Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This is the final of the “Beatitudes” pictures…..The main points that I wanted to hit in this final image were:
1) To be persecuted “for righteousness’ sake” is to be persecuted—whether intentionally or unintentionally on the part of the attackers—because of our association with Christ. Thus the Bride is pictured as the one persecuted and her face is toward her Lord.
2) The persecution of the disciples for Christ’s sake is an fellowship in and manifestation of the sufferings of Christ Himself. This is why the spear pierces Christ’s side first and the Bride’s second, but it is the same spear dealing the wound (this also, of course, ties back to point one)
3) Finally, that at least one thing bound up in the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven is walking with Christ in self-giving love in this life and joining in His resurrected glory in fellowship with God in the life to come (Rom.8:17), thus the crown of glory placed on the Church’s head is ornamented with the wounds of suffering…primarily Christ’s and secondarily those of His Church.
I hope to touch on these things more in a few weeks when I actually preach through this Beatitude…