Most joyful recipient of God’s unmerited favor and peace. Beloved. Saints. For all followers of Christ who pick up daily and teach what is precise according to His Word. And therein cultivate fruit for His Majesty. Yet not without pain. For through these aches in Christ heaven will be ours. 

“Blessed are those persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Faithful disciples are accused and slandered. Tempted and tossed. Expendable and abandoned. They continue to have their character misrepresented. They are physically and verbally assaulted. For such attempts come by worldly Christians among us. Unbelievers outside His door. False teachers. And hostile governments. All for the purpose of doing what is correct according to the great “I AM.” 

When Christians teach the truth (reality) and expose sin. When illustrated accuracy and practical application are established. When His grace instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly passions. Removing us from the evil works of darkness? Dishonest and unjust treatment from our own kind lurks.

It’s a hard walk being loyal to the Bible. And blessed are we for it because the priority and responsibility of the church are ours to persevere through. All Christians who refuse the task of righteous judgment and discernment, in essence, reject the blessings of spiritual wisdom and growth. 

Pay attention. A woman gives birth to the child living within her womb. Such a wonderful and humbling moment. Yet this time appears not without pain. Yes, the family has now grown in number. We introduce a baby among us. A discovered family member is welcomed. But not without pain (Gen. 3:16). All who have experienced a woman deliver, identify great labor taking place. Months of sacrifice.

There is wisdom in affliction. We’ve learned something. God educates us. He has taught us spiritual value. In this context nothing “free” is cheap. For the forgiveness of our sins came through the shedding of our Master’s blood (Mt. 26:28). Did not our King become the recipient of shame and sorrow (Is. 53:3)? Yes. In our stead (Rom. 4:25). 

If the church is going to grow? Discomfort and suffering are present. Church discipline. Rebuking. Forgiveness. Teaching. Repentance. Evangelism. Righteous division, healing, compassion, discernment, and judgment. In season and out of season. These produce movement. The weeds are removed and the flowers bloom. A botanical garden of seeds for Christ. When the agony relents we have a moment of relief and joy. We hold the newborn baby in our arms with love and care, tenderness. We see God inhabit His work. We heal until the next challenge rises. Blessings in abundance. 

Congregations rejecting various and necessary trials, will not receive the birth they anticipate. Nor the renewals therein. They will socially swell the pews, but not spiritually strive His house. Smooth ships, fair sailing, shallow water, compromise of faith, lack of righteous discernment, cowardice and ignorance of Scripture? Fruitless. Useless. Cut down and burned.

We cannot have nativity void of pain. And yet we do not seek this pain. The mother never says, “I eagerly await the uncertainty of my life as the ripping and burning sensation of birth takes place.” No, she says, “I eagerly await the joy and blessing of seeing my baby within my arms to hold dear and precious.” Are we searching for growth? Pain the inevitable path before achieving the goal.

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” - John 16:21

Blessed are we when we are persecuted. Because growth will come as a result. And such a result means we’ll be in heaven with our Master one Day soon. 

Commentary sections on Matthew
By Stephane H. Maillet