BLESSED are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12

IN THE FACE of persecution, Jesus' followers have two reasons to rejoice and be glad. First, they know that God rewards those who suffer for their faith, and that their reward will indeed be great in heaven. … The second reason Jesus' followers can rejoice in tribulation is that they stand in good company: In the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you, Jesus says.
Richard B. Gardner, Matthew

IT MAY SEEM strange that Jesus should pass from peacemaking to persecution, from the work of reconciliation to the experience of hostility. Yet however hard we may try to make peace with some people, they refuse to live at peace with us. Not all attempts at reconciliation succeed.
John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount

THERE ARE two dangers … for the friends of Jesus. The first is the temptation to make compromises with a culture that marginalizes and crushes some people in order to avoid conflict and rejection. … The second danger is the temptation to like to disturb this status quo. When we are rebels at heart and like to shock people, we can create a fight in order to be in the limelight. We can do some of these things unconsciously, experience rejection and then think that we are being persecuted like Jesus was.
Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John

JESUS' CLIMAX at the end of the Beatitudes says exactly this: Stand faithful and do not get blown about by the ideologies of the world. … If we lose our distinction from the world's greed, uncaring, self-centeredness, exclusionism, unfaithfulness, and violence, then we have no purpose.
Glen H. Stassen, Living the Sermon on the Mount

[W]E HAVE ONLY one Master, whose service is incompatible with any state of servitude to any other master. It is his will which governs our dealings with the world, and so we cannot accept that the world has any right to order us around. And if the world chooses to penalize us for this, that is a price we are prepared to pay.
Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes

ONE WONDERS why Christians today get off so easily. Is it because unchristian Americans are that much better than unchristian Romans, or is our light so dim that the tormentor can't see it? What are the things we do that are worth persecuting?
Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount

Related Elsewhere:

Other Reflections on the Beatitudes include:

Blessed Are the Peacemakers (December 17, 2007)
Blessed Are the Pure in Heart (November 12, 2007)
Blessed Are the Merciful (October 15, 2007)
Blessed Are Those Who Hunger (September 10, 2007)
Blessed Are the Meek (August 7, 2007)
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn (July 17, 2007)
Poor in Spirit (June 27, 2007)

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