Commands of Christ
Where is this command found?
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Applying This Command
Joy and gladness is normally the furthest thing from our minds when we think of persecution and suffering. Yet rejoicing is exactly what Jesus commands us to do. He’s not asking us to glorify suffering, hurt or pain. But rather, we rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and therefore share in eternal rewards! This is exactly what Peter described when he wrote:
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (1 Peter 4:12–14).
Suffering for Jesus is not easy; it requires us to die to self and embrace the selfless nature of Jesus. But when we choose to rejoice, God brings us into greater intimacy and fellowship with Himself. (See Phil. 3:10.) God’s goodness and grace is then seen through us and this becomes a tangible testimony of God’s love to those reviling and persecuting us.
Bible Verses for Meditation
In addition to meditation on Matthew 5:11–12, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Rejoice.
I Peter 4:12–14
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.”
I Thessalonians 5:16–19
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.”
II Corinthians 12:9
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Philippians 4:4, 6
“Rejoice in the Lord alway[s]: and again I say, Rejoice. … Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
From the Podcast
A: Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount to “rejoice and be exceeding glad” when persecution arises. Yet, in order to be thankful for our trials, we must understand that all things come from the hand of God and are designed for our good and growth of character.
Since God is the ruler over all, and nothing happens without His permission, Job was able to state, “The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
It was actually Satan who destroyed Job’s flocks and herds, killed his servants, and then killed his ten children. Yet, before Satan was able to do this, he had to get permission from God to do so.
Job even asked his wife, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) God was pleased with this response and, after a time of trial, gave Job twice as much as was taken from him. This included ten more children and a long life to enjoy them.
The Apostle Paul also understood that even though Satan may be involved in an evil work, God has ultimate control and will use it for His purposes. Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, which he identified as the messenger of Satan. Yet, when he prayed three times for God to remove it, God explained that He had allowed it for Paul’s benefit. “He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Corinthians 12:9).
God uses persecution and reproach in our lives to add to the splendor of His work in and through us and to conform us to the image and character of Christ.
For Further Study
You can learn more about the command Rejoice in the book Commands of Christ: Series 1.
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