“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10
The word or concept of persecution is foreign to the American church. Miriam Webster defines it as the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook. Christian persecution goes all the way back to the early Church. We have been extremely blessed in America for centuries because of the faith of our Founding Fathers. America was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and freedom of religion is part of the First Amendment of our Constitution. Other areas of the world do not have such an amendment and Christian persecution is an actual thing today. What Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:10, explains that there is a special blessing for people who are persecuted for their faith and righteous living, they will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. This account in Matthew is before Jesus’ shed blood on the cross which brings salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Jesus is speaking to the Jewish people that followed the Law of Moses, but I believe the promise extends to the believer in Jesus Christ as well.
Have you ever thought about being asked the question, “If someone put a gun to your head and told you to deny Christ and live or profess Christ and die, what would you would do?” That is a very hard question but many, many early Christians and missionaries around the world have died for their faith. There is a book called Foxes Book of Martyrs. It’s a very old book with several accounts of those who gave up their own life because of their commitment to Christ. Ten of the twelve disciples were martyred for their faith in Jesus. I fear that in the day in which we live in 2021, Christianity has grown weak in our commitment and devotion to Christ. We tend to be consumers more than devoted followers. It is often more about, “What is in it for me?” I thank God for the devoted Christians that have been a faithful example in my life.
In 1999, at Columbine High School in Colorado, two young men entered the school with assault weapons. They went up to the library and held several students hostage. They began to ask the question to each one of the students, “Do you believe in God?” One girl in the library, when asked the question, said, “Yes.” She was shot and killed right there on the spot. She was robbed of growing up, getting married, having children, and serving Christ, but her story has reached the masses and her bold testimony for Christ lives on. She did not lose that day, she actually won! Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in Heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
What would you say?
“He is no fool who
gives what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose”