution of the high priest and counsel, all he saw was the kingdom of heaven even until death. Stephen said in the face of persecution and death: But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”(Acts 7:55-56)
Wow! That truly is a blessing to be at the point of martyrdom and only see God in His kingdom watching what is going on and Jesus standing to welcome you home. I do see that as a blessing. I also know that when I am talking to someone about salvation, I am talking to them as someone who belongs to a different world than they do and I am willing to give my life so that they can escape this world of sin too.
Jesus was right when He said blessed are those who are persecuted because of their right relationship with God because they belong to a different kingdom, the kingdom of heaven.
Today I want to encourage you to walk out your days knowing that you belong to a different kingdom, and you are a citizen of heaven. You bring God’s kingdom here to this world when you received Jesus into your heart and life. Now you understand that the world will try to come against you sometimes, but you are not of this world, this is not your home, so it doesn’t matter what they think of you, it only matters that they get the opportunity to receive Jesus and His kingdom into their life too. It may not happen today, but it can still happen even after the persecution is over.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:3-12
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.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.