11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. - Matt 5:11-12
Pastor May often says that the fact that the Bible is true is not always comforting – that there are things in the Bible he wishes it didn’t say. Reading this passage, I understand what he is talking about. This one makes me really uncomfortable. I am blessed by Jesus and because of this I can expect persecution! Wow! Now that’s an incentive – NOT!
I was listening to the KFUO broadcast “Sharper Iron” this morning and one of the Pastor’s quoted C. S. Lewis. Lewis said something to the effect that non-believers often think we are Christians because of the comfort and happiness we find there. It is the equivalent of Marx’s “religion is the opiate of the people.” But if you think of it, Christianity, especially when it comes to verses like this, can be far from comforting and far from making us happy all the time. Christianity involves suffering – taking up our cross. C. S. Lewis went on to quip that he could find happiness in a bottle of Port wine. He didn’t have to go to religion for that.
So, what is it that we find in religion? What is it that we have to share with non-believers that we can’t find where they look; alcohol, drugs, violence, sex? The answer is simple – forgiveness and eternal life. Eternal life with a loving God. That is what we have that the world does not. And it is a free gift from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ earned for us by His death and resurrection.
When others ask you for a reason for your hope, this is the answer.
We pray – Dearest Jesus, thank You for dying for us that we may receive forgiveness and eternal life. Help us to share this good news with others. – Amen.