1. Read Matthew 5:1-12 incarnationally. Where do you find yourself in the text?
2. In your own words define persecution.
3. Father Greg Boyle talks about the beatitudes as a geography rather than a spirituality. He writes, “You are in the right place if you are merciful. You are in the right place if you struggle for peace. You are in fact in the right place if you they persecute you, or insult you. You’re in the right place.”
“It’s about location. It’s about where we chose to stand. The beatitudes is not a spirituality that we have to adopt or embrace all of these particular qualities. It’s not a spirituality, it’s a geography. It tells us where to stand, or whom to stand with.”
How do you resonate with this idea? “You are in the right place…”
4. Whom do you stand with, or for? When was the last time you stood with someone who was suffering persecution because of righteousness?
5.How are we called to respond to a world where Christians are being persecuted daily? How do you keep from being overwhelmed?
6. In our Lenten devotional this week we read, “Following Christ carries a cost: many of the original disciples were to die excruciating deaths themselves, leading Tertullian to conclude that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’”
7. What has following Christ cost you? Is it worth it? How so?
8. Read 2 Timothy 3:12; John 16.1-2; Matthew 24.9. Note the Biblical implication of each?
9. Yet, Jesus says, “Jump for joy when this happens, form the knowledge that even now you have a great and imperishable reward in God’s world, in the heavens. Your reputation stands high before God the father and his eternal family, whose companionship and love and resource are now and forever your inheritance.”
“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
How do you live in the tension of the present suffering and the eternal reward?
10. Anne Lamott wrote, “Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster.” How has this been true of you? Explain.
11. Read 1 Corinthians 12:26. With whom might you stand with today? With whom might you invite to stand with you today?
12. As we conclude this study on the beatitudes, where do you sense you’ve grown? What is changing in you? How is God working through you? Where do you still long to change and grow?
Praise God for His relentless love that makes a way for you to stand. Praise Him for His love.