Devotional Readings

Matthew 5 – A few words on Righteousness and Persecution

We saw in our Luke 6 study that their was a peculiar twist to Jesus’ teaching on this subject.

Luk 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luk 6:23  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

 

And 

Luk 6:26  Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 

The themes here are signs of persecution, and a contrast between true prophets and false prophets.

 

Very powerful word. We can look at this further in the richness of the Matthew 5 text.

We are encouraged to seek after righteousness…and by that not our own righteousness but that which is found in faith.

 

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Rom 1:17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 

Mat 5:6  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

 

But the promise of blessing as Jesus teaches leads to both temporal and eternal outcomes.

 

Mat 5:10  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falselyfor my sake.

 

Mat 5:12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

 

The next verses seem to expand on this theme. I pursuing righteousness, we are not to forsake being Salt and Light, we need to share the God news of God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. Nor are we to shun the commands of the law, many of which Jesus will next go on to explain with new insight.

 

Salt and Light

Mat 5:13  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Mat 5:15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Mat 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

 

So to conclude this passage, if we pursue this path it will lead to persecution in this world, this is the path of the true prophets. If one chooses to go away from this teaching either minimizing or ignoring or worse teaching against it, that is the way of the false prophets, and if the text is true most likely that will be well received by men in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

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