Daily Word

#8 Blessed are the Persecuted | Matthew 5:10-12

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB)

Last be-attititude

We’re on the last of the 8 be-attitudes. They’re setting the foundation for the rest of the Sermon on Christian living (Sermon on the Mount) by establishing the foundation. They are teaching us who we are (or should strive to be). Later in the Sermon He will teach how we should behave as His followers.


So this last one has to do with persecution. Not just any persecution; persecution for righteousness, because of Jesus. Persecution comes in all different flavors, for many reasons. Some are persecuted (or discriminated against) due to race, gender, handicap, etc. These are real forms of persecution. It can be especially difficult since the person cannot choose or change this attribute. This type of persecution comes from ignorance, prejudice, insensitivity, etc.

Faith-based persecution

What Jesus is talking about is different. He’s talking about persecution due to a choice based on belief or faith. This persecution comes from a reluctant inner admission that what the follower of Christ stands for is right and the persecutor themself is wrong. And it’s not just about earthly things but about life itself and more, eternal life. It’s a rejection of the truth in favor of a more comfortable lie.

Examples – past

To understand persecution back then look at the life of Paul the apostle. He said, “the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that chains and afflictions await me.” (Acts 20:23) “He is kidnapped (Acts 21:27), beaten (Acts 21:30-31; 23:3), threatened (Acts 22:22; 27:42), … Tradition says that Paul is eventually put to death for his work, although this is not recounted anywhere in the Bible.” (theologyofwork.org) And of course, Jesus was persecuted ending in death.

Examples – today

Today, persecution can happen in many forms. I know a man who is a minority in China who, along with others in his church, were denied social benefits – not for being a minority, but for being followers of Christ.

“North Korea remains a brutally hostile place for Christians to live. If discovered by the authorities, believers are either sent to labour camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot – and their families will share their fate as well.” (opendoorsus.org)

Kingdom of heaven

We covered this in be-attitude #1, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We said Jesus talks much about the Kingdom of heaven (kingdom of God). It serves as a  contrast to the present world and its ways. It also helps His disciples improve their understanding of the future life to instill hope when people are experiencing the hopelessness of this present life. Here’s a link to that post.


  • Are you being persecuted for righteousness sake? Rejoice. Think of eternity. Even give God thanks. 
  • What an honor to be persecuted for Jesus, for righteousness. As I consider His great love for me and what He did to demonstrate that love, I’m motivated to love Him in return. A willingness to be persecuted becomes possible.
Sri Lanka church attack. Image from newsweek.com *

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