Luke 6:17-49

Matthew gives a more detailed account of the beatitudes that focuses on the spiritual: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them” (Matthew 5:3). It could be that Luke records what Jesus said at another time that was slightly different. Or, if both are from the same time (the plain being a plateau on the mountain), it would mean that Luke, while under the inspiration of the Spirit, abbreviated the account. Why? Perhaps to put a slightly different slant on Jesus’ words. Matthew is emphasizing the spiritual aspects of this life. We have to be humble (poor in Spirit) to enter the kingdom of heaven. If we hunger and thirst (for righteousness) then we will be filled. Luke is reminding us of the hope that we have in Christ. Paul reminds us that there are many more underprivileged than privileged in the kingdom:

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 “Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters. Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position. But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence.”

So, if we are poor now, if we are hungry now, if we weep now, if we are hated now, we can rejoice in the future. One day we will be satisfied, we will laugh, and we will receive a reward because we have a place waiting for us in kingdom of heaven! Luke also uses Jesus’ words to challenge the prevailing notions of his day. Just because you’re rich and well fed, doesn’t mean that God’s favor is resting upon you. In fact, you can be very far from God.

Jesus’ counter-cultural call continues. Love your enemies. Be merciful, because God is merciful. Don’t judge others, without judging yourself first. And then comes the warning. If we aren’t willing to change, if we aren’t willing to live differently, if we aren’t willing to heed Jesus’ words, then we will not only show the evil condition of our hearts, but our whole world will end up collapsing and falling in around us.

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