God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. (NLT)
Those who follow Jesus will inevitably cop some flak. While people might think warmly of some of Jesus’ teaching and example, his claims to be Son of God and the only way to God aren’t well accepted. His insistence we surrender all to him and acknowledge his authority doesn’t go down well with those who want to run their own lives.
So being attacked ought to be expected. But note that Jesus qualifies this. There is no praise for those who are persecuted because they are religious pains in the neck. We can come under attack because of our aggressive attempts to win every argument, because of our selective morality, our inability to model love for one another.
As long as we don’t fall into that sad category, we can be encouraged that we are not the first or only ones to be attacked. True, we may be persecuted because of our own folly. But we can also be persecuted simply because we faithfully obey Jesus.
The point of this final beatitude seems to be that even if others reject us or misunderstand us our mistreat us, our God welcomes us. Rejection on earth is one reality; acceptance in heaven is the other, greater reality.