I’ll be honest with you - the final beatitude deals with a subject that I don’t like to think about because I had to experience it growing up. In America people talk about persecution and how good it is for the growth of the church and develops holiness and purity. Ironically, those who go through to it don’t talk about how wonderful it is. In fact, they do whatever they can to avoid it and fight against it. Persecution is the final beatitude for a reason. It is not something that we should look forward to. It is something we should do all we can to avoid, prolong, and work against. It is not something that God gives an extra something for. If you notice, the reward of persecution is no different than the one for the first beatitude - 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Unfortunately, it is a subject that we in America are having to face in a small degree. The response is not to brace ourselves and prepare for the worst. We need to strive to maintain and increase the presence of Christianity and biblical values in our country and beyond.
In Matthew 2 we read the account of Joseph returning back from Egypt to Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling in Judea, he was afraid and went to Galilee to the town of Nazareth. Matthew reminds us that all this happened as part of the fulfillment that Jesus was to be called a Nazarene. Not only was the name Nazarene significant in the ministry of Jesus but it also became the designation of Christians in the Middle East to this day. In the past few months, Christians were persecuted in Iraq and the Arabic alphabet “N” was spray painted on their front doors. What a stark reminder that the word Nazarene is hated 2000 years later!
HOW LONG, O LORD? – REMEMBERING THE PERSECUTED CHURCH by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson (Click on each picture to link to a ministry dedicated to helping Christians facing persecution across the world.) Most Christians in America live in a world that is detached from other Christians in other parts of the world. We fail to... Continue Reading →