He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. [NRSV]
Woe to you who are Blessed, Blessed are those who are without.
Contrasting Matthew’s account of the Be-attitudes and Luke’s account as blessings and woes we have the differences of spiritual deprivation and material want.
So here Luke recounts a message of warning about faith. Rather heading this as a prescription list of do’s and don’ts, we have almost the punchline of a parable.
This seesaw of woe and bless is a lesson and warning to be people of faith and trust in Christ.
Quite simply, those who are hungry and thirsty have a different perspective on where to turn for wholeness or fullness. If you have nothing it is easier to see that what you need most is not something you can satisfy or supply yourself.
Those who are hungry are at a place of not being able to satisfy them selves and they know their own emptiness.
Remove your assumptions about political agenda about poverty as this is not spiritual word for governments it is directed toward disciples.
Disciples need to be asked where do you find your hunger a d thirst for want satisfied? In food? Drink? Wealth? Social position? Social identity?
If we who are spiritually empty going to attempt to fill our body’s will we find blessing? Is it temporary or eternal?
There is more:
In addition to physical needs Jesus places our emotions in the cross hairs
Woe to those who remain an emotional mess when Jesus is offering hope, peace and community.
If we are weeping from grief, jealousy or envy where will we find peace?
Are we look around and listen there is no shortage of weeping, hatred and exclusion. The remedy is not simply to toughen up, ignore those who persecute us and make our own group of like-minded films t comfort us. These are the world solutions.
Jesus is offering himself to the disciples first so that we may offer Christ to the world.
The core operation of the church is not to get people to confess Jesus. While that can be a measure of a starting point, Jesus is blessing the trust that follows belief.
- Do you trust Jesus or your money
- Do you depend on the worlds approval or being included in the kingdom
- Do you think you can have your cake and the kingdom too
These woes are are not to the casual one who overheard the Gospel or those who received healing or feeding in the crowds.
Jesus is asking us as disciples:
- how is God feeding you?
- What do you thirst for, is it spiritual or physical
- Are your emotions guiding your mind or is the Holy Spirit
- Which s you value more belonging to the crowd or the party or the popularity the world attempts to offer or is Jesus enough
Woe to us if we are fooling ourselves.
We might convince ourselves but the world see through us
Are we expecting someone to spoon feed us or are we working to be fed through word, service, witness, worship, etc.
We are likely to prefer Matthews. Be-Attitudes to Luke’s woes because the warning is to us as believers more than it is to the world.
Jesus’s wors are to disciples AND the crowds, and the world
A Word and Witness to the World
The reason Jesus starts with disciples getting right side up is that we are sent to witness and encourage the rest of the world
What does the church have to offer a world that is divided, hurting and addicted to social media?
We are called to be a community of sinners seeking Christ as our strength and promise.
The blessing comes AS we share the journey.
It’s not that we perfect the life and then go out. That’s impossible.
But if we only eat and never feed we are not blessed, we are poor
If we satisfy ourselves and our neighbors thirst, weeps, is hated, or ignored then neither of us are blessed
The world says that money and politics and ideology are our blessing
Jesus says woe to those who hunger and thirst when those change, fail and go against the kingdom.
There is a challenge to take the discoveries of the 21st century and learn to relate the powerful blessing of Christ that are timeless. Much of the modern world’s theology is post-modern. A crazy term. I think the shorts definition is that so many believe they have outgrown religious life and are satisfied looking for fulfillment elsewhere.
If we are not strong in faith ourselves we have nothing to share with a world that has move past what it never found, trusted or resolved.
The debate splitting the denomination is evidence that the faithful lack a handle on being grounded in Christ, if we were we would not have been dragging our feet for forty four years on the same debate. It is our calling to place our trust in Christ and proclaim what we hold true by faith.
Share the blessing by sharing the journey, Christ in your heart and you heart given to those who hunger, thirst, weep and search for the heart of Christ through you.
Otherwise Jesus would have never needed disciples, that just how Christ works.