March 29 Lent Devotional

The Persecuted
March 29, 2021
By Pastor Lesly Broadbent

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, 

persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, 
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Whereas the topic of previous two beatitudes, purity and peace, are desirable, even among those outside the church, we come to a beatitude that is desired by no one. Persecution. It’s not what any of us want, especially those of us living in a country that is so comfortable and compatible with our faith. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the changing tide of our culture and it is becoming more and more difficult, culturally, to practice the Christian faith. But persecution in the United States for living out the Christian faith occurs very rarely. Certainly, we have recently read about some who are facing opposition because of their stances, formed by their faith, on social issues, but outright persecution is a rarity in our country. This talk of utter persecution is a bit foreign to us, but not so to Jesus’ first century followers. They knew persecution. They saw it and experienced it daily from their foreign Roman oppressors and the Jewish authorities. They saw it lived out in the thousands of crucifixions that occurred in the first century, in the multiple imprisonments they experienced, and the ostracization they faced.

As we begin to think about persecution, examine your own life and determine when you last faced even a bit of opposition because of your commitment to righteousness. Was it way back in high school when you refused to take part in parties? Was it in your career as you abstained from unethical behavior? Maybe it was in your family as you attempted to live out the Christian faith in the midst of an unbelieving family. If you can’t think of the last time you experienced even a bit of opposition because of your commitment to your faith it may be that you have failed to take a stand at times. Today, think about what are the essential aspects of your faith that you would not be willing to set aside, even if it meant facing opposition or even persecution. Commit yourself to holding fast to those aspects of your faith today.
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