During the summer, we’re doing what any good TV network does and playing mostly reruns. If you joined Coffee with the King part-way through 2015, this will give you the opportunity to catch up on some previous series. Either search the archives, or binge-read through previous notes on Matthew’s Gospel in chronological order, which will be freshly re-posted each day.
Yesterday, we saw how the Beatitudes are essentially an announcement of good news for those in Israel who have been waiting for God to act. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Today, we look at the final two Beatitudes, which stand out from the rest. Given the good news of the first seven, these next two seem a little surprising:5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
While Jesus’ audience would have agreed that being comforted, inheriting the earth, and being shown mercy were blessings, I wonder how they would have taken his statement that being persecuted was a blessing?