Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity – Sunday
Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. −Matthew 5:10.
True Christians, God’s children are righteous, according to their “new man” (Ephesians 4:24), in their dealings; they avoid and reprove unrighteousness. For this reason, they are an eyesore to the children of this world. But they are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of grace, the blessed kingdom of the gracious, merciful and eternal God, is theirs.
Who in this world is hated and reviled more than anyone else? Jesus Christ! What is hated and reviled more than anything else? The Word of Jesus, the Word of God. True Christians, God’s children, stand by their beloved Savior, and they profess and defend His Word, and “follow” Him (John 10:27). Consequently, the hatred and reproach which meets Jesus and His Word of truth is turned against His followers (John 15:18-21). People revile and persecute these followers of Jesus and “say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my [Jesus] sake” (Matthew 5:11b).
Should this treatment give Jesus’ followers much grief and sadness? Oh, no! Rather, Jesus says to these dear followers of His: “Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (v. 12). This reward in heaven is not deserved or earned by God’s “people” (I Peter 2:10), but it is solely and only a gift of God’s marvelous, never-ending, and priceless grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, our dear and only Savior (Acts 4:12).
PRAYER – Lord Jesus, my only Salvation, help me to daily take my stand with Thee firmly and faithfully, and to confess Thy Word, daily using it to “lead me in Thy truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:5a). And if I suffer contempt and persecution on account of my stand with Thee and Thy Word, give me the needed courage and comfort of Thy words and promises, that with great rejoicing I may bear what comes into my life because I am Thy dear child, ever looking forward to my reserved heavenly home. Hear me and continue to help me, my dear Savior. Amen.
All honor, praise, and majesty,
to Father, Son, and Spirit be;
our God forever glorious
in whose rich grace, we’ll run our race,
till we depart victorious.
Hymn 524, 7 (TLH)