It is Easter. Good Friday and its grim horror has passed. The waiting, the stillness of the tomb, is over. He is Risen! We have our Savior! We have hope!
Nevertheless, we are still here, and generations unknown will follow us. We know the end of the story, but the story is still unfolding. More grim horrors, more anxious waiting, and more joyous days are still before us.
We love stories. Therefore, we love the stories in the Bible. Yet much of the Bible includes sermons, lessons, prophecies, songs, ….. So it helps to imagine being there. Imagine to Jesus giving a sermon, The Sermon On The Mount. He begins with blessings. Those blessings sound good until He gets to this part.
Matthew 5:10-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You look about. You can see your own puzzlement on the faces in the crowd. What is Jesus talking about?
Thousands of years have passed now, but who knew then that Jesus would be crucified? We know what happened now. Since the day Jesus ascended back into Heaven to be with the Father, many have been reviled and persecuted. Many have died for righteousness sake. Why?[…]
*Painting by John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope, 1896 (Wikipedia)
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