“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”(Matthew 5:11-12)
Doing the right thing no matter what others may do to you must be an important point because Jesus goes back a second time to address the issue of persecution for believers. He elaborates on the types of attacks we may experience when we follow Him. We may be reviled, evil things may be said about us and we may be falsely accused when we stand strong in our faith. Jesus didn’t promise a walk in the park. Other times, He warned His followers that their enemies would become engaged by their message and try to kill them.
Jesus wasn’t kidding. The history of the church tells us that all the original disciples died as martyrs. In the Gospel of John, he tells us that people loved darkness ( John 3:19-20) They loved it so much that they hated people who shined as God’s light. People still love darkness as much as ever, but often they ignore us instead of actively attacking us.
In today’s verse, Jesus compares their sacrifice for God with the sacrifice we make when we stand up for Him today, Our reward, too, parallels the one the prophets received, and for that, we can be thrilled.
If we have stood strong for Jesus Christ but escaped persecution, be thankful, and realize that today we around the globe experienced severe treatment because they stand up for Jesus Christ.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.