Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.
When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.Luke 6:20-23
Note the differences below.
I said yesterday:
- The first obvious thing to note is that Luke has only four Beatitudes while Matthew has eight. he has carefully selected four out of the eight. Why?
- Luke changes the focus of Matthew’s “poor in spirit” to be just “poor” and “hunger and thirst for righteousness” becomes just “hunger”.
- Note also the addition of Luke’s temporal “now” which I have underlined above.
Did you pick up the other essential difference between the two sets of Beatitudes? Matthew’s account starts with Blessed are the . . . ; Luke’s however starts more personally with Blessed are you who . . . Notice Luke started the Beatitudes off with “Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said”. Literally – “turned his eyes on his disciples”. Remember there was a large group of those who were learners and followers at this point. But He has just specifically selected His inner band to direct these comments to these followers. Luke has left out the spiritual elements of Matthew and has addressed poverty, hunger and persecution and hatred. Why? These comments are very relevant to the disciples, especially the twelve. They have left everything, they could feel poor now and somewhat hungry. Now they are reduced to grabbing handfuls of grain as they pass through the fields of another, the poor were allowed to do that. They can’t sell a catch of fish any more; they left that life behind. You disciples are indeed blessed even though it may not feel like that. The Kingdom of God is yours. You may feel hungry now but you will be satisfied. Indeed men may hate you. Remember there has been growing opposition from the Pharisees. At first that opposition was directed at the disciples but later it became focused on the Master Himself. Oh yes very real persecution is going to be their’s because of the Son of Man but their reward will be great.
Did you notice also that Matthew is looking from an essentially spiritual point of view. All eight Beatitudes of Matthew’s are spiritualized. Whereas Luke has taken the spiritual aspect out of his and made them applicable to every day life. This fits one of Luke’s themes. Throughout his gospel he has a theme of the poor and the downtrodden. It is like he has taken Matthew’s high spiritual thought and brought it down to intensely practical things – poverty, weeping, hunger, persecution and hatred. This thought process has a two applications – the disciples and the crowd. Oh yes Jesus is initially addressing His comments to the Disciples. The text tells us that Jesus looked specifically at the disciples. In Luke these words were directed at the disciples. Does that mean that the Sermon on the Plateau was for the disciples and the Sermon on the Mount was for the crowd? No! It is one sermon but has two applications. Jesus maybe talking directly at the disciples to begin with but His focus switches and it soon becomes a sermon for the crowd. There is subtlety in what jesus is doing here. Jesus has done this before. Have a look at John 3, those thoughts start out directed at Nicodemus and soon become plural. (I talked about this in Bible Gem 29).
Jesus is doing exactly the same thing here in Luke 6. He starts with the Disciples in focus but soon is speaking to the whole crowd. A number of Gems readers have already asked me, “please comment on each Beatitude.” Ok, here is the deal; a compromise. I will comment on each Beatitude, but only the ones that are in Luke because after all we are focusing on Luke and not Matthew. I will compare and contrast each of these four Beatitudes in Luke with the parallel statement in Matthew. But I won’t cover the other four that Matthew deals with but Luke leaves out. “But Ian what about the other four? I want to know about those too.” That’s fine if you want to know about them then you dig into them. I will show you the way when we look at Luke’s four and then you can apply the same practices to Matthew’s extra four. How’s that for a deal? It’s a two for one deal but with a twist. You have to do the work. But I am doing you a favour although it might not feel like that at the moment. He who does the work gets twice blessed. Go for it; it’s an offer you can’t refuse.
At the moment my Deeper Bible students are doing a major investigation of a Bible verse in groups on their own. Oh I give them pointers from time to time, Clues as to where to dig but they need to find it for themselves. if I tell them it will be quickly lost. If they find it for themselves, the excitement will stay with them forever, let alone the sense of achievement of knowing “I can do it”. That sense of excitement and achievement alone is enough to turn you into a Bible junkie: one who is hooked on the Word of God because it is so deep. Now surely you wouldn’t want to miss that opportunity. The coach just directs play; he doesn’t go out and play the game. The players need to play the game themselves or else they are just couch potatoes, armchair critics! Are you getting my point? Good, now go and play. Our focus for the next Gem will be just Luke 6:20.
He who does the work gets twice blessed.Ian Vail
He who chops wood gets warm twice.Confucius
You’ll ultimately loose what you don’t understand.Jeffrey Rachmat
A wise man simplifies complicated things while the fool makes simple things complicated.Jeffrey Rachmat
Poverty is a way of thinking, long before it becomes financial problem.Jeffrey Rachmat