As a disciple of Christ, we need to prepare ourselves to face challenges, opposition, and persecution, throughout our lives. We learned in our last article how to deal with persecution. In this article we will learn something very important.
4 – THE REWARD FOR THOSE WHO ARE PERSECUTED
Finally, we learn that there will be a reward for those who are persecuted. Their sacrifice will not be unnoticed. God is watching, and paying attention to everything that happens to those who are suffering because of His Name and His Word. Here is the text: “Matt. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- A GREAT REWARD – The first thing that Jesus mentions is that it will be a great reward. It is important that if we compare with the last beatitude, we can see the difference. In that one Jesus said that theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. All real Christians and those who are persecuted because of righteousness belong in the Kingdom of Heaven. But here those who are persecuted because of Jesus will receive a GREAT REWARD.
- IN HEAVEN – The second thing that Jesus mentioned is that the reward will be in Heaven. That creates some problems for some of us, because we live in an immediatist generation. We want things right now, in our lifetime. We do not want to wait until we get there.
- THE CROWN OF LIFE – The other reward mentioned in the New Testament is the crown of life. Crowns were a sign of victory, honor, and in some contexts, authority. The people who suffer because of Christ and His Word will receive honor above the other believers. “Rev. 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you; the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
- REIGN WITH CHRIST – The other reward that they will receive is the authority to reign with Christ. They will receive honor and authority. Some of those people were in the same church, denomination, and region, and we never thought that they were important or worthy, but they suffered because of Christ and His Word, and they will be way above the rest of us in the Kingdom of Heaven. “Rev. 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he says, “Phil. 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,” He is making clear here for the members of that church that our relationship with Christ does not involve only faith in Him, it should go all the way, no matter the consequences.
There are those who believe in Christ, there are those who believe and suffer for Christ. The challenge for all of us is to be in the second group, those who believe in Christ and are willing to suffer for Him and His Word.
For that we will need grace from God.
Have a blessed week,