Matthew 5:10 The Last Beatitude Rabbi Michael Weiner
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Do you remember why this verse is in quotes? These are the words of Yeshua, as quoted in the book of Matthew. From Matthew 5:3 to this verse, there are eight Beatitudes. But, I held this one as separate from the other seven for several reasons. First, this verse does not describe an attribute or character trait like the first seven do. Being persecuted is something that happens to an individual, not a change of character such as being poor in spirit (empty of self) or meek (humble).
Secondly, this is the last of the Beatitudes, but the first one to have commentary added to it. Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. These verses amplify or provide commentary to the final Beatitude of verse 10.
It seems counterintuitive to “shout for joy” when you’re persecuted, but this is exactly what happened to the Apostles (Emissaries). Acts 5:40-41 (They) called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name.
In Matthew 5, the Beatitude mentions suffering “for the sake of righteousness,” while in Acts 5 the excitement is over suffering “on account of His name.” This is also a great description of righteousness. However; sometimes we suffer on account of our own mistakes. That’s not the same.
Rabbi Trail: We all “stub our toe” (figuratively speaking) in life from time to time. That’s not an occasion for rejoicing, but for repenting. I’ve noticed some people have what I would call “self-destructive tendencies.” In fact, as I said above, all of us do to some degree, but others are serial offenders. In such situations we must draw near to the cross, come to the place of valuing Yeshua’s sacrifice, and covenant with God that B’Ezrat HaShem, (with the help of God) we will walk in newness, take on the character of Yeshua, and stop that self-destructive behavior. End RT.
There is a clear distinction in Scripture between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom. These are all self-destructive behaviors.
What follows are a listing of these fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:23 But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – against such things there is no law. One reason we can shout for joy while being persecuted is that in Messiah Yeshua we have died to self. Galatians 5:24 Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
There is a host of adversaries in the world today ready and willing to persecute the faithful. But we must remember the words of Elisha from 2 Kings 6:16 “Fear not,” he replied, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” We will only possess this reality as we pursue righteousness. Romans 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice – holy, acceptable to God – which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The distinction is clear. Let’s be sure our persecution and suffering is on account of righteousness, and not selfishness.