12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries, Graduations are all special occasions that cause us to rejoice and be happy. Yet Matthew 5:12 is saying we should rejoice for a different reasons. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Why would I want to rejoice at the persecution of the prophets, and as we have seen in this sermon of Christ, that Christians are often persecuted and reviled. So, why should I rejoice when facing such conditions as this?
Peter the disciple of Christ answers this question in his first book that bears his name. I Peter 4:12 – 14; 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
As we discovered earlier the first four verse of the beatitudes (verses 3-6) is about establishing a relationship with God. These last six (verses 7-12) are about our relationship with our fellow mankind. We cannot establish the proper relationship with mankind if we do not first have the proper relationship with God.
This is the same principle that is brought out in the 10 Commandments that were spoken by God to the children of Israel and then written on blue stone cut out from the very throne of God upon Mount Saini (see Exodus 24 specifically verses 9-12).
Often despite our efforts to witness and minister to our fellow man, they will revile and reject us. I Chronicles 36:16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets . . . . So it has been through all the ages and will be until the great day of the LORDS coming.
John the beloved disciple of Christ in John 14:1-4 gives us the promise of assurance: 1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know and the way you know.
Why should I worry and want? Christ has asked me to be exceedingly glad! Why? Because he has prepared a place for me and all his faithful followers. Though I may be persecuted as the prophets and reviled as Christ was, I can endure this for Christ has promised a reward far greater than we could ever imagine. And he has said and promised, Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) Though our walk through life maybe difficult and filled with heartache, Christ has promised to always be with us. No matter the circumstances, He will remain faithful to His faithful followers. For those that endure the injustice of this earth he has promised “Great is your reward in heaven.”