"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
An insult is thrown.
A challenge is made.
The two parties choose their weapons.
If it's a duel, pistols at dawn.
If it's cars, then a game of "chicken" has begun!
You know the drill in a duel. The two parties stand back to back, count to ten paces, turn, and fire their pistols.
The first one hit, loses. He not only loses the duel, but the odds are that he also loses his life. The first one who lays down his weapon without firing - "chicken's out". He bears the former insult and dishonor, and is declared the loser.
But, at least he's still alive! Is he really the loser?
In a game of "chicken" two cars face each other as about a hundred yards - the length of a football field.
A flag is dropped, the two cards barrel towards each other at full speed heading for a head to head collision. The top speed going to the end of the hundred yards is anywhere from 80 to 85 miles an hour. Imagine the impact! Anyhow, the first car to get out of the way of the other car, avoiding the crash, is "chicken", and therefore the loser. Right?
Well, according to today's text, WRONG!
Word Study: PERSECUTE
The Greek word for 'persecute/persecuted' is 'diuko', which means, "to be put to flight".
So, blessed are you when you're insulted because of Jesus, and you take flight. You just get out of there. Blessed are you for being chicken, or put another way - blessed are you that gets out of the way - turns the other cheek and runs.
Getting out of the way of a bullet isn't chicken - it's being smart - genius even! Getting out of the way of a car coming at you going 60 to 80 miles per hour isn't chicken - it's being a candidate for Mensa!
Remember the first Karate Kid movie when Mr. Myagi was teaching Daniel karate, his words were, "Best way to block a punch is not to be there. Best way to save face."
Jesus' teaching on the Beatitudes was about being poor in spirit, being repentant, being gentle, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, being merciful/forgiving, being pure in heart, and being a peacemaker. Nowhere did He say, "Blessed are those who mouth off when insulted," OR "Blessed are the vengeful," OR "Blessed is the one who can punch someone's lights out," OR "Blessed is the one who can scare the daylight out of somebody," OR even - "Blessed are the ones who defend Me."
Jesus doesn't need defending. He's God. He defends us - not vice versa!
In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us His accomplishments - not his aspirations! He is showing us His Way - not the way of the world. It's not, "Blessed is the tough guy."
It's, "Blessed are the meek, the weak, who don't rely on their physique!"
We are told that the prophets of old were put to flight. We are told of Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Gideon, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and many others who were put to flight. They learned to "Live to fight another day!"
They were put to flight for their stand for God. So, being "chicken" is to be in good company. The only one who ever stood His ground was Jesus. He stood His ground - planted on the cross - fighting for us! He planted Himself so we could run to God, and that's a great reward.
Who wants to end up like the Hatfield's and the McCoy's anyway?
How do you read? What do you think?
Laura on Faith Filled Friday at Beholding Glory
Charlotte on Spiritual Sundays