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The Eighth Beatitude

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matt.5:10

This is the eighth and final beatitude spoken by Jesus Christ during the Sermon on the Mount.  This scripture makes us painfully aware that persecution will come against those who love Jesus Christ and are his followers.  The good news, however, is that it also speaks of the wonderful reward for those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.

Persecution is the act of harassing, oppressing, or killing people because of their difference from society. You would assume that individuals who are humble, meek, merciful, peacemakers, who have pure hearts, who hunger and thirst after righteousness who are full of love, who are obedient to God, and who meet all of the requirements of the previously discussed beatitudes would be loved by men.  Yet we are told that Christians will be persecuted for their stance for goodness, righteousness and holiness.  Why is this?  In John 15: 18 we are told “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you.”  They hated our Lord and Savior so much that they even crucified him.  The good news for those of us who are followers of Christ is that if we are persecuted for righteousness sake we will be blessed!  We are assured that even if we are persecuted by men we will be rewarded with passage into the Kingdom of Heaven.

What we must remember is that when we take a stand for righteousness we represent the light of Jesus Christ and our light exposes those who walk in darkness.  Darkness hates light, therefore, the darkness in the hearts of unrighteous men and women will hate the light in Christians.  We should not be surprised or amazed when we are persecuted because of the light that we exude.   2 Timothy 3:12  says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 1 Peter 4:12-14 reminds us, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Christians are persecuted because their belief in Jesus Christ as Savior does not conform to the godlessness of a sinful world. When we take a firm stand for Jesus and righteousness we will not be loved by the world.  Evil men persecuted our Lord and Savior simply because they hated his righteousness.  They hated the light that His life shone upon their sins.  And if they persecuted Him, we can expect to be persecuted as well.  But we are encouraged by the eighth beatitude that when we experience persecution for righteousness sake Heaven will be our reward.  Let’s stand for Jesus!