John 15:20; Matthew 5:10-12
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): The Christian has no right to expect better treatment from the world than Christ received.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Those that bear Christ’s name must expect to bear the cross for His name.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Lord Jesus Christ dealt openly in this matter, and plainly made known what was likely to befall those whom He called to follow Him, and expressly affirmed that He would admit none into the ranks of His disciples save those who denied themselves, took up their cross, and engage to undergo all sorts of sufferings for His sake and the Gospel’s. He deceived none with fair promises of a smooth and easy passage through this world.
THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Persecution is the legacy bequeathed by Christ to His people.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): All that will live godly in Christ Jesus must expect it in one shape or another.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Suffering is commonly connected with service in the divine life. It was so invariably in the beginning of the gospel. Then it was deemed impossible for any one to live godly in Christ Jesus and not suffer persecution. Therefore no sooner was Paul converted, than he was told how great things he had to suffer. “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake,” Acts 9:16.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Why then does he rejoice in it? Why should he be exceeding glad? Here are the Lord’s answers. The first is that this persecution which he is receiving for Christ’s sake is proof to the Christian of who he is and what he is. “For so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” So if you find you are being persecuted and maligned falsely for Christ’s sake, you know you are like the prophets, who were God’s chosen servants, and who are now with God, rejoicing in glory. Now that is something to rejoice about.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Persecutions are, in a way, seals of adoption to the children of God…Persecution is indeed a true test whereby God discovers which are His.
THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): The Lord trieth the righteous, Psalm 11:5. Times of affliction and persecution will distinguish the precious from the vile, it will difference the counterfeit professor from the true. Persecution is a Christian’s touchstone, it is a lapis lydius that will try what metal men are made of, whether they be silver or tin, gold or dross, wheat or chaff, shadow or substance, carnal or spiritual, sincere or hypocritical…To stand fast in fiery trials argues much integrity within.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: This is one of the ways in which our Lord turns everything into a victory. In a sense He makes even the devil a cause of blessing. The devil through his agencies persecutes the Christian and makes him unhappy. But if you look at it in the right way, you will find a cause for rejoicing, and will turn to Satan and say, “Thank you; you are giving me proof that I am a child of God, otherwise I should never be persecuted like this for Christ’s sake.” James, in his Epistle, argues likewise that this is proof of your calling and sonship; it is something which makes you know for certain you are a child of God. Or, take a second argument to prove this. It means, of course, that we have become identified with Christ. If we are thus being maligned falsely and persecuted for His sake, it must mean that our lives have become like His. We are being treated as our Lord was treated, and therefore we have positive proof that we do indeed belong to Him.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Persecution is like the goldsmith’s hallmark on real silver and gold; it is one of the marks of a converted man.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: As we saw, He Himself prophesied before His going that this was going to happen and this teaching is found everywhere in the New Testament. The apostle Paul, for example, says, “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake,” Philippians 1:29.
JOHN GILL: The same persons to whom it is given to believe in Christ, to them it is given to suffer for Him; and they all do in some shape or another, though some more, others less; yet all are partakers of sufferings for Christ, and so are conformed to Him [who is] their head, and hereby enter the kingdom.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The second cause of rejoicing and of joy is, of course, that this persecution is proof also of where we are going. “Rejoice and be exceeding glad.” Why? “For great is your reward in heaven.” Here is one of these great central principles that you find running all the way through the Bible. It is this consideration of the end, our final destiny. If this happens to you, says Christ in effect, it is just the hallmark of the fact that you are destined for heaven. It means you have a label on; it means your ultimate destiny is fixed. By thus persecuting you the world is just telling you that you do not belong to it, that you are a man apart; you belong to another realm, thus proving the fact that you are going to heaven. And that, according to Christ, is something which causes us always to rejoice and be exceeding glad.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Christ’s cross is made of sweet wool, for there are comforts peculiar to those who suffer for righteousness.
THOMAS BROOKS: By grace God makes men vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and then casts them into the fire to melt and suffer for His name, and a higher glory He cannot put upon them on this side of glory.
HOWEL HARRIS (1714-1773): The greatest honour we poor mortals can be capable of is to be persecuted for righteousness’s sake. O what a favour it is to bear reproach for Christ!
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): From Paul’s declaration, that “all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” 2 Timothy 3:12, we may expect it will always be so, while human nature and the state of the world remain as they are.
JEROME (340-420): You err, my brother, you err, if you think that anywhere a Christian is not to suffer persecution.