Blessing, what does that word mean? We sometimes say a blessing before a meal. We are challenged to say blessings over our children. We ask God for His blessing. One of the definitions from the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it like this: “…help and approval from God…”
In this portion of Luke, we see some ways that we can receive that blessing.
“Looking at his disciples, he said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 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. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 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. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.’” Luke 6:20-26
This word poor indicates extreme poverty, to the point of having to beg. It is helplessness and destitution. There are some in the United States who would understand this from a monetary basis. But most of us have food to eat, access to work, so therefore we have means to subsist even if we don’t have luxuries.
But is this only referring to money?
Most likely Jesus is making a spiritual application because our economic status is not the way we get to the Kingdom of God. Our spiritual condition is. We must realize that we are completely destitute, having no means whatsoever to exist using our own strength. Our only hope is to come to God. We are like beggars who deserve nothing, but come pleading. When we come with that heart, we receive. The Kingdom of God is ours.
Jesus said we could be blessed and satisfied if we are hungry. There are starving people in this world but most of us cannot identify with true physical hunger. Again, this is spiritual and sadly there are many who are starving spiritually. Amos 8:11 tells us that there would be coming a day when there would be a famine, but it was not bread or water, but rather a famine of hearing God’s Word. The food, God’s Word, is available now. We can feast every single day and receive the great blessing of knowing Christ better because He is the Word as it says in John 1:1.
Jesus went on to say that we could be blessed even if we are weeping. So much sadness and the root of it is sin. We live in a sinful world. It grieves the heart of God, so it should grieve us. But Jesus said that we will laugh one day. There will be great joy someday when sin, sickness, evil, hardship, disease, poverty are all done. When we come to the Kingdom of God, the laughter of unstoppable, unabashed joy will erupt.
But for today, there is hardship. People will revile, exclude, and even hate us because we are Christians. So how do we handle that? Rejoice! Jesus said there will be a reward someday for that and when God rewards, it is big.
Yes, there are blessings but there are also woes given here in Luke 6 for us. If our riches satisfy us, if we are full enough of the world that there is no room for Christ, if we find our joy in what the world offers, or if our popularity is more important to us than knowing the One who died for us, then woe. We may be filled up here with all that we can get, but doom, destruction, and hell await.
We have to choose. Do we fill up with the world for the years that we might live here? Or do we find our contentment in Christ, realizing that yes, we might experience hunger, grief, poverty, hatred for our years here because we know Him, but there is waiting an eternity of unequaled joy with Him.
Eternity is an extremely long time.