There is a subtle shift in focus in this last beatitude. All the previous beatitudes were addressed to people with certain traits: blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, or the peacemakers. But this final beatitude shifts to the second person: “Blessed are you.” Jesus is now telling His followers that this is what is going to happen to us. We will be reviled. We will be persecuted. We will have all manner of evil falsehoods spoken against us. We will be verbally assaulted, physically accosted, and defamed on account of Christ. And when this happens, we are blessed.
Being reviled, persecuted, or falsely accused may not seem like avenues for blessing, but there are at least three reasons to rejoice when we are persecuted. First, we should rejoice because we are given the privilege of sharing in Christ’s sufferings. “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18–19). If we are reviled on account of Christ, then rejoice because it is a sign that we are in Christ.