“Rejoice in that day!
Leap for joy!
That is what
Did to the prophets.”
χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ καὶ σκιρτήσατε· ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ· κατὰ αὐτὰ γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν.
Luke indicated that Jesus said that they should rejoice that day (χάρητε ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ). They were to leap for joy (καὶ σκιρτήσατε) because their reward would be great in heaven (ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ), This persecution is precisely what (κατὰ αὐτὰ) their ancestors (οἱ πατέρες αὐτῶν) had done to the ancient prophets (γὰρ ἐποίουν τοῖς προφήταις). This passage is very similar to Matthew, chapter 6:11, so this may be from the Q source. Matthew also indicated that Jesus told them to rejoice and be glad because there would be a future great reward for them in heaven. In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets who had gone before them. This saying was like a pep talk.
“Blessed are you!
When people revile you
On my account!
When they persecute you
On my account!
When they utter
All kinds of evil
Against you falsely
On my account!
Your reward is great
In the heavens!
In the same way,
Who were before you.”
μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν ψευδόμενοι ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ.
χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν.
Technically, this saying is not a beatitude, rather it is a continuation or explanation of the preceding beatitude. Nevertheless, they are blessed, happy, and fortunate (μακάριοί). Matthew has Jesus use the term “you” (ὑμᾶς), referring to his own disciples and apostles, rather than the preceding more generic “those who” (οἱ). They were going to be reviled and insulted (ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς) for the sake of Jesus Christ, on his account (ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ). The followers of Jesus were to be persecuted (καὶ διώξωσιν) because of Jesus. The early Christians would be attacked on all sides, by fellow Jews and the various gentile groups, being falsely accused of wrong doing (καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν ψευδόμενοι ἕνεκεν). As if to give them future encouragement, Matthew has Jesus tell them to rejoice and be glad (χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε). There would be a future great reward for them in the heavens (ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). In a certain sense, they were a continuation of the Old Testament persecuted prophets (οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας), who had gone before them (τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν). This was like a pep talk at the end of the Beatitudes that was similar to the end of the Beatitudes in Luke, chapter 6:27-31.
“When Bacchides heard of this, he came with a large force on the Sabbath day to the banks of the Jordan River. Jonathan said to those with him.
‘Let us rise up now.
Let us fight for our lives.
Today things are not as they were before.
The battle is in front of us and behind us.
The water of the Jordan is on this side and on that,
With marsh and thicket.
There is no place to turn.
Cry out now to Heaven!
Cry that you may be delivered from the hands of our enemies.’”
Once again, Bacchides came on the Sabbath day to the banks of the Jordan River. Jonathan rallied his men to rise up and fight for their lives. The battle was on all sides of them and they were at the water’s edge. He wanted them to cry out to heaven to be delivered from their enemies. His speech was a pep talk and prayer at the same time.
“When Seron approached the ascent of Beth-horon, Judas went out to meet him with a small company. But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said to Judas.
‘How can we?
Few as we are,
How can we fight against so great and so strong a multitude?
We are faint,
We have eaten nothing today.’
‘It is easy for many to be hemmed in by a few,
In the sight of heaven,
There is no difference between saving by many or by few.
It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends,
But strength comes from heaven.
They come against us in great insolence and lawlessness.
They want to destroy us, our wives, and our children.
They want to despoil us.
However, we fight for our lives and our laws.
He himself will crush them before us.
As for you,
Do not be afraid of them.’”
This is like a pep talk before the battle. Beth-horon was in the northwest corner of the Benjamin territory that might have close to the town of Modein since it was about 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Judas’ men said that they were too few to fight a battle against so many Syrian troops. They said that they were hungry and faint. Judas Maccabeus responded that there was no difference between a big army and a small army because strength comes from heaven. They were insolent and lawless. They wanted to destroy us, our wives, and our children. They wanted to get rid of us. However, we fight for our lives and our laws. They should not be afraid because the God of heaven in on their side.