Pity The Self-Made

Jesus was being followed by a large crowd of disciples.  These were not just the 12.  This was a throng of people who wanted to be near Him.  Jesus’ popularity was soaring!  Why?  Look at verses 18-19 and you’ll find the answer.  Jesus was:
  • Teaching
  • Healing diseases
  • Casting out spirits
  • Healing even those who just touched Him by reaching out in faith
He then goes on to pronounce blessings and woes on His disciples.  Those who suffer in this life for the sake of God’s Kingdom will be rewarded for eternity.  Those who are rejected and persecuted for Jesus’ sake will be rewarded on the day when Christ returns.  He cites the prophets of the Old Testament as an example of those who were persecuted and rejected on account of the Kingdom.  Jesus then says that those who appear to be blessed with material things are the ones who need to get right with God.  They had received their reward in full and there would be no reward in Heaven waiting for them.
This was a teaching that was upside down in the minds of Jesus’ followers.  The wealthy were the righteous ones!  After all, why would God bless them if they were’t worthy of blessing?!?  Something didn’t add up!  But what if someone got rich by stepping on the backs of others?  What if someone was wealthy by exploiting the poor?  What if someone had plenty and their servants had little?  This is not the way, Jesus says, to receive Heavenly rewards.  Those who sacrifice the things of this world for the things of Heaven are the ones who are truly blessed.  Those who cannot give up the things of this world will not inherit the Kingdom.  Those whose trust is in the Lord to provide every moment of every day are the ones who are blessed.  Those who are self-made and self-reliant have no need for faith and therefore are to be pitied.

Luke 6:17-26 (NIV)

Blessings and Woes

17 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, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

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.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 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.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.


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