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.
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 ...1