MATTHEW 5:17_or the prophets…
Many prophets of the Old Testament knew persecution – first hand (go back to verse 12). The prophets were men and women God used to speak His words to His people.
To tell a true prophet from a false was simple enough. The true prophet’s prophesies always came true – exactly as God had given. If the prophesy was some type of judgment for disobedience, the result was persecution for the prophet. The power-people of the day resented someone telling them the truth of God’s Word. They were able to discern for themselves what was best – or they had people to do that. Their people were far more gifted and trained than people who called themselves prophets of God … or so they thought!
If the prophesy took decades, centuries, or millenniums to be fulfilled, the recognition of the true prophet could be discounted by the power-people.
Jesus taught from the writings of the prophets. He even taught about Himself – to those who had the heart and wisdom to understand.
Jesus is the balance between the prophesies of the Old Testament and the truths of the New Testament.
Great Balancer, Help me balance judgment and mercy in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the Great Balancer—He will balance me!
MATTHEW 5:14_Ye are the light of the world.
Did you notice what kind of light Jesus said you should be? He said of the world. Your light is not exclusive to yourself, your family, or your circle of friends. It is for all of those and that is where your light should shine its brightest. Those are your light’s foundation – where your light gains momentum to spread – where your light gains illumination.
There are cases when a family resists and may even resent a light in the midst. This is one of those opportunities to suffer for Jesus’ sake. It’s a hard place to be, but remember that kind of persecution brings with it blessings and rewards.
Truth always prevails. Jesus said you are the light of the world. If discipleship is your heart’s desire, your light will shine. Don’t be discouraged if you experience times of what appears to be failure. The extent to which your light shines is in God’s hands. You do not possess His ability to see inside hearts. Your light reaches far wider than you can see.
The time table as to when you may see results is also in God’s hands. He is always working on behalf of His disciples. He will keep working. You just keep shining.
God of Light, I want my light to shine anywhere and everywhere You place me. I know You will help me shine. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the Light of the World—He will help me shine!
MATTHEW 5:12 _for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Do you ever feel like you’re the only one? Everything that has to do with suffering, trials, and persecutions always comes to you. Everybody else has it made. Even if they do suffer for their Christian values, it’s short lived. You’re the only one for whom it goes on and on. Whenever something bad or hard comes around, it always falls on you. If someone gets the blame (for something they didn’t do), it’s always you. And, you’re the one who was doing right. The ones spouting the blame are the ones in the wrong.
According to Jesus, not only are you not the only one – but it has been going on since long before you were born. Jesus goes back to the Old Testament prophets and points out they, too, were persecuted for standing up for God’s truths. It is not something new. It is something that has been and always will be a part of a disciple’s life.
Go ahead and rejoice – you’re in good company!
God of comfort, I’m sorry for the times I whine, when I should praise. Help me thank You when I am persecuted for Your sake. Help me know the difference when I am persecuted for my own sake, and help me change my path. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ knows who is persecuted—I’m not the only one!
MATTHEW 5:11_and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
A new light is shed on persecution. This is not persecution because you think you’re right and your persecutor is wrong. This is persecution because you believe Jesus is right! This is about being falsely persecuted. This is about having all kinds of evil lies spread about you because your enemies hate Jesus and His teachings … and His disciples.
Who was lied about more than Jesus? From the time of His conception to His ascension into heaven He was maliciously verbally attacked.
Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath, when actually He was the Sabbath.
Jesus was accused of blasphemy by claiming to be the Son of God, when actually He was God in the flesh.
Jesus was accused of being out of His mind, when actually He possessed the very mind of God.
Jesus was accused of demonic possession, when actually He freed captives and put demons to flight.
Jesus was accused of inciting riots to overthrow the Romans, when actually He taught His disciples to pay taxes to Caesar and obey their authorities.
The One who promises the blessing is the One who understands everything about persecution.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for all You suffered in order to teach me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ was falsely accused—He bore it all for my sake!
MATTHEW 5:11_and persecute you…
Christian persecution is certainly nothing new, and as long as there are disciples. persecution will continue. All lives, whether Christian or not, suffer hardships, heartbreak, emotional and physical pain. The difference in the Christian life is blessings.
The Christian has the promise of eternity in heaven.
The Christian has Jesus’ promise to be blessed when persecuted for His sake.
The Christian has overcoming power to withstand persecution … that makes rather than breaks. Psalm 46:1 (KJV), “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” It is the Christian who experiences this promise.
None of those promises mean the Christian is not suffering during the persecution. If that were the case – they would not be experiencing persecution.
The heart of the Christian learns to love unconditionally. This kind of heart does not boast of persecution in order to gain martyr status. The supernatural work of the Holy Spirit inside a human heart is incredible. The reason it is incredible is because when the Spirit entered this heart – it was desperately wicked!
A new heart is willing to forgive and learn to love its persecutor. A new heart begins to look like Jesus.
You can’t top that!
Loving God, Please give me a heart like Jesus. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loved His persecutors—May I gain that heart!