11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
The people of God are distinct from this world, and because of Jesus, we will be insulted, rejected, and lied about. Some may even be put to death. Today around the world millions of Christians are being persecuted for their faith–even being killed for believing in Jesus.
Did you know that the original 12 apostles who heard Jesus say this actual verse to them would eventually all be persecuted?
- Peter was crucified upside down because when they went to crucify him he said he wasnʼt worthy to die like his Lord.
- James was sawn in half–long ways.
- Andrew went to Russia, Turkey, and Greece, and was crucified on an X- shaped cross because he too didnʼt want to die like Jesus.
- Philip went to North Africa and was eventually crucified.
- Bartholomew went to Armenia in eastern Europe and was eventually flayed and beheaded.
- Thomas went to India and was killed by four soldiers spearing him to death.
- Matthew the tax collector went to Ethiopia and was impaled to the ground and then beheaded.
- The other James was either thrown off the temple and beaten to death, or surrounded by a mob who clubbed and stabbed him to death.
- John, the apostle of love, was boiled in hot oil but didnʼt die, so he was banished to a rocky island as an exile. But eventually he was the only apostle to die from old age and not martyrdom.
Every year, 160,000 Christians are martyred for their faith. This year 160,000 will go to be with Jesus because of persecution.
These stories sound gory and awful–but Jesus calls those who are persecuted blessed. In the Beatitudes: blessed is repeated 9x and it means “Oh how happy”: the secret to happiness–to the blessed life–is not having a Popeyes chicken sandwich (even though those things are amazing!).
The secret to happiness is not having more money, more notoriety, or more comfort.
No, Jesus is saying that the recipe for a happy Christian life isnʼt about having anything, or doing something, but BEING something.