‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before
you. Matthew 5:10-12
Jesus connects these final beatitudes with the prophets. What do we remember about the prophets? They sought justice. Amos says, “Let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Isaiah said, “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” And Micah said, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The climax of the beatitudes is suffering for the sake of the kingdom of God. The final crescendo of Jesus’ teaching about how we are to live is through rejoicing in the chance to suffer when it is for the sake of God’s plan and being glad for the chance to do so. This is consistent with how great people of faith
have lived since God created humanity. “In a nutshell, blessed are those who suffer because of their practices of loyalty to Jesus and to justice.” says Stassen and Gushee.
The virtuous life will be tested. The marker of living the virtuous life is suffering for practicing loyalty to Jesus and bringing about justice, which bring about God’s Kingdom.
Which injustice have you seen? How are you responding? What will you do to bring about God’s justice in the world before your very eyes? Virtuous living requires we not sit on the sideline, but we practice our faith and stop injustice whenever we can!
This concludes our series on Virtuous Living. I hope it has shown you how you can live a virtuous life for the Kingdom of God. Through the summer we will focus on the basic tenets of the Christian faith, following our joint session summer Sunday School Series, Simply Christian, by N.T. Wright. Please make plans to join us for Sunday School.
On the Journey,