This is the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain, which may have been the Sermon on the Mount with some editing, or a different event with the same sermon material. It doesn’t really matter which it is, though.
Jesus begins with some statements that don’t make sense at first. He says the poor, the hungry, the sad, and the persecuted should be considered the most fortunate and happy. They are winning at life. Conversely, He says the rich, the satisfied, the joyous, and the popular are in danger. What’s going on?
Jesus’s point is that there is more to life than this life. If Heaven is not real, then these statements are nonsensical. But because it is real, we should consider carefully what Jesus is saying. People having hard times cannot rely on themselves to see them through, but can more easily rely on God, trusting Him to gather them into His kingdom. Those with easier, happy lives are blind to their need for a Savior and do not seek after God.
Notice that Jesus doesn’t say that persecution for any reason is a reason for blessing, but persecution because of Himself. It is better to be hated for doing good than for doing evil.
Help us to be wary of the riches and pleasures of this world, which put us in danger of missing Your eternal blessings.