Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.MATTHEW 5:10-11 ESV
Years ago, a recruiter contacted me because he saw my resume online. He called asking me to come in for an interview for a state-of-the-art histology lab in Cleveland–even offering me the salary I desired.
This company pursued me for my skills.
We use the word pursue in many ways. Pursue is one of those words which has a negative or positive meaning.
Matthew 5:10 uses the Hebrew word radaph (pronounced raw-daf’) for persecuted. It means to run after (usually with hostile intent; –chase, put to flight, follow (after, on), hunt, (be under) persecute(-ion, -or), pursue(-r).
As I sit here writing these words my mind is going in many directions as far as where to take this post. I haven’t written much in the hours I have sat in front of this laptop! I feel the Lord taking me in a direction I really didn’t intend to go.
And that direction is the topic of persecution.
Persecution is not too far off in our future. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that.
As I read and re-read related verses these stuck out to me most:
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 TIMOTHY 3:12-13 ESV
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.JOHN 15:18 ESV
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.JOHN 15:20 ESV
If we’re honest, we recognize the signs of the times. It won’t be long before every sold-out Christian/Jesus-lover will be insulted, falsely accused, and/or persecuted.
In my post on the Beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” I explained righteousness this way:
In this Beatitude, Jesus said people will persecute us for the sake of righteousness and Him. What does that mean?
I’m sure you understand what Jesus meant.
But, I can’t help but think of another verse right now.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.MATT. 7:21-23 ESV
Why will Jesus say to many, who have cast out demons, prophesied, and done mighty things, “I never knew you”? Because they did not do the will of the Father.
We live in a world where it is not politically correct to talk about Jesus or to tell people they are sinners. If we want, we can find a church and Bible version that suits our worldview. Many claim to be Christians. But are all who claim that title, righteous?
So, what does it mean to be righteous?
Tsedeq [the Hebrew word for righteousness] has the idea that desperate people like those who are starving or dying of thirst will hunt for God’s righteousness or justice as a person would for food and water.https://vinewords.net/stephanie-pavlantos-do-you-hunger-and-thirst-for-righteousness/
Here is the way Jeff A. Brenner describes righteousness. But, let me say this first, evil, according to the Hebrew language, is to depart from God’s way–righteousness is the exact opposite.
A righteous person is not one who lives a religiously pious life, [which is] the common interpretation of this word, he is one who follows the correct path, the path (way) of God.HTTPS://WWW.ANCIENT-HEBREW.ORG/DEFINITION/RIGHTEOUS.HTM
The CORRECT path and way.
Jesus is that way and the Father puts us on the path of His choosing. The only way to be righteous is through the righteousness of Jesus. The only way to know God’s path and to avoid departing from it is to be in the Word.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.JOHN 14:6 ESV
Who or what do we love the most? That is who we worship. What is the promise in this Beatitude? The Kingdom of Heaven.
Going back to the title of this post…Why are the pursued/persecuted happy? Because they know Who they belong to. This world will persecute those who stand for God’s truth and ways.
I can’t think of a better verse to demonstrate how Jesus’ disciples lived out this Beatitude.
The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.ACTS 5:4 NLT
There are people all over the world persecuted for their faith in Jesus, the Messiah. Will you pray for them?
Heavenly Father, We lift those in who are persecuted for your Name! Especially those in Afghanistan right now. We ask You to supernaturally protect them. We ask for Your care, peace, and comfort to shower them. Grant them safe passage out of these countries or cover them with invisibility from those that would do them harm. Thank you, LORD. You who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine! In Jesus Name, Amen!
Genre: Non-Fiction, Bible Study
Copyright 2021: Happy are the Pursued…By Stephanie Pavlantos: All rights reserved
Meet our Contributor:
Stephanie Pavlantos is an award-winning writer who is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for over fifteen years, speaking at ladies’ retreats, at her church, and over the internet.
Her book, Jewels of Hebrews (Mount Zion Ridge Press), won third place in the Selah Awards at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
She is an ordained minister, holding credentials since 2019.
Stephanie is the president of the Hudson, Ohio chapter of Word Weavers.
She is a regular speaker at PJNet. tv.
Stephanie is a senior editor, social media director, Bible study and devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More She is a co-editor, co-compiler, and contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Stephanie works for the Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department, as well as teaching their online classes. She holds weekly Zoom Bible studies, covering topics such as the Jewish roots of Christianity; the Four Covenants; and other themes.
She is published in Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Charisma Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, and Faith Beyond Fear. Stephanie is a contributing author to Feed Your Soul with the Word of God (Lighthouse Bible Studies).
Married for twenty-seven years, she and her husband Mike have three children: Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie has adopted animals of all kinds, including dogs, ducks, goats, and chickens.
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