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.
In verse 10, Jesus said that those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed; here He gets personal, for now He isn’t referring to someone else, or some group of individuals, now it is about “you”. People may speak all sorts of evil against us as followers of Jesus; what should our reaction be should we pop ‘em right in the mouth?
It wouldn’t seem so; Jesus says we should “rejoice and be glad”, of all things.
Really? We should rejoice and be glad when people are speaking against us because of our faith in Christ?
Yes we should, for great is our reward in heaven.
Jesus didn’t exactly say so here, but our reward here on earth won’t be so bad, since it is a relationship with Him. In the old days, people spoke against the prophets in the same way that they spoke of Jesus’ followers; both were persecuted, sometimes killed in the process, but they seemed to be OK with all that, for they knew that they had a great reward awaiting them, and because they, like Abraham, believed God’s promises.
So now we conclude the Beatitudes, with an implied question dangling: The patriarchs believed God’s promises and endured. The prophets believed God’s promises and endured. The early Christians believed God’s promises and endured. Do we believe God’s promises?