THE BEATITUDES (8)
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
The final Beatitude starts with a warning to those whose lives exemplify the previous seven traits. Expect persecution. Though God Himself declares these traits “blessed,” He warns that in the world a disciple may suffer persecution for righteousness sake.
Persecuted here means harassed, hunted or ruined. Most specifically, it pictures a hunter pursuing a wild beast; or someone pursuing an enemy or troublemaker trying to escape.
But a disciple stands firm in faith through persecution and loss --- even the loss of all things --- for righteousness sake.
The persecuted one receives the same promise as the “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). But here the Lord comforts a disciple such suffering temporal losses. He will receive in heaven because of his suffering and in proportion to it an exceptional reward.
Logically, one might ask why such honorable character traits provoke persecution? Jesus explained to his disciples, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (John 15:19)