The previous character trait or attitude discussed was that of a peacemaker, which gives us some insight as to “counting the cost” of the Christian life (Lk. 14:28). The type of persecution under consideration is that which comes from a life faithful to God.
Jesus along with the apostle Paul wrote of the real possibility of persecution: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12, KJV); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Rom. 8:35, NKJV).
Persecution comes about in various ways and forms: physical violence, sharp tongues, angry pens, rejection from family, friends, etc., socially out casted, etc. Yet, whatever form it may show, we must learn to properly respond with a joyful and glad heart (Mt. 5:12). Jesus reminded us that we stand in good company: “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” The kingdom of heaven is that for which Christ “suffered” (Heb. 5:7-8) and “tasted death” (Heb. 2:9) for each of us. He is our example (2 Pet. 2:21); therefore, we must follow in His steps. First, we must know that we, too, will face persecution, as did He. Second, we must face persecution as He has taught. These attitudes or character traits that are to be found in the man approved of God are those which were new to the Jewish economy, but would continue to this day in the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What follows the Beatitudes are those verses teaching that we are, in fact, “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:13-16). Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which his in heaven.”
- Wayne Rodgers