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 last phrase regarding the prophets begins with the Greek word “gar.” It is a causative particle; it assigns a reason for what has been done. This is not another argument you should consider in your response to persecution. This is a further explanation of the status and context of your persecution, which should automatically produce rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Jesus is saying, “You are in very good company. You are not only intimate with Me, but you have a link with all those who are intimate with Me!”
Jesus will expand this idea throughout His ministry. In contrasting the Old Covenant with the New Covenant, He highlighted John the Baptist. While John the Baptist was the greatest in the Old Covenant, He does not measure up to the “least” in the Kingdom of Heaven. John was a prophet “and more than a prophet” (Matthew 11:9). He was actually one who was the subject of prophecy (Matthew 11:10). If they persecuted the greatest in the Old Testament and are now persecuting you, you have a link with your heritage.
“The company of the prophets” must be understood from the viewpoint of the Jews to whom Jesus spoke. They highly honored the prophets. In His last public message, Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets’” (Matthew 23:29-30). For Jesus to include anyone in this group was a high honor. In persecution you have become like your heroes! I want to be like Jesus who leads the parade! I am a Jesus pusher!!!