WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24
SCRIPTURE: Luke 6:20-36
BY: Josh Boles
At this point Jesus has fully established His ministry here on earth and has called his 12 disciples. The masses are starting to trust in the reality that the long awaited Messiah is finally here! As we have seen, this is disturbing news for the religious, and the powerful. This plays right into our context today.
As Jesus does frequently throughout the Gospel accounts, He speaks to the crowds and then speaks truth directly to His disciples. What we get here in verses 20-26 is how Jesus thinks about value, and the things He values is clearly different than what the rest of the world values. Pay close attention to verses 20-22, and the kind of people who will experience joy, and a full life. Who are the blessed? The poor, hungry, weeping, and the hated.
Why are these the blessed? Jesus tells us at the end of verse 20 when He says, “because the kingdom of God is yours.” A life devoted to Jesus in many situations is met with many trials on this earth. In many countries people are beaten, and stripped of every earthly position they have. There are Christians all over the world living in extreme poverty, who are hungry, and who are hated, and consequently beaten or killed.
What is Jesus response to these people? Look in verse 23. “Rejoice in that day and leap for Joy.” Why should we have joy? Because all of the bad listed above will be traded for heavenly reward as we see in verse 23. What we have to understand about this truth is that, it is God’s perspective, not human perspective. We clearly don't view hunger as a good thing, but Jesus knows that the highest value we will have is our rewards in heaven. He knows that one day all of our sorrows will be traded for joy ten fold.
When we get to verses 24-26 we see a stark contrast. These subsequent verses are pretty much exactly reversed from 20-22. So what does this mean for us? Jesus is not trying to tell us that if you have money, are well fed, or loved you are going to hell. But He is asking a very important question. Where does your comfort come from? Just look at the end of verse 24, “they have received their comfort.”
This is perhaps the most important contrast in this chapter. People who are in Christ receive their comfort from knowing we have an eternal kingdom. On the flip side, we have people who find their comfort from earthly possessions? So where does your comfort come from? It is not wrong to have things, but it is wrong to be comforted by those things, and certainly to comfort in those things above our relationship with God.
What we see here is a test of faith. Think of something in your life you cannot imagine living without. Maybe a television, favorite chair, or a combination of a lot of things. Do those things trump the value you place on your relationship with God. Or, is the thing you cannot live without your personal quiet time with the Lord.
This is the goal I believe Jesus is begging the disciples to consider. If I could paraphrase Jesus’ words I think what He is trying to tell is, “Don’t be like the Pharisees that have been following me around. They have wealth, power, and authority. Focus on the kingdom of God and you will experience true joy.”
Life without Jesus is doomed. This is true regardless of how virtuous of a life you live, or regardless of how much wealth you achieve. But! Life with Jesus is blessed. Even if you are hungry, and hated by the world. Jesus does not value the things that this world does. We should value the things that Jesus does. Today, find comfort in Him.