This sermon is part of the sermon series "Beatitudes". See series.
Imagine you are in the market for a new car. You visit the dealer and the salesman who is showing you the latest model takes you for a test drive. As you turn out of the parking lot, he launches into his sales pitch: "Three hours in this car," he says, "and your back will be so out of joint, you will need physical therapy to walk upright again! The cost of repairs alone will put my children through college. And when you drive it down the street, every head will turn, because everyone who sees you will be laughing at you."
Nobody who wanted to make a sale would say such a thing. It doesn't make much sense. Which makes you wonder what Jesus was thinking when he uttered this final beatitude in Matthew 5:10: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." If this is a sales pitch, it's not a very good one. But Jesus isn't making a sales pitch in this beatitude. He is offering a word of comfort to disciples who will be persecuted because of him. He knows that no one, at least no normal person, likes being persecuted.
Jesus tells us who should rejoice over rejection.
Jesus says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted" in verse 10. Then, in verse 11, he says, "Blessed are you." To those who are already suffering persecution, Jesus says, "Don't be discouraged;" to those who have yet to face persecution, he says, "Don't be surprised." In saying these things, Jesus serves notice to his disciples. Those who follow him faithfully should expect to experience a measure of rejection. Notice that Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are you if people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you." He says, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, ...
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