Campfire Scripture: Uncommon scriptures, simple truth… For pondering over a warm campfire.
Author, Date and Context:
Matthew wrote the gospel carrying his name. Not much else is said about him outside of this Gospel, other than references to him in the other Gospel accounts. It is not certain which of the Gospels was written first, it still the subject of debate today and is known as the ‘synoptic problem’.
The above verse is one of the famous beatitudes – ‘blessed are you’. It forms a portion of one of Christ’s many exhortations to live righteously, to demonstrate your love of God through obedience to his word and good works.
What I Reckon:
OK, this one is not that uncommon. Lots of Christians love to play the martyr with verses like this.
But that’s just the thing, of all the verses discussing persecution, ones like this are the favourites, because they’re non-specific.
I do believe that persecution of Christianity in the West is increasing. Maybe even faster than you think. But for many Christians we still live on a bed of roses compared to our persecuted brethren in other parts of the world.
But the key phrase in this verse is ‘because of me’. So many Christians are relishing in their suffrage of difficult life situations which all arise for various reasons. However if that reason is not explicitly sharing or defending the Gospel, or refusing to renege on your Christian beliefs, then it’s not persecution ‘because of me’. In fact a lot of the time it’s not even persecution.
Christ said we would be hated for His name’s sake. But we can be hated for lots of other reasons too. We can just be nasty and unrighteous, wolves in sheep’s clothing. Merely associating oneself with the label of ‘Christianity’ is enough to generate some serious hate, even if one is a heretic.
Remember that when you’re sharing the Gospel with compassion, but unrelenting commitment to the truth, you can expect some serious resistance, hate and even persecution. The current toxic climate surrounding the Same sex marriage plebiscite in Australia is the best evidence of that.
The Australian Christian Lobby has come under furious attack, and there’s no sign of it letting up, because they refuse to bend the knee to the uncivilized, hateful, anti-christian mobs.
However, just remember to keep it in perspective, until someone is suicide bombing a car outside your home, then you need to realise that things can get a lot worse.
All Campfire Scripture passages are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise stated.
John MacArthur, 2006, The MacArthur Study Bible, New American Standard Bible (1995 edition).