As we come to this eight and final beatitude, it appears at first sight to be a contradiction in terms. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake…” How can it be, that the words “blessed” and “persecuted” could ever appear in the same sentence? Doesn’t persecution involve pain and suffering; torment and affliction? Aren’t these bad and to be avoided at all costs? So, our Western mind theorises because we’re so used to a Christianity that’s crossless. Yet for the vast majority of believers today who find themselves living in Communist countries or in Muslim countries, they know firsthand the meaning of the words; “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24).
The secret of the blessing lies in the second part of the verse; “…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. There are two senses in which I believe the idea of the kingdom of heaven being “theirs” is to be understood. One points to the here and now and the other to the kingdom which is to come at the appearing of our Blessed Saviour. May the Lord bless this teaching to your heart and prepare you to stand for the coming storm.