Matthew 5:10 - Blessing in Persecution for Christ.

Mat.5:10: Blessing in Persecution for Christ.

Blessed are they which are persecuted
for righteousness' sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:10 (KJV)

They are happy who suffer, seems a strange saying: and that the
righteous should suffer, merely because they are such, seems as strange.
But such is the enmity of the human heart to everything of God and
goodness, that all those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution in one form or other. (Adam Clarke Commentary)

Paul warned the believers that ?through much tribulation ? they
must ?enter into the kingdom of God? (Acts 14:22). Citizens of the
heavenly kingdom may expect to have tribulation in this world (John
16:33), for their characters, ideals, aspirations, and conduct all bear
silent witness against the evil of this present world (cf. 1 John
3:12). . . . ?All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution? (2 Tim. 3:12). [SDA Commentary]

Jesus said to rejoice when we're persecuted. Persecution can be
good because (1) it takes our eyes off earthly rewards, (2) it strips
away superficial belief, (3) it strengthens the faith of those who
endure, and (4) our attitude through it serves as an example to others
who follow. We can be comforted to know that God's greatest prophets
were persecuted (Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel). The fact that we are
being persecuted proves that we have been faithful; faithless people
would be unnoticed. In the future God will reward the faithful by
receiving them into his eternal kingdom where there is no more
persecution. [Life Application SB]

It would be a test of true discipleship. In the parable of the
Sower, He mentions this as one of the causes of defection among those
who are Christians in outward appearance only. When affliction or
persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately the stony-ground
hearers are offended  (International Standard Bible
Encylopaedia, by Biblesoft)

Those who suffer most for Christ here are best able to
appreciate what He suffered for them. [SDA Commentary]

Through trials and persecution, the glory--character--of God is
revealed in His chosen ones. . . they are purified in the furnace of
affliction. MB29-31

Persecution serves to purify the life and to purge the dross
from the character (cf. Job 23:10). [SDA Commentary]

Whatever life may bring, the Christian is to rejoice (Phil.
4:4), knowing that God will work all things for his good (Rom. 8:28).
This is particularly true of temptation or trial (James 1:2?4),
because suffering develops patience and other traits of character
essential to citizens of the heavenly kingdom. [SDA Commentary]

The reproach we experience is the natural resentment in the
hearts of men toward all that is godly and righteous.  This is the
cross we are to bear.  This is why Christians are often persecuted...
Let us not forget that there is happiness and blessing in
persecution.  As George MacDonald puts it, we become "hearty through
Our Lord instructs the persecuted to be happy.  "Rejoice," He
said, "and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for
so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Mat.5:12).
The word joy has all but disappeared from our current Christian
vocabulary.  One of the reasons is that we have thought that joy and
happiness were found in comfort, ease and luxury.  James did not say,
"Count it all joy when you fall into an easy chair," but he said,
"Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations" (Jam.1:2).
The persecuted are happy because they are being processed for
heaven.  Persecution is one of the natural consequences of living the
Christian life.  It is to the Christian what "growing pains" are to the
growing child.  No pain, no development.  No suffering, no glory.  No
struggle, no victory.  No persecution, no reward!  Jesus predicted that if
they persecuted Him, they would persecute you who follow Him, too.
[Billy Graham; Time with God devotional SB]

It is not enough to be patient and content under these
sufferings as under common afflictions, and not to render railing for
railing; but we must rejoice, because the honour and dignity, the
pleasure and advantage, of suffering for Christ, are much more
considerable than the pain or shame of it. Not that we must take a pride in
our sufferings, (that spoils all), but we must take a pleasure in
them, as Paul; as knowing that Christ is herein before-hand with us.
(Matthew Henry's Commentary)

God does not expect us to enjoy suffering. Only days after
telling the disciples to pray that they might escape persecution, Jesus
himself asked God to spare him the agonies of the cross, if that was
God?s will (Luke 22:41-42). It is abnormal to want to suffer, but as
Jesus? followers we should be willing to suffer if by doing so we can
help build God?s kingdom. We have two wonderful promises to help us
as we suffer: God will always be with us (Matthew 28:20), and he
will one day rescue us and give us eternal life (Revelation 21:1-4).
[Life Application SB re Luk.21:36]

While the Lord has not promised His people exemption from
trials, He has promised that which is far better. He has said, "As thy
days, so shall thy strength be." "My grace is sufficient for thee: for
My strength is made perfect in weakness." Deuteronomy 33:25; 2
Corinthians 12:9. If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His
sake, Jesus will be by your side even as He was with the faithful
three in Babylon. MB29-31

When a man has to suffer something for his faith, that is the
way to the closest possible companionship with Christ. [Barclay

Persecution made Christ very near and very precious to those who
suffered. Many of the martyrs bore witness, even when in the midst of the
most cruel torments, that they felt no pain, but that Christ was with
them. (International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, by Biblesoft)

Satan could torture and kill the body, but he could not touch
the life that was hid with Christ in God. He could incarcerate in
prison walls, but he could not bind the spirit. They could look beyond
the gloom to the glory, MB29-31

God gives the grace to suffer, and then crowns that grace with
glory; hence, it is plain, the reward is not of debt, but of grace:
 (Adam Clarke Commentary)

Here is a secret to the spiritual strength that willingly
suffers wrong: accustom yourself in everything that happens to recognize
the hand and will of God.  Whether it be some great wrong that is
done you, or some little offense that you meet in daily life, before
you consider the person who did it, first be still and remember, God
allows me to come into this trouble to see if I will glorify Him in it.
 This trial, be it great or small, is allowed by God and is His
will concerning me.  Let me first recognize and submit to God's will
in it.  Then with the peace of God which this gives, I will receive
wisdom to know how to behave in it.  With my eye turned from man to
God, suffering wrong takes on this new dimension.... Let the believer
follow Christ's example in this; it will give him such rest and peace.
Commit your right and your honor into God's keeping.  Meet every
offense that man commits against you with the firm trust that God will
watch over and care for you.  [Andrew Murray; Time with God devotional

It was a weird question to ask - probably because the person
doing the asking held a semi automatic rifle in his hand and carried a
cadre of explosives.
Heretofore his target had been minorities and athletes, but he
was now face to face with Cassie. For a long time she was a nobody,
a simpleton. She attended her classes faithfully, was a good
student, and basically kept to herself. That is, until she accepted Jesus
into her heart as her Lord and Saviour.
People began to notice the changes in Cassie. She wore a
perpetual smile, as though she had discovered the secret to life. By all
accounts it was infectious. One of her friends at Colombine High School
in Littleton, Colorado, reported, "If you were feeling down, she
would always give you an encouraging word." The girl that everyone
proclaimed a "zero" had undergone a Jenny Jones makeover-minus the Jenny
Perhaps the killer had heard about her newfound faith, because
he aimed his question-and his gun-right at Cassie Bernall. The
scene was manic. Bodies lay strewn around the library, several missing
faces and chunks of flesh. Screams of agony could be heard in the
hallways. Cassie was headed toward a certain martyrdom.
"Do you believe in God?" he screamed. In an instant a strange
assurance captivated Cassie as she looked into his eyes.
"Yes, I believe in God."
It would be her last words this side of heaven. The price of
truth was her life.
Two thousand years ago Jesus looked through prophetic eyes at
the world around him. Surveying the scene and the trials that would
overtake His people, He sought to calm their fears. "Blessed are those
who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven."
That Cassie was willing to pay such a high price for her faith
indicts many of us today. We shrink to tell people about the God we
serve. Yet God is ready and willing to empower us to speak a word for
Him. I remember one such incident. We were sitting around at a
friend's apartment-just shooting the breeze, as they say. My friends were
non Adventists, non Christians. They drank, smoked, cursed, the
works. I was at a new school, and I didn't want to be antisocial. I saw
in them a ministry.
For the next two hours I was like a fish in a fishbowl. They
couldn't really understand why I ate the way I did. Why I didn't go to
parties, didn't smoke or drink. After our little rap session, I took
solace in the fact that I stood up for what was right. I was also proud
of the fact that I was not antisocial. I managed to share my faith
in a nonthreatening way. From that day on my friends respected me.

I believe that one day soon we'll be able to swap such stories
with Cassie Bernall.
Check This Out
In the early days of the Christian movement many believers lost
their lives because they would not renounce their faith. Their blood
watered the tree of faith from which we now eat. One such martyr was
John Huss, a Roman Catholic priest who tried to reform the Catholic
Church. When he refused to recant his faith, he was burned at the stake.
One author wrote of the death of Huss and his friend Jerome: "When
the flames rose, they began to sing hymns; and scarce could the
vehemency of the fire stop their singing" (in The Great Controversy, p.