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 final verse in the Beatitude of persecution sets the tone for the Sermon on the Mount. If you can rejoice in the midst of physical pain, slander, and falsehood, you can rejoice in any state. This elevates the relationship Jesus presents in the Kingdom to a level above all hindrances or difficulties. If rejoice and be exceedingly glad is to be the state in persecution, how much more this will be true in times of blessing. The Kingdom embrace brings enough joy to override all persecution.
Jesus begins with the Greek word “chairo,” translated rejoice. It is a verb in the present tense. This plants the activity of rejoicing directly in the moment of persecution. To rejoice before or after the persecution is not an option. Jesus proposes that the state of deep inward joy must resonate in the midst of adverse circumstances. It is also in the imperative mood. This gives force to the command to live in this state. It is in the active voice which compels us to respond to everything we received and experienced in the previous Beatitudes. Nothing, not even persecution, is to interfere with the wonder of the Kingdom we are called to experience. There is a stability and security experienced in merging with Jesus that cannot be shaken by persecution. There is an understanding that comes in merging with the mind of Christ. It encompasses the reality beyond the pain of persecution. We understand the total picture. No wonder we rejoice in Him! I am a Jesus pusher!!!