“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus Christ once pointed out that His disciples would suffer for the sake of the kingdom and the righteousness of God. In the Bible, there are many characters who were persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel. Jesus suffered great persecution from the religious leaders of His day. After the establishment of the apostolic church, Jesus’ followers were persecuted for taking a stand for the Lord.
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:23)
Those who have false expectations of Christ’s work may be offended when He doesn’t meet their expectations. Some may come to Christ only expecting Him to provide material abundance or physical well-being, and they become disappointed and fall away when their expectations are not met. Blessed are we if we accept God’s plan and His will for us, even if it is contrary to our expectations or requires us to endure painful trials.
Upon reading Job chapter 1, I questioned how Job was able to worship God when his loved ones and all of his possessions were stripped away from him all at once, beyond human reasoning.
From the actions Job took, we can learn how to worship God during times of trials and tribulations. He immediately ‘fell to the ground and worshipped’ (vs 20). He simply did not make time to complain or murmur. Instead, he remembered who God is, and praised Him. Though it is clear that Job was in deep sorrow, his emotions did not distract him or move his faith. He was wise to know that to endure these sufferings is better than to curse, sin or charge God with wrong (vs 22). Described as ‘blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil’, it is clear Job had established a strong and immovable relationship with God. He had not allowed his possessions and children to become idols in his heart, as he understood that God is the Creator of all things. Thus, when he was hit with such great calamity, Job found his source of strength in God, and was not easily overcome.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. (1Pet 2:21)
Jesus Christ suffered for us. He endured much pain and sorrow while doing good for us. Jesus suffered physically throughout His trails, torture, and crucifixion. He suffered emotionally as He was rejected by many, especially when all the disciples deserted Him and fled when Jesus was arrested. He suffered spiritually as He cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46) Jesus was crucified to bear our sins. The suffering of Jesus Christ was God’s plan for the salvation of the world.
After a dramatic episode involving God plaguing Pharaoh’s house on account of Abram’s wife, Sarai, Abram and Sarai were basically kicked out of the land of Egypt.
Prior to this taking place, God had called Abram from his own country and promised to give him descendants who would inherit the land of Canaan. Once there, Abram pitched his tent between Bethel and Ai, built an altar to the Lord, and called on His name (Gen 12:8). But when a severe famine hit the land, in a moment of weakness, Abram left God’s promises behind and went down to Egypt. If God had not intervened by sending plagues upon Pharaoh’s house, Abram would have lost his wife Sarai and the hope of having descendants through her—for he had lied about Sarai being his sister.