sticksandstones“Sticks and stones may break my bones…but names will never hurt me.”  Remember this rhyme many of us said as kids?  Well…it still applies today…

Today’s Passage:  ““Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

Devotional Thought:  This passage concludes the passages known as the beatitudes…the teachings of Jesus about the inner qualities that are to be reflected in one’s outward behavior and actions toward others.  In this last beatitude, Jesus provides a final insight for those who follow him.  Insults…opposition…lies…all these can be expected by Christ followers.  And the Christian response?  Rejoice!  Be Glad!  When others can’t see the good in you…when others can find only criticism…when others choose insults and lies…  Rejoice!  Be glad!

The future promise…”your reward is great in heaven”…does not mean that the focus is entirely future.  Jesus insists that God has the final word, bringing assurance into the present. This is why he can say, “Blessed are those who mourn…blessed are the meek…blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…blessed are the merciful…blessed are the pure in heart…blessed are the peacemakers.” Jesus gives each of us eyes to see that the future is certain and this transforms the present.  But make no mistake…Jesus calls us to join him…to live out his radical vision now with confidence that no matter what anyone can say or do to us does not change our “reward in heaven”.  So…rejoice and be glad!!