20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 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. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
I genuinely believe that ALL scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. But I also find that certain sections of scripture seem to be more “special” (at least to me!).
The sermon on the mount, as recorded by Luke, is the longest continual quote of Jesus’ teaching and the opening section here in Luke 6:20-23 is often referred to as “The Beatitudes”, because beatitude comes from the Latin translation of the word blessing.
As I read through the Beatitudes this morning, I am struck by the paradoxical nature of the statements. What did Christ really mean when he taught this, especially when the rest of the sermon on the mount is intensely real-world and practical!?
One clue is at the beginning of verse 20: “Looking at his disciples he said:
Is Jesus specifically targeting this teaching to his disciples?
One possibility that has dawned on me this morning is that in proclaiming these paradoxes, Jesus is doing two things at the same time:
1) He is heralding the hope of the life that is to come
2) He is instructing the disciples (and us) on the shape of the kingdom that we are to be a part of establishing and inheriting here on earth.
Lord, I love the upside-down kingdom that you rule and reign. I love that the rules and systems of your kingdom are so different from the ways of this world. Lord help me to know your ways so that I might truly bring in the kingdom of heaven and be a part of your kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven!!
Written by Ps. Justin Ware