Imagine the nation of Israel as a patient on the couch of the Mighty Counselor Jesus.  The nation is in a state of identity crisis.  They had not successfully transitioned from their previous stage of development.  Israel was an oppressed people with four hundred years of silence from God. 

To a nation deeply rooted in its past experience, Jesus spoke of a Kingdom being unveiled today and into their future.  He spoke much of the old passing and the new coming.  To a people who had lost their identity, Jesus gave hope for a new kind of future.  The present and coming troubles would be rich in meaning as they opened a road to their destiny. 

Who are you Israel?  Who are you meant to be? 

Matthew 5:
 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

You are destined to be salt in a world that needs your flavor.  You are to glow in a world of darkness.  That is your future. 

Why are there insults, persecution and slander to those who side with Jesus?  Beneath the surface of humanity a battle of Kingdoms rages.  The Kingdoms of this world challenge the One who will unravel their web of power.  To follow Jesus requires you to break allegiance with the enemies and competitors for God’s throne.

It is precisely the difficulties that come from following a revolutionary King with a new system of government.  Your future reward is intricately linked to this battle against darkness.  The prophets of God suffered at the hands of people who rejected the overthrow of their personal and national darkness.