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Blessings and Woes

  • by LA UBF
  • Nov 16, 2014
  • 867 reads

Question

Blessings and Woes

Luke 6:17-26

Key verse 6:22

“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.”

  1. Read verses 17-19. Who are there with Jesus? (17) What purpose do the people come to Jesus with? (18) Why do people try to touch Jesus? (19) How do you think can we experience his healing power?

  1. Read verses 20-21. Who does Jesus say are blessed? Who do you think he refers to as “the poor” and why are they blessed? (20) Who do you think Jesus refers to as “the hungry” and what does he say will happen to them? (21a). What does Jesus say will happen to those who weep? (21b)

  1. Read verses 22-23. What does Jesus say about being excluded and rejected for believing in His name? (22) Why can we rejoice when people mistreat us because of Jesus? (23) What do you think about the rewards that Jesus describes to his disciples?

  1. Read verses 24-26. Who do you think Jesus refers to as “those who are rich,” the “well fed,” and “those who laugh”? (24-25) What does he say will happen to these people? What does he say about those who everyone speaks well of? (26) What do you think we can learn here from what Jesus says?

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Message

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                                                    Blessings and Woes


Luke 6:17-26

Key Verse 6:22

“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.”


Today’s passage is very controversial as someone said ‘today’s passage is very challenging and difficult to interpret.’ First of all, we all know blessing includes financial blessing. American dream is basically ‘you work hard honestly and make a lot of money and be prosperous.’ But Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor”. Jesus even did not say “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” He said, “Blessed are the poor” which means ‘financially poor’. And then Jesus said also, “Blessed are you who hunger now.” Who interprets ‘hunger’ or ‘starvation’ as God’s blessing? Do you feel that you are blessed when you are hungry and starve? I don’t feel that way. But Jesus said, “Blessed are you who hunger now.” Also weeping. “Weeping and being sorrowful” as blessing? I don’t feel like I am blessed by God. But Jesus said, “Blessed are you who weep now”. In addition to that, “when people hate you you are blessed.” That is very controversial teaching. And then the ‘woe’ part. “Woe to you who are rich”.  “Woe to you who are well fed now.” I like delicious food. I want to enjoy healthy and delicious food and to be well fed. But Jesus said, “Woe to you who are well fed.” “And woe to you who laugh now”. We want to be very happy and joyful and laugh. But Jesus said, “Woe to you who laugh now.” We all want to hear from somebody, ‘You did a good job”, or ‘you are a nice person and kind person.” But “woe to you when everyone speaks well of you.” So today’s passage is very controversial teaching. So we want to know what validates Jesus’ teaching. What makes Jesus’ teaching valid through today’s passage.


Part I. He stood on a level place (v.17-19)

Part II. Looking at his disciples he said (v.20-26)


Part I. He stood on a level place (v.17-19)

May we read verses 17-19 responsively. I will go first.

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.”


This is the background of today’s passage. Basically in the last Sunday message Jesus chose twelve people out of his disciples and designated them apostles. Now he came down with them and stood on a level place. So some scholars say ‘today’s passage in Luke’s gospel as ‘Sermon on plain” whereas Jesus’ passage in Matthew gospel as ‘Sermon on the mount”. So ‘sermon on the mount” and ‘sermon on plain.” There was a large crowd of Jesus’ disciples. So there were a large crowd of Jesus’ disciples among whom 12 apostles were there. And also there was a great number of other people all from Judea and Jerusalem, all refers to the Jews. And people from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon who were the Gentiles. So Jesus’ audience is composed of the Jews and the Gentiles, and his disciples and other general crowd. And they had already come according to verse 18 “who had come to hear him and be healed of their diseases.”  They had already come and Jesus’ healing ministry had already started. He drove out impure spirits and people were healed. And all tried to touch him because power was coming from him and healing them all. 


Jesus was like a rising sun with his healing power that everyone wanted to come and touch him and be healed. In this background today’s passage was given. In another words today’s passage could be given to heal our inner souls and minds.


Part II. Looking at his disciples he said (v.20-26)

Let’s read verses 20-23 responsively. 


“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.”


So there are two present blessings and there are two future blessings. Two present blessings are in verse 20, and 22-23. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” This is present tense. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” You have the kingdom of God now. And verses 22-23. “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.” Present tense. “Great is your reward in heaven.” 


There are two future blessings appeared in verse 21. “21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Two future blessings. 


Let’s read ‘woes’ in verses 24-26 responsively. 

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.”


So the same thing. Two present ‘woes’ and two ‘future’ woes. Verse 24 “24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” Present perfect tense. Another present woe is verse 26. “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

There are two future ‘woes’ in verse 25. “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.”

In the old testament period Moses used ‘blessings’ and ‘curses’ based on ‘obedience’ to make covenant with the people of Israel. But Jesus used ‘blessings’ and ‘woes’ not for covenant purposes. 


But it is controversial teaching. Now we want to think about what validates Jesus’ teaching here. There are three things that can make Jesus teaching valid. “Three things” I think. Can anyone try? What can make Jesus’ controversial teaching valid? “Troy”. He said ‘prophets’. Yes, the example of ‘prophets’ is one. Thank you. Example of prophets. Prophets’ life demonstrates Jesus’ teaching in today’s passage is valid although it looks very controversial. Two more, I think. Someone said, “Jesus showed perfect example.’ Missionary Billy said, “Jesus showed a perfect example.” So Jesus’ example, the life of Jesus itself, validates seemingly controversial teaching valid. Thank you. You got one. What can be the other one who can validate Jesus’ teaching. Okay. Missionary Augustine. He said, “because of the Son of Man.” That’s right. “Because of the Son of Man”. That validates today’s teaching. All three people got the perfect sore from the beginning today. These three things, the example of prophets, the example of Jesus’ life itself, and the phrase ‘because of the Son of Man’ validates Jesus’ controversial teaching. 


Let’s think about easy one first, “because of the Son of Man.” When you are poor” you don’t feel you are blessed. For example, when you become poor because of your laziness you don’t feel you are blessed. If you don’t work hard and you do not go the job on time and you don’t go to school on time,  and you don’t bring your homework on time or you don’t meet your deadline of your job in your work place, probably you may lose job or get poor grade. Do you feel you are blessed? No. But when you become poor ‘because of the Son of Man’ that is the totally different story. 


I know one man who makes 3 million dollars for his yearly offering to his church. Three million dollars is his yearly offering, and I really envied him. So I prayed secretly “I may offer 7 million dollars as my yearly offering.” After my secret prayer for a while, I ended up praying ‘there may be some other people, (knowing that I do not have much possibility to make 7 million dollars offering) who can make 7 million dollars offering.’ Obviously the man who makes 3 million dollars offering became poor relatively because he did not use his 3 million dollar offering for himself. But he is blessed. It is because he became poor because of the Son of Man instead of himself. 


The same goes with being hungry. If we are hungry because of ourselves or our laziness we don’t feel we are blessed. But if we are hungry because of the Son of Man we are blessed. The same is true with weeping. If we weep because of our sorrows or because of our mistakes we don’t feel we are blessed. But when we weep ‘because of the Son of Man’ that is totally different story. 


What about ‘being spoken ill of by others’ or ‘being spoken well of by others’? If somebody gives you a bad name because you are doing wrong things or making mistakes you don’t feel you are blessed. But if you are persecuted or mistreated or hated by others because of the Son of Man you are blessed. Jesus even said, “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy because great is your reward in heaven.” So ‘because of the Son of Man’ is the first reason that makes Jesus’ teaching in today’s message.


Apostle Paul showed a good example. Let’s read verses 2 Corinthians 11:24-29 responsively.
“24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep;
I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” 

So apostle Paul became poor financially and he became hungry physically and he wept physically and he was persecuted physically. But he was blessed. It is because he went through all these troubles because of the Son of Man instead of himself.


Second, Jesus’ teaching in today’s passage is valid because of the practical example of prophets in the Old Testament period. One vivid example is prophet Jeremiah. If you read prophet “Jeremiah” there appeared Jeremiah as the true prophet and there were many false prophets. So general crowd was very confused. There are true bible teachers and there are false bible teachers. There are true shepherds and there are false shepherds. So it is very confusing. At the time of prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah’s message was ‘surrender to Babylonians”. “Surrender to Babylonians who were their enemies. But the Israel people really wanted to hear the news that God would deliver Jerusalem and their own country and protected their country. That is what they really wanted to hear. But prophet Jeremiah said, “surrender to Babylonians. That is the will of God.” And they treated him as a national traitor. So he became poor and was persecuted and he became hungry. There was a false prophet in the presence of Jeremiah. He proclaimed in the presence of all people. “In two years the Lord will deliver this country from Babylonian army and he will bring all the articles from the Babylonian that were carried to Babylon.” People were really delighted to hear it. But prophet Jeremiah could not say anything because he did not hear anything from the Lord. So he just said, “Amen” and left the place. After he went for a little while God spoke to him. So he came back and said to the false prophet, “The Lord did not tell you. The Lord did not speak to you.” And he pronounced he would die and the false prophet died in the same year. 


So the practical life of prophets in the old testament period validates Jesus’ teaching. False prophets received financial gain and they were well fed and they were praised by people and they laughed a lot. Another true prophet was a prophet at the time of King Ahab, idol worshiper of Baal. The prophet’s name was ‘Micaiah’ if I remember correctly. So he pronounced the death of king Ahab. King Ahab got so mad that he locked the prophet to a house and provided only bread and water until he came back. But he came back dead. So prophets who proclaimed the true word of God went through financial poverty, physical hunger, persecution and hated by others a lot and they wept a lot. But false prophets who delivered the message which people liked were all finally rewarded handsomely. They were well fed and they laughed a lot and people praised them a lot. So their life example validates Jesus’ teaching here.


Lastly, Jesus’ life itself validates Jesus’ teaching here. Whatever happens to Jesus happens to Jesus’ true disciples as long as they follow Jesus. Jesus said to his disciples, “When the world persecute you, remember that they persecuted me first.” Jesus’ disciples are Jesus’ body after he left the earth. And Jesus’ Holy Spirit remain in them and they become Jesus’ body, and they carry out Jesus’ will on earth. So whatever happened to Jesus happens to his disciples if they are faithful to Jesus. Jesus delivered today’s passage for his disciples. ‘Looking at his disciples, he said, “blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God.” He did it in order to encourage them not to despair and not to give up in their future life as faithful disciples. Jesus wanted them to know that they will be poor financially, they will be persecuted and they will go through physical hunger and they will weep a lot. And they should not despair but they should know that they are blessed and know their reward in heaven is great and keep on their life of faith. That is why he delivered today’s passage.


Jesus’ life itself shows that Jesus himself became poor financially. Let’s read 2 Corinthians 8:8-9 “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”


Jesus became finally poor to make us rich. He did not have money to pay taxes. So he helped Simon to catch fish and pay taxes. He became finally poor to make us finally rich. So Jesus’ life example shows he became finally poor.


Let’s read Matthew 21:17-18 “17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. 18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.” It was around the time Jesus was arrested and crucified. And Jesus entered Jerusalem with great welcoming of the people and with great popularity. But Jesus did not have breakfast. He was so hungry in the morning. So he was looking for figs from a fig tree. He was hungry. He went through hunger.


Let’s read John 11:34-36 “34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” Jesus wept when he saw how much people were suffering from the power of death. It happened at the tomb site of Lazarus. 


Let’s read Luke 19:40-42 “40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Jesus wept. He physically wept. His heart was broken because people did not know impending judgment of God.


So Jesus said, “Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh.” What about persecution?
Let’s read Matthew 27:38-40 “38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

He was insulted. He was hated. He was excluded. He was persecuted and his name was rejected as evil. And Jesus was blessed.


So the three examples, the actual life of prophets, ‘because of the Son of Man’ and “Jesus’ life example all shows Jesus’ controversial teaching in today’s passage is very true.


One day late Dr. Lee told me ‘Korean churches in 1960s believe that they could not send out missionaries without financial support. Actually Korean churches sent out their missionaries with full financial support. But Dr. Lee said he did not believe it. That was why God could use him to send out many missionaries. 


And he added, “If anyone wants to be truly used by God and if God wants to do a great work through that person that person should be ready to be finally poor. He didn’t say ‘He must be poor’. He didn’t say, “He will be poor.” But that person should be ‘ready to be poor’. And Jesus said, “Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God.” 


 I was also a little bit sorrowful and depressed a few days when I remember one of my old bible students does not welcome me or hate me or whatever and it was not a good feeling. But according to today’s passage I should rejoice.


When I think about my life, I went through a lot of troubles and hardships as well. When we think about our lives it is the same. If we do not live for the Son of Man, and even if we do not go through troubles or hardships because of the Son of Man we go through hardships and troubles of life anyhow. But the end of the day what do you gain? You just go through a lot of hardship and troubles because of ourselves instead of the Son of Man. And you don’t have much meaning in your own life. But thank God who called each of us that we may live a life for the Son of Man. We go through hardship and troubles because of the Son of Man not because of ourselves and our life have full of meaning.


There are many additional side blessings too. Whenever I think about my life as a bible teacher I am always thankful for 2 additional side blessings. Guess what are those? Additional side blessings that come from living as a missionary or a bible teacher. One ‘not drinking’. Here in America you need to drive all the time. So ‘not drinking’ is a great blessing. I don’t need to worry about at all that I would be caught by ‘driving under influence’. This is one of great side blessings. Another side blessings is ‘no affairs with other women.’ Great side blessing. My father suffered a lot from it and I know some people suffer from it. And I am so much blessed because I did not have any affairs with other women in my marriage life. Thank God. These are additional blessings and there are main blessings which are described in today’s passage.


So we are so blessed because God called us, chose us and elected us to live and go through troubles and hardships of hunger, being hated, to be poor financially, hopefully not all the time, and being hated a little bit because of the Son of Man.


One word: Because of the Son of Man.

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