Don’t you wonder why Jesus just couldn’t continue with the blessings? He was really on a roll, speaking into the lives of those, of us, who needed to hear that he sees us, calls us to himself and blesses us. I can imagine that many sitting on that mountainside had tears in their eyes, as they felt so loved.
Why after the peacemakers does he talk of persecution?
Before I give some thoughts, let’s listen to what he said:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:10-12 (CSB)
Perhaps he talks of persecution because those who seek to bring peace represent our role as ambassadors for Christ.
What is it Paul said in his letter to the church of Corinth?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Sorry, I had to include several verses there because Paul’s words resonate so with those of Jesus on the mountainside. The peacemaker who faces persecution is the one who is standing between a man and God because he is calling him away from the thoughts, lifestyle, sin that is keeping God at arm’s length, and pleading with him to make it right with his Maker. He pleads because he knows that it is the only way for peace.
Satan doesn’t like that, though. His aim is anything but peace, and those who are blinded by his lies are the ones he uses to persecute the Ambassadors of the King. In the end, it’s not just the peacemakers who face persecution though, no it’s those who are poor in spirit, who mourn for the lostness of our world, who are meek with the meekness of Christ, who hunger and thirst for righteousness over the things of this world, the merciful, and the pure in heart.
All who are blessed in the Kingdom are attacked by the World…and yet, even in that is blessing.
Why? Because what was given in the beginning holds true to the end—they still are part of the Kingdom of heaven. Nothing can take that away, not even persecution.
So, why does Jesus talk about persecution after all the blessing? Because he had to go through it first, and a servant is not greater than his master. He told his disciples, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” It’s a guarantee; can’t be avoided; can’t be delayed, because this world is groaning under the weight of the fall. Even so, we can know blessing, even in the midst of trials, suffering, and persecution, because we know it’s temporary and something better awaits us on the other side for eternity.
We’re not any better than the prophets before us, Jesus tells us. They suffered, he suffered, we suffer.
But, in a little while, all things will be made new, and he will dry every tear.
Yes, in this world we will have tribulation, but we should be of good cheer—Jesus has overcome the world!
Grace and Peace