I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). Jesus stretches my mind beyond its limits with the Beatitudes. I realize it is only the “prologue” to the Sermon on the Mount, but will I ever be able to live in the reality of such an experience? The answer is firmly and clearly proclaimed in the Beatitudes. He is the answer. The Kingdom is formed in His embrace; comfort is found in the fullness of His Spirit. Meekness becomes my nature through Him. The filling of all life is experienced in His revelation. He is my purity; I see God in Jesus. Peace is known in His embrace. Everything I need is found in Him. It is no less true with persecution. If I must choose between Jesus and personal safety, then I choose Jesus. He is more important and valuable to me than I am to me. How can this be? It is because I am not “me” without Him. Jesus is not an option; He is not one choice among many others. I cry with the Apostle Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Do my lungs fight for oxygen? Indeed, they cannot survive without this life-giving resource. In starvation does not my body cry for food? In dehydration does not my flesh scream for water? My life cries for Jesus in the extreme measure. In this passion, everything else shrinks in importance. Anything that distracts me from Him must be eliminated. There is nothing more valuable to me than Jesus! I am a Jesus pusher!!!
I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). The uniqueness of the intimacy between you and Jesus is the basis of your ability to rejoice and be exceedingly glad in the midst of persecution. No other kind of relationship is so powerful it can overshadow suffering. Even as I attempt to describe the reward of relationship I realize how inadequate it is. This may be why Jesus used the Greek word “polus,” translated great, to modify reward. It is an INCREASED REWARD. This word is focused on amount and refers to “much abundance.” The encompassing intimacy of your relationship with Jesus far surpasses all other relationships. He is your personal, unlike any other, intimate, and abundant reward.
There are great expressions of this reality in the Scriptures. Paul spoke of preaching such a message. He was amazed that God gave him the grace to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8). The Greek word “anexichriastos” is translated unsearchable. It only appears in the Scripture in two places. Paul wrote a great passage describing the mercies of God. He was captured by the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33). This Greek word “anexichriastos” means “untraceable.” It cannot be detected. If you expect to “master the material,” you will be greatly disappointed. In experiencing Jesus, we find no end to the expansion of His presence. It is the Beatitude of “hungering and thirsting after righteousness.” We will be filled! However the filling creates new hunger for what we see in Him. He fills us again, only to create a new hunger driving us to seek Him more and more. It is the “increased reward” of the revelation of His person.
Will you allow Him to reveal Himself to you? Will you set aside all other priorities for this one driving hunger? He is your reward! I am a Jesus pusher!!!
I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly; glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). THE INDIVIDUAL REWARD is also clearly defined in this explanation. In the Greek text Jesus definitely says that this reward is “yours.” Consider for a moment the uniqueness of you! Your fingerprints are different from everyone else who exists or has ever existed. Your DNA may be similar to family members, but is not duplicated in any other person. Your experiences and how they affect you are completely different due to your unique qualities of character and personality. The call of God upon your life is so unique no one has ever had one like it. No one else can duplicate the way God wants to use you in your generation. He created you with a unique purpose in mind!
What does this concept mean? Jesus is our reward! His relationship with each of us is unique. No one can know Him or experience Him exactly as you do. The manner in which He reveals Himself to you is exclusive to only you. Since He created you different from all others, He knows exactly how to embrace you. Jesus meets your needs in exact proportions to what is best for you. This is not “one size fits all.” In this kind of unique relationship, your life takes on the high quality only found in Jesus. The uniqueness of the intimacy between you and Jesus is the basis of your ability to rejoice and be exceedingly glad in the midst of persecution. No other kind of relationship is so powerful it can overshadow suffering. Even as I attempt to describe the reward of relationship I realize how inadequate it is. What a reward He is! I am a Jesus pusher!!
I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly; glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). How does this reward relate to in heaven? The Greek word “en,” translated in, refers to a “fixed state.” The Greek word “ouranos,” translated heaven, is difficult to dogmatically define. Is Jesus referring to the actual place of eternal dwelling? Is He referring to the state of righteousness in which the individual experiences the reward of the Beatitude life? It probably does not matter. In either case, Jesus is the reward. In both situations the experience of persecution only massages the soul to see Jesus clearer and embrace Him tighter. Jesus is our reward; could we ask for anything more?
THE INDIVIDUAL REWARD is also clearly defined in this explanation. In the Greek text Jesus definitely says that this reward is “yours.” It is a translation of the Greek word “humon.” It is the second personal pronoun. It is in the genitive case, which describes relationship between substances. “Of, from, or concerning you, or in regard to you” are all an expression of the word.
This extends beyond simple possession. While this “reward” belongs to you the meaning of this possession is greater than ownership. Since you endured persecution, you along with thousands of others, will receive a reward. But this is not the meaning. Jesus is expressing distinctiveness in His statement. Each individual receiving a reward receives the only reward of its kind; the persecution experienced by each individual is different. Therefore, the reward received is different for each individual. All of the aspects tell us that God designed something unique and special for each one! If He is your reward, does not your unique relationship with Him design the reward? What a Jesus!!! I am a Jesus pusher!!!
I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly; glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). Much of our evangelical view of “reward in heaven” is determined by what is not going to be present. We love the “no more” song about heaven. There will be no more sorrow, no more death, no more temptation, no more trials, no more tears, etc. When you finish the list, you wonder what will be left. This is a negative approach leaving us with negative feelings. It is an escapism approach; it does not create joy in the midst of persecution. It simply encourages me to endure to the end for “joy comes in the morning.”
In the context of our passage, the reward is the culmination of the Beatitudes. All the Beatitudes are focused on Jesus. We are helpless but we are embraced by His unlimited resource. In the fullness of His presence we become the Kingdom. The Comforter, the Spirit of Jesus, envelops us in our mourning. His nature throbs within and through us resulting in meekness embracing our world. We constantly expand in the revelation of Jesus as our hunger is filled. Mercy, purity, and peace are intimately connected to seeing Him and being His son. When persecution results from the intimacy of His presence would we not rejoice? When everything contained in the opposite of who He is dislikes us, would we not dance for joy? Will this not create within us a tighter embrace? We will experience the expansion of His presence in greater ways. Is Jesus not our reward? Is Jesus enough for you? I am a Jesus pusher!!!
I am a Jesus pusher!!! “Rejoice and be exceedingly; glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:12). One reason for rejoicing is THE INDICATED REWARD that is clearly in the Greek text. There is an article placed before the Greek word “misthos, “translated reward. This is not just “any” reward or “a” reward: it is “the” reward! This ties the reward directly to the experience of persecution. If Jesus said there would be a specific reward for those who suffer with Him, then the reward is for every Christian. The impact of Jesus’ statement is that every Christian will experience a consistency of persecution.
The picture of the reward in heaven taught throughout my days of growing up in the church seems to be generally accepted among evangelical Christians. It consists of a mansion, streets of gold, and servant angels. Everyone in heaven will experience these blessings; however, they are greatly improved or diminished determined by the material we provide for their production. If you desire a brick mansion you will need to render more service than for a vinyl sided mansion. The difficulty with this concept is the lack of biblical backing. This is a focus on the physical rewards of a materialistic mindset. This thought views comfort from the satisfaction of the physical needs, which is the opposite of rejoicing in the upset of your physical comfort. It places the joy in persecution in an endurance mode so you can get eternal comfort in heaven. In the context of our passage, the reward is the culmination of the Beatitudes. All the Beatitudes are focused on Jesus. Is Jesus really enough for you? I am a Jesus pusher!!!