Jesus concludes the Beatitudes with a statement which summarizes the response that you can expect when the Spirit transforms you and enables you to live out those preceding beatitudes.  When you live in humility and repentance, when you hunger and thirst after righteousness, when you are merciful and seek peace with pure motives, you will experience some manifestation of persecution.  It is because these concepts are revolutionary and counter-cultural.  Jesus tells us that this is how we acclimate to the kingdom of heaven.  It is also the destiny of every disciple to participate in the sufferings of Christ.  As His servants, we are not better than our Master.

Declaring and living the truth will provoke persecution.  First century disciples faced this in a multitude of ways.  They were falsely accused, threatened, slandered, and expelled from the Temple by the religious celebrities and professionals.  There were plots and conspiracies to do away with them.  They were ambushed, beaten, and thrown in jail.  They were instructed to rejoice, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Christ.  They also encouraged and strengthened each other to remain true to the faith, realizing that they must go through many hardships to enter into the kingdom of God.

George Orwell said, “Declaring truth in an age of universal delusion is a revolutionary act.”  Two statements could be added to that.  Proclaiming Christ in an age of universal depravity is a provocative act, and manifesting love in an age of universal desperation is a dangerous act.