The Gospel of Luke 6:17-26
Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.”
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.”
Let us Pray: Heavenly father each day we thank you for your Son, Jesus our Savior. We thank Him for words we need to live by and words that show us how to love those who in this world need our support as you gave your support to those who were considered undesirable. This we pray in your Name. Amen
There is some Speculation if this sermon is the same as Matthew’s. Does it really matter? What is important is the message. The Beatitudes are often described as a framework for Christian living. Our vocation as Christians is not to be first in this world, but rather to be first in the eyes of God. We are challenged to examine our present situation which is finding the Kingdom of God.
This is His most well-known teaching, “The Beatitudes,” Jesus presents the qualities that make for a happy or blessed life. As Luke reports the teaching, four times Jesus pronounces blessings on people with these four qualities and four times He pronounces woes on people with the opposite qualities. To be blessed is to have inner joy and happiness because God’s favor is upon you. To have woe is to have sorrow and pain because God is against you. Thus, Jesus is showing us how to be supremely happy or supremely miserable. They are a way to teach about who will find favor with God. The word blessed in
this context might be translated as “happy,” “fortunate,” or “favored.” This sermon is one instance of Jesus teaching about the Kingdom and true religion. As we read this Gospel, the Beatitudes jar our sensibilities. Those who are poor, hungry, weeping, or persecuted are called blessed. This is, indeed, a Gospel of reversals. Those often thought to have been forgotten by God are called blessed. In the list of “woes,” those whom we might ordinarily describe as blessed by God are warned about their peril. Riches, possessions, laughter, reputation, these are not things that we can depend upon as sources of eternal happiness. They not only fail to deliver on their promise; our misplaced trust in them will lead to our demise. The ultimate peril is in misidentifying the source of our eternal happiness. Often, we associate the word “blessing” with happiness or good fortune. But it holds a bit deeper of a meaning. It is beyond the superficial or even material possessions; it is a word more closely connected sense of unity with God in an eternal sense, relating to righteousness and being in right relationship with our creator. These four pairings, blessings and woes, challenge us to look at our lives and our world with new eyes. They challenge us to clarify our values and examine what are the things in life that we will take a stand to sustain a faithful living. Packed into these verses are very real instructions for the disciples, including those of us who claim to follow Christ today, to reorient our relationships and reverse the social, economic, and political injustices that surround us so that we might live most fully into the reign of God here and now. And, in the end, that is what the Beatitudes call us to a better understanding of what it looks like for God to reign, a God who sees all of God’s creation as beloved and blessed and calls us to be in a community that models such a perspective. These words from Luke are not a gospel of comfort, but a gospel of challenge to embrace the world with the love and eyes of Jesus. Woe to those of us who miss the opportunity to be a part of such a world. Blessed be the ones who can live in the upside-down world of God, for them the kingdom of God is revealed.
Let us Pray: Loving Father, source of every blessing, you have given us a world full of Glory. In gratitude and thanks, we return these gifts to you. Bless them with your manifold grace, and multiply them in your mercy, that they may go forth to heal a world trapped in loneliness and isolation. In the name of the one who leads us into life, we pray. Amen.