MATTHEW 5:10-12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
OBSERVATION: Would Jesus be a frequent and popular guest on “Oprah” today? Would He be embraced and lauded by “The View”? Would He be Time Magazine’s “Person Of The Year”? I don’t think so. Surely He would be the subject of frequent talk shows and news programs. However, the coverage would not be favorable to say the least. How do I know? The coverage of Jesus when He walked the earth was not favorable – it led to a Cross. Why would it be any different today? Sin is sin. Darkness is darkness. It does not matter whether it is in the First Century of the Twenty First Century – men love darkness rather than light. Light is never popular to a world that worships the creation rather than the Creator.
If this is true, why are we so shocked when people don’t quickly line up to receive our message? Or, if they are quickly lining up – are we truly proclaiming the same message that Jesus did? Now, there is a difference between proclaiming the truth in love, and being a legalistic and condemning jerk. Jesus never stood on a street corner yelling to those passing by that were reprehensible and going to hell. Yet, He did talk about hell – a lot! He did talk about sin – a lot! He did so with love, compassion, but He also did so with honesty and candor. He was more interested in the heart and eternal destiny of those He was speaking to than of His own comfort or personal popularity.
Today, it does not take much to stand against the current of conventional wisdom. All you have to do is proclaim the Word of God as it is written and you are a target. Jesus told us this would happen. It happened to the prophets of old, and it will happen to us. The real challenge is to stay loving and compassionate without comprising the message. This Jesus did all the way to the Cross. When He looked upon those who nailed Him to the Cross He cried out – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” This did not give them a pass – but it did show the Mercy and Love of God. Jesus knew that until they repented and believed they could not understand the principles of the Kingdom. He was proclaiming His true desire – that all men might be saved.
We need to have this heart also. We need to understand that when someone is spiritually blind they truly cannot see or understand the things of the Kingdom of God. We didn’t either – until the Lord reached out to us and we embraced Jesus as our Savior and Lord, by Grace through Faith. This should embolden our hearts to both persevere in proclaiming His message and enduring whatever ridicule or persecution we may receive. We are His because someone faithfully did that for us.
Lord, help me to extend Your heart and message faithfully to others so that they too may believe! In Jesus Name!