“Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad—for great is your reward in Heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
How sweet the Joy that springs from His Presence as He “prepares a table before us even in the presence of our enemies” (Ps. 23:5).
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”
Those words sound encouraging until we realize the context into which they’re spoke: In response to others’ “reviling us, persecuting us and saying all manner of evil against us falsely.”
“You’ve got to be kidding!” someone cries.
“That’s ridiculous!” says another.
“That’s impossible!” says a third.
And, so it is UNTIL we’ve learned the “secret” of such rejoicing.
In Lk 6:22-23 we read Dr. Luke’s version of this portion of Jesus’ mountainside Beatitudes and he puts a little bit different twist on it. He said “Blessed are you when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy—for, behold, your reward is great in Heaven, for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
Believe it or not, Luke’s use of the phrase “and leap for joy” is really the essence of Matthew’s words “and be exceedingly glad,” for the Greek word “agalliao” is used there and means “to jump for joy, exult, to gush, spring up, etc.” Thus, it’s an animated, action verb that describes someone leaping up and shouting “Yeeeehaw!” (or something similar).
When you realize the Greek word “skirtao” is used in Luke’s version and it means “to skip, jump up and turn around, etc.” and is also “the quickening of a baby in his mother’s womb,” your mind immediately jumps to the story of John the Baptist. You’ll recall that that’s exactly what he did in Elizabeth’s womb that day when he heard Mary’s salutation at the door (Lk. 1:41, 44). And, dear Pilgrim, that was no normal moving of a baby within his mama’s womb.
“It was a Holy Ghost jig!!”
The angel, Gabriel, had told Zecharias that John would be “filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15b). Thus, John’s joyful jump was a quickening of the Spirit in his spirit. And, dear Pilgrim, that’s the only way we can “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when others are treating us the way Matthew and Luke describe.
Maybe you’re not there yet. But, that’s okay; be patient—the Lord’s not through with you yet. Continue “dying to yourself” daily (Gal. 2:20; Lk. 9:23-26) by “looking unto Jesus” and “giving thanks in all things” (Heb. 12:2; I Thess. 5:18). Forgive those who’ve hurt you by “casting your cares upon Christ” (I Pet. 5:7). He’ll take care of them, bring healing to your soul and enable you to have “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet. 1:8). Thank You, Lord.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 5, 2010