The Beatitudes Part 8: For Goodness’ Sake

Note: This post is part eight in a series of eight posts on the Beatitudes.


Jesus Christ, speaking virtually in the shadow of the cross, said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but because you are not of the world, therefore, the world hates you.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  (John 15:20)

A program as radical and revolutionary as Christ has proposed in these Beatitudes will face opposition.  The total discipleship He requires is sure to evoke sharp opposition. In light of this, it seems strange to frequently hear Christians with whiny voices say, “It isn’t easy being a Christian.”  The Christian way is so different at its core that it is sure to incur the wrath of the world that resents it.

Yet, of such persons Christ said, “Blessed,” that is, happy, joyous, to be congratulated.  This beatitude forcefully dramatizes the fact that the kind of happiness of which Christ spoke was not dependent on circumstances, but character.

The Greek word translated persecuted, dioko, means to put to flight.  It literally means to harass.  Imagine, “the harassed shall be happy.”  Notice, they don’t harass you because they hate you.  It is for “righteousness sake.”  It is Christ in you that the world hates.  We should love and pity anyone who hates Him.

You are blessed when you decide to live in harmony with God’s holy will for you and resolve to fulfill it against any odds.  It should be remembered, however, that there are persons who can’t tolerate people who God considers “righteous.”  

Unlike the other seven Beatitudes, this one does not deal with the internal character of the individual believer, but with the conditions that can be expected.  He changes from “those” to “you.”  In Vs. 11, it turns to use “you.”  It is as though He is saying “My followers in every generation may suffer persecution.” Persecution became so consistent that by the end of the first century the word for witness and martyr were the same.

Paul wrote of “Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed we entreat.” 
(I Corinthians 4:12)

Reviled: Affronted to your face, openly snubbed, insulted, or jeered at.  An all-out verbal assault on your values.

Persecuted: Harassed, annoyed, tormented, or involved in severe punishment.  It involves physical, emotional and economic hurt.

Defamed: Behind your back people have said all manner of evil against you falsely. It means to slander, maligning one’s reputation, clouding one’s motives.

How are we to respond? Jesus said when you are persecuted “rejoice.”  The Greek word is chairo, which literally means “to be really glad.”

Then the text says “be exceedingly glad.”  The Greek word agalliasthe for “glad” means “to run, jump, skip, and shout for joy.”

“Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Kingdom of Heaven is not so much a region as a reign.

The way to heaven is through heaven, and all the way to heaven is heaven, and only the heavenly enters heaven.

Then all reviling, persecution, and maligning will seem so inconsequential.

Buckle up!