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Sandy Zull

READ : Matthew 11:1-11

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:10)

Here we have the final blessing of Jesus, the grand finale in his magnificent beatitudes. By this point we might expect him to point out one last pathway for us to find our way into heavenly bliss. We have already been promised the kingdom of heaven, comfort, inheritance of the earth, a filling of righteousness, the gift of mercy, the sight of our God, and to be called God’s children. So the final “Blessed are” must mean ultimate happiness. Isn’t happiness our spiritual right?

With bated breath we await the moment of glory cascading over our souls as the last promise is given. It comes, straight from Jesus: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Silence, not glory, cascades. This isn’t just a pinprick to the balloon of hope, rising up, up, and away from the sorrows of life; it is an ear-splitting rifle shot. No gentle floating back to reality for our expectations but rather a rude and painful crash.

Life in the kingdom is not for the faint of heart, nor for seekers of goodies and freebies. It’s for lovers of God. Persecution is both a promise and a great means of sifting out people’s real love.

PRAYER

We pray that our persecution would come for your name’s sake and not our blind stupidity.