What did Jesus say?
- Matthew 5:11-12: Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In Other Text:
- James 1:2-4: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- Psalm 31:7: I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul
Jesus calls us “blessed” in our persecution, instructing us to “rejoice and be glad” in the midst of the storm. Following Jesus will be difficult, we are different than the world. The Holy Spirit spurs us to think, love and act in ways that are backwards by most standards. People are often confused and challenged by the lives of disciples who are loving the unlovable, serving the “least of these”, and keeping faith in crazy times. This, my friends, is the blessing! Our peace comes from a power greater than our own. The result is a demonstration of the joy that can come from faith that whatever happens this isn’t the end!
As we follow Jesus through these challenges we gain a grateful, thankful heart, we will find more than enough reasons to rejoice in every season.