The three verses under study (Matthew 5:10-12) are taken from near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, the most important sermon ever preached. This oration fills three entire chapters of Matthew’s Gospel (5-7). It touches on many important aspects of Christian life, providing God’s own Word spoken by God Himself. It is a holy, humbling, fearful, hope-filled and blessed utterance. To read this sermon is to be shaken down to your very depths while simultaneously lifted towards hope and joy. This is what happens when God Incarnate speaks.
5 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This verse is the eighth of the eight Beatitudes that open the Sermon on the Mount. It is the only Beatitude that is expanded and amplified upon, as follows in verses eleven and twelve.
These words hit modern, Western ears oddly. Persecuted…for doing right? This is the case only because we live in a culture where the residue of Christianity lives within our laws, morals and worldviews. That is, there has been a partial alignment between cultural norms and Christianity in those societies in which it has been the dominant religion.