Blessed are Those who are Persecuted for Righteousness Sake
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”1
1 in 7 believers experience persecution, worldwide. Over 300 million Christians live in places around the world where they are persecuted just for following Jesus. When we think of persecution, the horrible events of the Holocaust might come to mind, or the nightmarish genocide of Rwanda, maybe even the unjust persecution of Christians in the Bible. But Christian persecution continues today and the dangers of proclaiming Christ in parts of the world today is still alarming. More recently and closer to home we have heard of church services being fatally interrupted by shooters or Highschool students whose lives were stopped short because of their faith. Mainstream media only touches the surface, and we catch only a glimpse of the suffering and the gravity of this situation on public broadcasts.
The world questions the actions of those who are persecuted. Wouldn’t it be better to deny Christ and live? Why would a person want to live in fear and hiding? But those Christians who have experienced any level of persecution have a passion for their Lord beyond all understanding. They know that their place in the Kingdom of Heaven awaits them with a seat reserved next to the King of kings!
The night that Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter chose to stand up for and defend Jesus. But after Jesus was taken, his followers began to fear for their own lives, or the possibility of being arrested as well. Some chose to keep their distance and watch from afar as Jesus was persecuted. As Peter sat nervously at the edge of the town square, he was stopped and regarded as one of Jesus’ followers. Three times Peter denied that he knew Jesus and immediately felt the bitterness of having betrayed His Lord. Once we have experienced God’s love and mercy, we cannot hide the joy he fills us with. Trying to deny that will only cause us sadness and even remorse. In the New Testament, Timothy advised us that, in fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12).
Jesus said, Happy (blessed) are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. He is righteous, the One and, Only One, who is. And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God, and a Savior; there is none but me. (Isa. 45:21) Following Christ may not be easy, but our reward in Heaven is great when we remain faithful to the One who gave His life for all mankind!
Dear Righteous Lord, how awesome and deserving you are of our praise. You suffered an unjust and horrible death for the sins of a world filled with those who don’t even claim you as their Savior. I thank you that I live in a country where I can freely serve you. I lift up to you those that are suffering and fearing for their lives for proclaiming you as Lord. Give me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and be unashamed to proclaim you where I stand. In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen.
Today’s Encounter was written by: Veronica B.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.