Matthew 5 records Jesus preaching the most famous sermon ever preached.
It’s familiar-“Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the humble, ….those who are persecuted for righteousness” (Matt 5:2-10).
But there’s something I never noticed before-
He seems to pause to especially encourage those who are persecuted because of righteousness —not the poor, the humble, the merciful, but the persecuted—how He knew the persecuted would need it!
He says, “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.” (Matt 5:11-13)
This persecution involves those who are living for the Lord, and because of it,suffer things like false accusations, rejection of “friends”, defamation to their character, etc.
Some of you are likely facing this now. And it is HARD.
Many more will face this as wrong is increasingly called, “right”. For in our society, those who stand for biblical truth are often “cancelled” and even threatened.
But Jesus took the time in this famous sermon to prepare us for such, and He goes right on in the next verse to encourage us, despite persecution, to KEEP being salt and not lose our saltiness (Matt 5:13).
Jesus tells us not to hide the light that is in us (Matt 5:14-17) as He surely knew this would be our temptation when facing criticism from the lost culture around us.
He also then reminds us that He didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill it.
Oh friend, know this – the Word has not changed with time or culture. Let’s be confident in remembering what was wrong when Jesus walked the earth is still wrong today.
We are not to compromise truth but we are to live it and teach it to others (Matt 5:19-20) and Jesus teaches us (in the rest of chapter 5) that this obedience should not just impact our actions but our hearts as well.
Oh, the Word is rich! May we be salt and light through and through. Let’s keep diving deeper so we can follow our Lord even closer!