Personalizing Persecution.

In Matthew 5:11, there is a shift from third person to second person. Jesus moves from talking about people in general (those) to His disciples in particular (you). I believe Jesus is making a specific, personal application of the eighth beatitude (vs. 10), not stating a final beatitude (contra Osborne, Matthew, kindle loc. 3386). He is not introducing a new beatitude; He is applying the eighth and final beatitude to the disciples in a personal way. 
Carson noted the expansion of the eighth beatitude in verse 11 in regards to persecution, righteousness, and response to persecution. First, persecution involves verbal as well as physical attack. People experience persecution when they are verbally attacked for their faith. Second, righteousness is connected to imitation of Christ. Verse 10 talks about persecution for righteousness’ sake, whereas verse 12 talks about persecution for Christ’s sake. “This confirms that the righteousness of life that is in view is in imitation of Jesus” Carson, The Sermon on the Mount, 28). Third, the response to suffering is joy. They can be full of joy because they have a great reward in heaven.
These verses are especially comforting in our day. It is not popular or politically correct to be a Christian and affirm biblical truths. It is likely those who love Jesus and are outspoken about their beliefs will be verbally ridiculed. If we love Jesus, seek to follow Him, and face persecution, let’s not falter. Rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven.


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