What does Matthew 5:11 mean?
ESV: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
NIV: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
NASB: Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
CSB: "You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me.
NLT: God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers.
KJV: Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Verse Commentary:
This is part of Jesus' explanation of the Beatitudes: a series of statements about those who are "blessed," as proven by certain attitudes or actions (Matthew 5:1–9). In the previous verse, Jesus mentioned those who endured persecution for the sake of righteousness (Matthew 5:10). Here, He adds details about what persecution might look like and what might cause it. For the first time, Jesus moves away from general statements, given to His largely Jewish audience, and focuses more narrowly on Himself, specifically, as the One they are following.

The central issue in true Christian "persecution" is, of course, Jesus Christ. Merely being harassed or treated unfairly isn't necessarily persecution—especially if it's in response to our own wrongdoing (1 Peter 4:15). What Jesus means is that one proof of being "blessed" is willingness to endure unfair treatment on account of faithfully following Him (1 Peter 4:12–14). Those in opposition to Jesus might insult His followers, abuse them, and falsely accuse them of doing terrible things.

At the time Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount, this hasn't yet happened to those who follow Him. However, this blessing serves as an early warning that such abuse is coming (John 16:1–4). In the following verse, Jesus will continue to explain why those who suffer for being connected to Him are blessed.
Verse Context:
Matthew 5:1–12 contains the beautiful Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. The series of nine sentences describes an unlikely group of people as blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those hungry for righteousness, and the merciful. All are blessed because of their part in the kingdom of heaven. This includes those persecuted for the sake of righteousness and on account of Jesus. Instead of despairing, they should rejoice for the great rewards they will receive in heaven. These are not prerequisites for salvation; instead, they are the natural expressions of saving faith in the life of those who know Christ.
Chapter Summary:
The Sermon on the Mount contains some of Jesus' most challenging teaching. It begins with the unlikely blessings of the Beatitudes. Jesus' disciples must do good works in order to be a powerful influence: as the salt of the earth and light of the world. The superficial righteousness of the Pharisees is not good enough to earn heaven. Sins of the heart, such as angry insults and intentional lust, are worthy of hell just as much as adultery and murder. Easy divorce and deceptive oaths are forbidden. Believers should not seek revenge. Instead, God intends us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. In short, we should strive to be perfect, as God is perfect.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 5 follows Matthew's description of the enormous crowds that were following Jesus (Matthew 4:25). One day, Jesus sits down on a hill to teach them, in an address we now call the Sermon on the Mount. He describes as blessed those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are persecuted. Christ also explains how God's standards of righteousness go far beyond behaviors and speech; they also include our thoughts and attitudes. Meeting God's standards means perfection. Chapter 6 continues this sermon, with more examples of Jesus clarifying God's intent for godly living.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 3/1/2024 2:40:05 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com