Luke 6:17-26 - And He [Jesus] came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch Him, for power came out from Him and healed them all. And He lifted up His eyes on 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 shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers 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 shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets."
Jesus has a way of turning things around. He's got the people in the palm of His hands. His words are golden; His healing touch is becoming legendary; He can do no wrong in their eyes. They're probably thinking, "Now our horizons are brightening! Enough of this second-class, no-account life we've been living under the heel of Rome! Here's someone who can turn it all round for us!"
And turn it around Jesus does, but not the way the crowd expected—or wanted! He blesses them in their current condition—not some fantasy vision they imagine with Him at the helm. If they're poor, hungry, mourning, reviled, they are blessed. For one day, not right now, but in the future—one day they will laugh and be satisfied and rejoice, for to such is the kingdom of God.
How perfectly this is in keeping with how God works. The Ancient of Days (see Daniel 7:9, 13, 22) is not slow to keep His Word or lagging in His promises (see Psalm 138:8; Isaiah 46:9-10). At the right time, God intervened in our daily affairs, sending His Son into the world, on our behalf. "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
"Weak." And it's full circle back to Jesus—the Champion of the poor, hungry, mourning, and reviled. While all are welcome in God's kingdom, the rich and well-to-do will have a decidedly harder time turning the reins over to Jesus. Still, God's promises in Jesus are for everyone, rich or poor. He has told us so. "For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory" (2 Corinthians 1:20).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see how our needs are met in Jesus—and nothing else. In His Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Has there been a time (perhaps now) when you've felt blessed in tough circumstances?
2. Why do you think Jesus calls the poor, the downtrodden, the hungry "blessed"?
3. How do you resist relying on your own strength when you should lean on God?
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