Matthew Chapter 5: Peace and Persecution

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On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast (04/08/21), Hank goes over the last parts of the beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” In speaking of peace, Jesus is in fact speaking about Himself. For as Isaiah prophesied, Christ would be called the Prince of Peace. As such, for us to be peacemakers is to be a son of the incarnate Christ—sons of God. It is the work of all genuine Christians to follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace. Wherever strife is present, the true followers of God are peacemakers in the Spirit of their Master. In fact, all those who are used by God to proclaim the Gospel of Peace are thereby peacemakers in that they turn the enemies of God into sons of God.
The beatitudes conclude, “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” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV). It is one thing to say that the peacemakers are blessed. It is quite another to designate those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness as blessed. And yet that is precisely the case. Because those persecuted for the sake of righteousness will indeed inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christ’s message is crystal clear. Rather than fixating on earthly vanities, such as the admiration of men, we ought to focus on such eternal verities as the approval of God. Persecution is a continuum. A continuum ranging from harassment to oppression and ultimately to a cruel death. What Jesus makes clear in this beatitude is that, as Christians, we must value eternal truth over temporary convenience—and that even to the point of death.

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