I am a Jesus pusher!!! Jesus compels us to consider “slanderous persecution.” He says, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake” (Matthew 5:11). The Greek word “oneidizo,” translated revile suggests the idea of reviling, upbraiding, or seriously insulting. It means to cast in one’s teeth. Jesus definitely describes this condition with the additional statement of “and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” The crucifixion event gives a vivid example of such activity. The crowds who were passing by wagged their heads; they made fun of His teachings. The leaders of Israel mocked Jesus with words promoting disgust. They struck blows of criticism against the most precious and sacred possession of Jesus, His relationship with His Father. But over and above all of this, even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled (oneidizo) Him with the same thing (Matthew 27:44). This covered every aspect of society.
Not only was there physical persecution, but there was mental, verbal, and emotional persecution. Persecution is not simply about physical pain; there is an emotional pain as well. This aspect of persecution is often harder to bear than the physical aspect. It reveals a total misunderstanding of what is really happening. For instance, in the case of Jesus, He shared His heart with the individuals who were berating Him. He healed and loved them. They demonstrated no comprehension of anything He shared with them. Even if the physical aspect of the cross were removed, the isolation and rejection would be paramount. As He fills us, will we not experience this in our world? But intimacy with Him overshadows all persecution! I am a Jesus pusher!