by Mary Beth Wine
(the names have been changed to protect our grands)
Once Upon a Time there were 8 little children.
The oldest was named Josh. The next oldest was named Calvin. And they had a little brother named Zeb.
And then there was Jack, and his younger brother, Abel, their little sister, Catherine, and their baby brother, Randy.
They were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house celebrating Easter, along with their friend, Isaiah.
They had been learning about Jesus preaching on the mountain. They knew he had fed over 5000 people that day with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish!
They knew the things he preached about were called the ‘Be-Attitudes’.
These were attitudes and mind-sets that people who loved Jesus would grow into and learn.
He said his followers would be blessed if they did these things. “Blessed” means happy. So, you will be happy if you allow him to mold his words into your heart and life.
He said you would be happy if you were humble and were truly sad about the wrong things you do.
He said you’d be happy if you were gentle instead of angry and mean.
He said you’d be happy if you were hungry and thirsty to do right and hated to do wrong.
He said people who had pure hearts and wanted to help others be at peace would be happy.
Another thing he preached about was, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Do you know what it means to be persecuted?
It’s when you take a stand for what you know God has spoken is right, and other people don’t like it.
They call you names.
They say mean things to you.
They tell lies about you.
They might even kill you.
People are persecuted because they love Jesus and love what he says.
Jesus was persecuted. He told the truth and did what was right by obeying his Father. And that made people mad.
They lied about him.
They called him a criminal.
They beat him with a whip.
They put a crown of thorns on his head.
These things were very painful and made him bleed.
Then they crucified him
by nailing his hands and feet to a Cross.
He died there on the Cross.
But then after 3 days, he came back to life and rose again!
Many people since then have been persecuted for being like Jesus, and telling the truth and obeying God, the Father.
Some have even died.
They are called “martyrs”.
Some were crucified like Jesus.
Some were be-headed.
Some were fed to lions.
Some were hung by their neck.
Some were shot.
There have been many ways that people have suffered persecution because they followed the Lord.
Jesus says we are blessed when we’re persecuted because we speak what God tells us to.
He says we’ll be happy when we take a stand for what he says is right–no matter what wrong things other people around us are doing.
Jesus said to the people on the mountain the day he preached that those who are persecuted are happy because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
This means Jesus’ Kingdom rules in their hearts and lives. And that is a happy thing!
This persecution might happen to us one day because we follow Jesus.
So if you are ever treated like this because you love Jesus and obey the Father, then you must remember that you are blessed too.
For Jesus’ Kingdom rules in you!