Welcome to the final part of this first course of Red Bricks. We are still looking at the kind of thinking that Christ promoted in His teaching. In this part He ties up suffering and counting the cost with the right kind of mindset for dealing with such issues.
Read Matthew 5:10-12
We are still working our way through what is often referred to as the Beatitudes, or The Sermon on the Mount. In the last two sessions we have been looking at some basic principles of kingdom thinking. Yeshua was laying down the very foundations of such thinking for all believers in what He taught here. These are the building blocks of our salvation; the must-have attitudes for turning from our old lives to a new freedom in Christ.
Note that in verse 10, Yeshua is still talking in the third person, using those and theirs. From verse 11 He starts to personalize it with the first person you and you’re. It is as if He is saying that we should aspire to attain the attitudes He spoke of in the third person, but from here on in He is describing what is already certain because of believing in Him.
In verse 10, again, we see that the kingdom already belongs to those who are persecuted because of righteousness. Today people from all walks of life suffer persecution. But this which Yeshua is talking of isn’t persecution because we happen to follow certain life choices. No, this is persecution because of righteousness. We know that righteousness cannot be achieved by anything we can do or say. Any righteousness we are credited with is only attained through believing in Yeshua. It is His righteousness and comes to us as a gift for having faith in Him.
We know that righteousness, for us, comes through trusting in God. Right back in the book of Genesis we learn that Abraham trusted in God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). In other words, because Abraham accepted and believed and held onto what God had said to him, he was justified by God. So, it is trust or faithfulness to God’s word that produces righteousness. Of course, Yeshua is the Word made flesh and we should believe in Him and all that He said, simply, like children would. At that moment, when we believe, we share in His righteousness.
Being persecuted because of righteousness means, therefore, to be persecuted because of trusting in God. Today, such persecution is common enough in certain parts of the world, and is increasing. But there will come a time when all who believe in the name of Yeshua will suffer persecution. We must prepare ourselves for this. And here, in this verse, Yeshua makes us a promise that if we are persecuted because of Him, then we have already received the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is so likely to happen to those who pursue Yeshua and His righteousness that He repeats the blessing in verse 11. He is saying that people will insult you; that they will persecute you; that they will say all sorts of false accusations against you. But, we should rejoice when it happens because we will share in exactly the same rewards that God’s prophets, who went before us, will receive. They too suffered because of Christ, even though they only saw in part who they prophesied about.
This ends the first part of Red Bricks. We will continue through what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, but you now have the basic foundation stones upon which to build your faith. These rocks that you stand upon contain both promise and reward – hope beyond anything we can understand. Learn these things for when persecution and doubt come at you, they are what will get you through. Blessed indeed are you. Blessed indeed.