Matthew 5:12 (NKJV)
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Here in the United States, we as Christians face little to no persecution at all… for now anyway. So to see a verse like this takes me back a little. I have heard of persecution, we read about it in the Bible, but would I want to face that type of animosity? Could I find reward in it?
Rejoice And Be Exceedingly Glad
The previous verse says… Matthew 5:11 (11) Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake… Are we supposed to rejoice and be exceedingly glad about this? It does not seem right. To understand why we should be exceedingly glad, we have to take a look at why the world is persecuting us in the first place.
We can look at this and see that part of the persecution is an attack on our Christian character, beliefs, and the promises we have in Christ. Our values are so vastly different that the world decides to attack it instead of praise it, or even understand it. We should be reflecting Jesus’ character in everything we do, the world does not want to be reminded of just how far short they fall in regards to this.
We also have true hope in Jesus, hope that the world tries to find in everything from money to drugs, and everything in between. Of course, they are offered that same hope but have rejected it. Jeremiah 29:11 offers us a perfect example of our hope… (11) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope… We have hope in the promises God makes, offering us a bright future and an amazing hope. When you really think about it, we are looking at this world from two very different viewpoints. The non-believer sees this current world as the best life will ever get, while the believer understands that we must drudge through this world to get to our promised land.
Should We Be Exceedingly Glad?
Isaiah 41:10 reminds us… (10) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand… We have every reason to be exceedingly glad, for He is with us!
Prepare For The Persecution, Without Fear
If we can truly do all things through Christ, then we should be able to face the persecution that He all but promised. We must however keep our focus on that which is most important, His promised return and our promotion to our promised eternity.
Be exceedingly glad, and ignore the haters!
Matthew 11:28–29 (NKJV)
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.