Hunkered Down Devotion

Luke 6:20-26 Voice
20 He looked across the faces of His disciples.
Jesus: All you who are poor, you are blessed for the kingdom of God belongs to you.
21All you who are hungry now, you are blessed for your hunger will be satisfied.
    All you who weep now, you are blessed for you shall laugh!
22  When people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and write you off as evil on account of the Son of Man, you are blessed.
23  When these things happen, rejoice! Jump for joy!  Then you have a great reward in heaven For at that moment, you are experiencing what the ancient prophets did when they were similarly treated by the ancestors of your detractors.
24 All you who are rich now, you are in danger for you have received your comfort in full.
25 All you who are full now, you are in danger for you shall be hungry.
    All you who laugh now, you are in danger for you shall grieve and cry.
26  And when everyone speaks well of you, you are in danger for their ancestors spoke well of the false prophets too.


Let’s be honest: sometimes Jesus doesn’t seem to make sense.  There are times when what he says simply doesn’t mesh with our common sense and our understanding of things.  This section of Luke chapter six, commonly known as The Beatitudes is one of those places.

According to Jesus in this passage the list of ‘the blessed’ include: the poor; the hungry; people that are hated, excluded, insulted, and called evil.  Conversely, those on the ‘danger’ list, people that could be in trouble include: the rich; those that are satisfied – full bellies and bank accounts; those that laugh; those that have good reputations.  

Really, if I took these two lists out of this context and asked you to pick which one you would rather find yourself on, would anyone pick the first list?  I think it’s doubtful.  So why, then, does Jesus sort these lists the way he does and assign blessing and waring accordingly?

There is an incredible amount of spiritual and theological depth in this passage and it would take weeks of devotions to fully cover it, so this answer is by no means a complete one, but a key part of the answer to this question comes by looking at where the ‘good things’ in each situation come from.

What I mean is this: for those that Jesus calls blessed, their blessings come from God – they are poor and God will grant them the kingdom of God; they are hungry and God will satiate them; when they are mistreated, they will find kinship and company with Jesus.  

For those whom Jesus warns of danger, they seem to have their blessings on their own (seem being the key word).  All of those on the danger list will find the temptation to trust in themselves and the things that they have or have ‘earned’.  

So one of the clearest ways to understand this passage is that the blessing shared by all of those on the first list is that they are aware of their reliance on God and are ready to receive the blessing and help of Jesus Christ.  Those on that second list may fall into the trap of trusting themselves, their gifts, their possessions, which will always, eventually fail.  

No matter the situation, it is always a blessing to recognize that Jesus is with you and that your situation doesn’t rely on yourself, but on the providence of our good and wonderful savior.
 
Sharing God’s Love,
Chip  

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for blessing us.  Help us to recognize and appreciate as a blessing our reliance on you.  Amen.

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